My Unkind Roommate

I still remember the first time I heard the song that healed my most important relationship. I was in my early 20s, and I had a pretty bad opinion of myself at the time. 

I had struggled with depression for years when I was younger and had been suicidal for much of that time. My depression had relented significantly, but my relationship with myself was still not great. 

I was driving in my car one day, and Pink’s “F*cking Perfect” came on. There was one line that grabbed my attention, and I couldn’t get it out of my head for weeks. Actually, it occasionally still runs through my head now, often when I’m in session with a client who is particularly unkind to themselves. 

The line was “change the voices in your head, make them like you instead”. 

Just change them. It sounded so simple to me, and yet I had no idea how to do it. I began to pay attention to the voices in my head and I realized there was one particularly mean one. It was quick to criticize everything I did. Quick to tell me I was stupid or ugly or clumsy or not good enough. 

I began to think of this critical voice as my inner roommate. I realized that if it was an actual roommate, I would have kicked her out of my apartment after a couple of days. And yet, here I was, still living with her after decades of internal verbal abuse. 

Change the voices. Make them like you. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. 

Then one day I decided I wouldn’t allow my roommate to speak to me that way any longer. If I wouldn’t allow it from anyone else, why would I allow it from myself?

When my critical roommate would speak up about something, I began to respond with “No thank you” internally. I don’t think like that anymore.” 

It wasn’t true – my statement that I didn’t think like that anymore. I thought like that all the time! I realized my roommate would pipe up with something negative to say about me hundreds of times a day. But each time, I would simply respond with “I don’t think like that anymore” and dismiss the thought. 

Soon the thoughts were happening less and less. My roommate stopped being critical so often because I was not engaging in those conversations. Something had changed. 

Change the voices. I was doing it. Slowly I was finding a new way. My voices still didn’t seem to like me particularly, but I was changing them, and it felt good. 

Over time I was able to heal my relationship with my roommate. Over time she did begin to like me and even say kind things to me. Now she’s part of a helpful little team.

But it all started with a simple idea. To change my inner dialogue. To no longer allow the negative self-talk that had gone on for decades to play on a loop uninterrupted. 

What are the voices in your head like? Do they like you? Perhaps it’s time to change them. It’s been more than 25 years since I heard that song for the first time, but I’m grateful for the chain reaction it started in me. 

Pink might still have to work to convince me I’m perfect, but I’m certainly much happier than I was back then, and my inner roommate does seem to like me. 


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