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The following were two separate posts on Instagram about the inner voice.

One of the things that have made this pandemic so hard for people, in general, is the fact that people have more time to be alone with themselves. And when people are alone with themselves, they’re alone with their inner voices.
There are many titles, such as internal monologue, self-talk, inner speech, inner discourse, or internal discourse. They all point at the same thing. Conceptually, it’s something taught not genetic, biological, or born with, which is pretty interesting to become aware of on a psychological level. But also it has a spiritual piece to it. Changing the same internal monologue with God is also an important aspect. Abouna Abraham would say that we should pray in our minds for the people we see while walking in the hallway at school or work wherever. One of Abbey’s fathers reiterated it, saying we can change every thought into a prayer. The inner voice is what they were precisely pointing towards. The awareness of that voice is crucial because it influences our feelings and then actions. The basis of cognitive-behavioral theory and therapy is the inner voice.
In therapy, we’ll tell people if they’re inner voice is highly critical to personify it, like call the voice Bob or something to create some detachment. In doing so, you increase the awareness of that voice and what it’s telling you. When you’re guilting or shaming yourself, inner voice. When you’re happy and elated, inner voice, you may have heard the phrase “being in your head.” That would mainly be when that inner voice is so overwhelming you lose your grip on being present in the moment. Which happens to all of us, well I’m not sure in situations where there’s intellectual impairment.
Being present is not necessarily exclusive, but you can be more present when you become aware of your inner voice. “Being in your head” (at least how I’m thinking of that phrase) is called rumination in clinical mumbo jumbo, which is repeating a particular idea in a loop essentially. It’s not like a single thought; you wouldn’t loop the thought “I’m hungry” repeatedly, think of it like a black hole. A situation or something happens, and your mind starts going off. For example, let’s say we’re at an event, and I walk right by and pass you without saying hi. Ruminating would look like, “Oh, why didn’t Tony say hi to me? I haven’t seen him in so long. Did I do something wrong to offend him right now? Maybe I did something a long time ago, and he’s still upset. Oh, that little vindictive jerk! He should at least have the decency to say hi to me! Why didn’t he talk to me? I bet he told all of Nashville about whatever I did! Screw you too, Tony!”

The erratic thing about the inner voice is that it can ruminate without needing another person in a situation or even a situation itself. Be mindful of that voice and detach from it when it becomes overwhelming. The inner voice is so important because it dictates our relationship with ourselves, others, and God. I listened to an excellent podcast from the APA about inner monologue. The interviewer asks a question about bilingual people and if a bilingual person would have an inner voice in two languages. Dr. Kross said the following, “There is work showing that among bilinguals, the language that you use to reason about experiences can have, in some cases, quite exciting implications for how you think. If you think about an emotional event in your second language, the impact it has on you is blunted. It doesn’t have the same emotional punch as if you think about it in your native language.
Your native language is the language where you learn swear words and your first learning, where your experience of emotion is encoded using your native language. The idea is that when you switch to the non-native language, those emotional tags and experiences are stripped away as well.”
That got me thinking of the issue with the language we pray in as Copts. What he says has a significant impact on our liturgical participation. If liturgy is the people’s work, then I need to be participating as much as I can with my mind, body, soul, and spirit. I’ve always debated with people how just looking at the English in Coptic Reader is not enough. First, your mind is doing two things at once; multitasking is NOT real! You’re reading a language that you don’t understand (Coptic) and then trying to read the meaning in English at the same time. Chances are, the level of mental comprehension will not be that great. Don’t get me wrong; I love hymns in Coptic. Musically, the hymns were created with the Coptic language in mind, so applying it to another language isn’t always pretty. But the liturgical life is the vessel of our theology. In Latin, there’s a phrase that says, “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. Lex Vivendi,”. which means, as we worship, so we believe, and so we live. The main point is this: when you pray in a language that is different than your inner voice, it will make it harder to experience the prayer mentally and emotionally.