by Nancy Casey
We all have imaginary friends. Think about it. And when you do, you’ll hear some kind of conversation in your head. The conversation might even go something like this:
“Imaginary friends are for children, not adults.”
“That’s right. I outgrew that a long time ago.”
Even in that conversation, someone is talking and someone listens. If the conversation takes place in your mind, it’s between you and an imaginary friend.
Sometimes, we refer to these friends as voices. We might be telling someone a story about ourselves and say, “And then this voice in my head said…”
There are many theories about these voices that talk to us inside our minds, but no theory fully explains where they come from. Sometimes they are echoes of things we have heard or been told. Sometimes they are not. Each voice, however, has an attitude. Not all attitudes are good for you.
Even though everyone is different, there is one voice that everybody has. That is the voice of the imaginary friend who only wants the best for you. Today in your writing, spend some time with this special friend who lives in your mind.
This is a friend who has been with you from the start and knows you completely.
This is a friend whose only motivation is to help you and who never wants anything else.
This is a friend with a quiet, gentle voice who often gets drowned out by other voices, by other imaginary friends with different motivations, the ones who might not have your best interests at heart.
This friend cheers your every success, and at the same time isn’t very surprised when you do well, because they know how capable you are.
When you are in a crisis, this friend says things like, “Did you see that! Are you okay? Let’s find some ways to take care of you.”
When you make a bad decision, this friend says, “Wow, now we know what that was like. I totally get why you did that. Let’s discuss what we learned and how we got stronger.”
This is a friend who helps you notice what pleases you, whether it’s other people, the natural world, or your efforts at housekeeping. When you smile, this friend knows what you are smiling at, and maybe even said the thing that made you smile.
When you are in a bad situation, this friend helps you analyze your discomfort and see that the “badness” comes from the situation and not yourself.
Every morning when you wake up, this friend greets a day full of opportunities for you to be your best self.
One thing to remember about this friend is that they are so kind and so polite that they won’t shout or interrupt others. That means that this friend often has their voice drowned out.
Today when you write, politely silence everybody in your mind but this special friend. If other voices chime in, don’t put their words down. Just tell them that you are listening to someone else right now. Give your special friend some time and space to be sure they can talk without being interrupted.
Record what your special friend has to say about what’s going on in your life. Maybe it will come out as a conversation. Maybe the friend will really get going and give a speech.
It’s possible your special friend is terribly shy and doesn’t have much to say. If that happens, don’t force it, but don’t walk away, and don’t let anybody else talk instead. Ask your friend a few questions and doodle on the page. Quietly reject any information that doesn’t come from that friend, saying, “I’m sorry, but somebody else is talking now.”
Your special friend is in there. It’s worth the trouble to get acquainted. This is the very best friend you will ever have.
Be sure to put the date on your writing and give it a title as well. You can find an example of what a person could write here: http://planetnancy.net/writing-prompts/words-from-a-friend/
Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. She has taught writing classes at the Recovery Center and will return again in the spring of 2018. You can find more of her work here: http://planetnancy.net. If you would like her help with a writing project, email email@example.com for more information.