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Knocking the parrot off its perch. Saturday June 8, 2013

Do you have days when that nagging voice in your head - the one that tells you in a thousand different ways that you're no good - just goes on and on, demanding to be heard?

Well here's a way of thinking about that voice that can help you silence it, or at least reduce the amount of attention you give it.

Try and imagine you are given a bad parrot. It can speak but only like a tape recorder. It doesn't understand what it's saying, it just repeats what it says 'parrot fashion'. The parrot has no wisdom, knowledge or insight. It just says words. That's its party trick. In fact, it's been specially trained to say only poisonous and negative things, to be unhelpful to you, continuously commenting on you and your life, putting you down.

It travels with you wherever you go. When your mobile runs out of power, it says. 'You idiot. If you'd only thought about it, this wouldn't have happened. Just imagine all the problems it's going to cause.' Your parrot is with you when you break your resolution to eat more healthily. 'You really are a waste of space. No grit at all. Pathetic.'

What would you do with a parrot like this? How long before you'd strangle it, or at least put a cloth over the cage. Not very long. And yet we often put up with the taunting voice of our own internal critic without much protest. How can you silence it?

The trick is to notice that it's the parrot talking ('There's goes that bad parrot again'), recognise that you have a choice ('I don't have to listen to it.'), and then try and direct your attention elsewhere by focusing on a task or some other line of thinking.

In time, you'll find that your poisonous parrot will tire of being kept in the dark, tire of you not responding. You'll notice it less and less. Eventually, it will leave its cage and fly away.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Julia Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 8:12am

The is great thank you. I read this,then looked at yesterday's blog to see if there were any additional posts to read and saw the one giving us a link to a site about happiness.
The conclusion was simple. We should ask ourselves each day the following question.
Did you do your best to be happy today?
The article suggests we write this question on a piece of paper and place it next to our computers.
But back to the parrot. Am amusing analogy and one which could be combined with the happiness question. Are we doing our best to get rid of the constant parrot chatter today?

Anonymous Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 8:12am

This is brilliant - I LOVE the analogy!

Anonymous Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 8:16am

This is the funniest email I have ever had from moodscope, thank you! :)
I actually woke up laughing, absolutely brilliant!! whoever wrote this must write again.

DrPaprika Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 9:01am

Reminds me of Monty Python's 'Dead Parrot' sketch! But how do people react when you tell them it wasn't you, it was that parrot again. Would it be better to travel with a stuffed parrot on your shoulder?

ceawake Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 9:14am

I don't think the parrot flies away permanently, we have to keep giving it reasons to leave (ignoring it) It is a persistent bird.
I have never met anyone for whom their bird has left forever, although never say never I guess...

Richard Haggis Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 9:23am

OK, it's a nice image, but I really like parrots, and one of my fantasies of hope is that when this time of darkness is over I shall have one of my own! Don't tar all the parrots with the same colourful brush!

Anonymous Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 9:30am

I loved it. Really appreciate it. Thanks

Anonymous Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 9:58am

I also loved this analogy - it really speaks to me! And shows me that the efforts that I make to ignore my negative thoughts about myself will eventually go away - I just have to replace them with good experiences and good times!

Anonymous Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 5:24pm

I had the same response to this metaphor; the parrot(our ego?) will never really fly away.

DIANA Sat, Jun 8th 2013 @ 5:45pm

Why not obtain a parrot now, Richard - and the "darkness"
could at least be at least a little more colourful ( maybe

Mary Blackhurst Hill Hill Mon, Jun 10th 2013 @ 3:01pm

Great post! One of my friends who is a business coach imagines here evil voice as an entity, Fag Ash Lil. Fag-Ash Lil looks a mess, but is all tarted up (with a constant cigarette) and says in a bored, nasal whine, things like "I don't know why you bother?" and "You'll never amount to much; just give up now". Once my friend acted out Fag-Ah Lil to us, it was much easier to see our won demons. and I agree with Richard, parrots are too nice and colourful to have saying hasty things. I'll stick with my visualized entity a sort of Jabba the Hut slug thing. she still says the same sort of thing though. I'll start totally ignoring her, shall I?

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