How many times have you heard the advice “Just listen to yourself”? I must say, that I’ve heard that advice a lot of times and I have given that advice probably just as much.
The idea of “listening to yourself” is really brilliant if you know how to do it. But what if you do not hear the voice that tells you what is right for you and what is not? What if you don’t know what your inner self is telling you? How do you know that listening to yourself is better than listening to all the smart people around you and following their most logical path in life?
When you listen to yourself you make decisions that are right for you. No one else knows what will make you happy (even if they say they do) and bring your life in balance.
If you want to learn to listen to yourself then you have two major tasks: Know yourself and Hear yourself.
If you know who you are, what your interests are and how you feel about things in life then you can hear your inner voice. A lot of times we don’t know ourselves completely because we are always surrounded by the opinions and expectations of other people.
Maybe one of your parents had a dream that you would be a successful doctor and that dream became your path in life. Was it your dream? Do you really like being a doctor? I almost made the mistake of following the path that my family thought was right for me (yes, their dream for me was to become a doctor) but I am glad that I chose my own way instead.
Become mindful of everything you do. Make it a habit to think about everything you do throughout the day. How does it make you feel? Why are you doing it? What are the results of every action? If you practice mindfulness then you will learn to stop and think clearly about what you are doing. You will know what is going on inside of you every second of your life.
Don’t live by the book. Following a certain route in life (especially the one that was written by somebody else) does not give you any opportunity to listen to yourself. When you feel like doing something (even if it seems very irrational at the moment), go ahead and do it! Okay, everything must be done in moderation and I am not asking you to quit your job if you get mad at your boss. But:
If you feel like going for a walk in the rain –do it.
If you feel like staying up all night even though you have to go to work tomorrow – do it.
If you feel like skipping your workout and going to the movies with your best friend – do it.
Do something new and unexpected at least once a week and you will become more relaxed about life and you will know your inner self better.
Take care of yourself. Have you ever felt selfish when you devoted some time to yourself rather than spending time with your family or working on a new project at work? I know I did. I also know that if I don’t take care of myself then I lose part of myself. I can’t be a good wife, I can’t be a good mom and I can’t deal with my job too.
In order to know yourself you must spend some time regularly doing what you love. I would really suggest that this activity does not include shopping, watching TV or playing video games. You can walk, do some gardening, try a new recipe, swim, paint, write or whatever you feel like doing. If you do what you like then you know how it feels to be calm, relaxed and balanced. This is the feeling you are looking for when you try to listen to yourself.
Find your core belief. Your core belief is the belief that keeps you afloat in any life storm and that lets you walk through life confidently and steadily. If you know what your core belief is then you can turn to this belief when you need to listen to yourself.
My core belief is my faith (I am a Christian) and I know that the Holy Spirit guides me through life and has never let me down (and never will.) When I need advice then I pray and I always receive the answer and support that works for me.
You can have a different core belief and you can discover it after answering a few questions in this post .
Once you know yourself it is time to hear yourself. Your inner voice, Holy Spirit, intuition, sixth sense, subconscious mind (choose the right name for yourself) can guide you through life and help you make the right decisions. It does not mean that you will not make mistakes but those mistakes will teach you something too in life.
Declutter your mind. Today we are constantly surrounded by information that often clutters our mind. TV shows, Facebook, Twitter, opinions of people around you, news, blogs (I am taking a risk that you will unsubscribe from my blog after this, but if it brings you mental clarity – I am only for it), magazines and more… You need to have some clear room in your mind that will let you hear yourself and not voices of other people.
Limit your exposure to any media at least a few times a week.
Try to keep a positive attitude towards any news you hear.
Spend some time in quietude and solitude daily.
Go to your special place. A special place is a place where you feel calm and where you feel connected to your inner self and to your core. It might be your back porch, shower, beach, park, art gallery, coffee shop or any other place. Don’t let anybody disturb you there, just dive into your thoughts and let them flow through you. Listen to what your inner self is telling you at that moment.
Ask yourself questions. Before you can hear anything you often have to ask questions. The most powerful questions are: Why? and How?
Why am I worried about this?
How do I feel it about it?
After all the why’s and how’s you can keep on going with what’s, where’s and when’s.
Keep asking yourself different questions until you feel that you have found the right answer.
Learn to be patient. An impatient person often acts based on emotions. They don’t even have time to listen to themselves because they are always in a hurry. My advice is to relax and be patient no matter what.
Don’t listen to your emotions. Any decisions that I made based on emotions were real disasters. I lost money, I almost lost a friend, I lost my inner balance and gained a lot of problems.
When you learn to be mindful and patient you discover the difference between raw emotions and your inner voice. Give yourself some time to reflect on any situation, step aside and ask yourself questions “Do I really need this?’, “Is it my true decision or am I forced into this?”, “How will I feel about it tomorrow (in a year, in 5 years)?”
Imagine yourself on a deserted island. Sometimes it is helpful to imagine yourself in a place where only your opinion matters. There is nobody else to judge you, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do things and there are no expectations or deadlines pressing you. What would you do in that situation? Can you do it now? Why not?
Do you often listen to yourself? Do you usually get the right or the wrong advice? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.