Most of the time, a person’s negative self-talk isn’t even his or her voice-it’s someone else’s. Knowing that negative, critical self-talk is actually not your voice but someone else’s is the key to freedom from it.

~Greg Schriefer


I interviewed New York-based architectural and interior Designer, Greg Schriefer, for EpiphanyChannel about his greatest epiphany in life and shot it with my iPhone during a holiday weekend in Pound Ridge, NY. (This was the first time I’ve ever used my iPhone for a filmed Epiphany interview! Maybe those commercials aren’t lying…)

Greg opens up about his very personal epiphany he had during therapy that led to finally finding his way to a career that he loves. I love this story because it’s so common for all of us–the negative self-talk in our heads. What is the true source? Is your negative self-talk actually your voice…or someone else’s? Voices that might really belong to people like your parents, grandparents, friends, mean Sunday school teacher, or bitchy carpool mom perhaps?

Once you watch/read this interview, think about if you have a negative voice talking to you sometimes and whose voice it might actually be.

This epiphany is also a great example of how beneficial therapy can be and shines a very important light on the fact that, with the right therapist, therapy serves as a fantastic tool for healing, support, clarity, growth, and for sparking much-needed, life-changing epiphanies.

The written version of Greg’s epiphany is below but I would highly recommend watching it as well. One of the comments on YouTube says: “Wow! What a powerful anecdote!” And I couldn’t agree more.


Greg Schriefer’s Epiphany as told to Elise Ballard: 

“Most of the time, a person’s negative self-talk isn’t even his or her voice-it’s someone else’s. Knowing that negative, critical self-talk is actually not your voice but someone else’s is the key to freedom from it.”  ~Greg Schriefer

My first actual epiphany was in the early 90s when I was at a point in my life where I had no idea what I was going to do. I moved to LA and had taken off about nine months from working while trying to figure out what my career was going to be. I went to UCLA, and I started taking these classes – career classes, testing to see what I should maybe do with my life. At the end of it, the results pointed towards jobs that were for people that have all these degrees and have gone to school forever and I’m like, “What the f###?” (Can I say f###?) It was just … “Where do I go with this now? I’m in my mid-30s, and I can’t go back to school. I didn’t go to college. My brain isn’t mentally trained for this.”

In the meantime, while I’m going through all of this, I had also been seeing a therapist, and week after week he would grill me about my childhood and life. As he did this, I just kept saying, “I’m having such a tough time. I’m having a tough time with myself, my self-esteem.” And I kept saying over and over, “I’m ‘no good for nothing.’ I’ll never amount to anything.” What I meant was, “At this rate, not being able to go back to school, not knowing what I’m going to do as a career, I’m just “no-good-for-nothing.’” One session, as I sat there looking at the therapist and said, “That’s it. I’m no good for nothing; I’ll never amount to anything, and I don’t know what I’m going to do.” It was in that moment, that AHA moment, that I had what I didn’t realize was the first epiphany of my life. I realized that voice, the voice that was telling me that I was “no-good-for-nothing,” was not my voice. It was my father’s voice. It was what I was told over and over and over again as a child.

I looked at my therapist and said: “Wait a minute, that’s not my voice. That’s my father’s voice. It’s his voice that I’ve been playing over and over in my head all this time.”

This was my epiphany. I had realized that I had been battling my father’s voice my entire life. It was him, not me, saying, “You are no good for nothing, and you’ll never amount to anything.” My mind was just repeating it. Once I realized that, every time I heard those words in my mind and every time I was faced with something that I didn’t think I could accomplish, I said, “Stop! I am capable. I’m able (to do whatever I set my mind to).” I started to think about all the things people had said to me over the years: that I am talented, that I am smart, that I am capable of doing great things. I’d stay focused on those voices and encouragement, and I was finally able to find a career. I worked my way from the ground up– started out as a handyman and built a little business, eventually doing some design with my clients, and just expanded upon it until I’m doing what I do today which is interior and architectural design.

To have this epiphany opened my life up to more. It helped me finally let go of that negative voice I’d heard in my childhood. I didn’t have that old anchor around my neck. That voice was someone else’s opinion who loved me in his own way but who knows what he’d been told as a kid. It had nothing to do with me at all so I stopped listening and finally quit hearing it. The negative, critical voice in my head was my father’s voice not mine. That was my epiphany – and it set me free.

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