THE BLOG
09/01/2014 03:14 pm ET | Updated Nov 01, 2014

5 Options to the Nagging Voice in Your Head at 2 a.m.

BERKO85 via Getty Images

What happens when the nagging voice that resides somewhere between your head, heart and gut just won't let you sleep? You lie there seeking answers. You wake, seeking answers. "Why is this happening," and "What do I do?" you wonder. You have options: 1. ignore it, 2. pray it goes away, 3. play the victim and seek the sympathy of those around you, 4. confront the issue head on, 5. let go.

Ignoring it means more paranoia, more distrust, more agony and confusion. Certainly more sleepless nights, which only creates decreased memory, weight gain, baggage under the eyes and a cranky disposition... or worse, falling asleep in the most inconvenient of moments. Good times!

Ever hear of the man on his roof as the flood waters rise up? He prays to God to save him. A row boat comes and the man turns it away, saying, "God will save me." The waters continue to rise. Then a helicopter comes. He turns it away, saying, "God will save me." Soon, the flood washes him and the house away. At the pearly gates, the man demands to know why God did not save him. God replies, "I sent a boat and a helicopter!" Yeah, God is waiting on us to get off our butt and stop using God as an excuse.

Speaking of victims, playing one gets you some sympathy, but it doesn't get you far in life. Act like one and people treat you like one. Soon, you are completely disempowered, dependent, and totally screwed if you ever do have to stand on your own two feet. (Insert Scarlet O'Hara accent) How will I ever survive? Oh, and one more thing about this. If you have played this role long enough, you have probably surrounded yourself with much of the same energy in the people around you. Ah, misery does so love company.

There is always the option of confronting the issue head on. Wise choice. Word of advice here, perhaps you should know what you are really confronting first. I mean, for most of us, we have a problem, but rather than address the root issue, we focus on a symptom of the problem. Weight gain could be a result of the love of food, but more likely it is using food to feed an emotional hunger rather than a physical hunger. There is always a root to every problem. Before confrontation, take just a moment to examine your role in the issue. Most of us don't like to do that ever, or at the very least until we have a safe distance from the issue and a great deal of hindsight. Once you do, though, you can move into the most freeing choice, letting go.

While letting go may seem similar to ignoring it, they are light years apart. Letting go allows you to honor yourself by addressing what is not working, causing us pain, or dis-ease and making a change. You quit tiptoeing around the issue and stand our ground. You cannot control others. The boss may continue to treat you poorly, your child may continue to throw tantrums, your spouse may continue to ignore you, but you no longer tolerate the behavior. You call them out, tell them what is and is not acceptable and if they want to continue that behavior, they need to do it elsewhere. Then you let go. Whatever they do, they do. Your focus is now on being authentic and true to yourself. You no longer wrap up in the emotions that allows the nagging voice to wake you at 2:01 a.m.

I have heard the nagging voice before, and I have experienced every option listed. I can tell you the biggest difference in shifting from ignoring to letting go is simply choosing. Only you are responsible for your happiness, no one else. Once I figured that out for myself, it was absolutely liberating and empowering. You have the power. How will you choose?