When was the last time you listened to yourself? When you trusted your instincts, your gut, your intuition, whatever you call it. My challenge to you in July was to choose a challenge and as part of that I asked what you would like to challenge yourself on and self care came back as a popular choice. What has this got to do with listening? Well, if we never listen to what we are telling ourselves (mind and body) then we aren’t giving ourselves due care and attention.
It’s all very well of course, me asking when you last listened to yourself, the idea of it – easy; in practice not so much. I know, I know. Clients say to me they don’t hear their inner voice, that they don’t what it’s telling them (if anything) and even when they do, how do they know that their intuition is to be trusted; especially if it’s different to what everyone around them is saying?
My response: It’s important to listen to others, particularly those who love you and whom you trust but that doesn’t mean ignoring your own feelings. When you listen to yourself, you make decisions that are right for you. Remember that no one else knows what will make you happy (even if they say they do). I talked about this in my free live session on Friday – that we can never truly understand another’s situation as everyone experiences things differently.
There are two key steps to tuning in to yourself – first, you need to understand yourself.
- Get clear on what you want and be present in your day to day life (I find mindfulness useful for this). Think about why you do things and what your actions give you in return.
- Do what you feel like doing. Do you feel like staying home instead of going out? Do it. Do you feel like dancing round your house to your favourite album on loud? Do it. Do you feel like going for a walk with a good friend?Do it. By deviating from your normal routine it gives you a chance to begin listening to yourself. (caveat: rash emotional decisions like quitting your job after a difficult conversation with your boss should probably be reflected upon first!)
- Take care of yourself first. I’ve said it (more than) once and I’ll say it again – it is not selfish to look after yourself as well as others. In fact, it’s essential. In order to understand yourself you must spend some time regularly doing what you love. Ideally something which makes you feel calm and relaxed since this is the environment you will need to listen to yourself.
- Focus on your core beliefs. By understanding what you believe, what you feel is important and where your moral compass is pointing you can turn to your beliefs when you are feeling lost and confused. These are unlikely to change over time and so provide you with some stability.
Once you understand yourself it is time for step two, to hear yourself. Your inner voice, intuition, instinct, gut, sixth sense, subconscious mind (choose the right name for yourself) can help you make the right decisions for you. It doesn’t mean that you won’t make mistakes but it’s understanding that those mistakes will teach you something in life. In order to hear yourself you need to find the best way for you. Here are some ideas:
- Declutter your mind. Disconnect from technology at least once a week (I choose Sundays) and try not to focus on all the negativity in the news; find some positive news stories – I recommend the Good News Network to counteract the daily news feed. You can also try some time in quiet reflection – even 10 minutes is enough.
- Find somewhere you can think, where you won’t be disturbed. Not easy if you have children! You may need to be creative and/or experiment with different times of day. I would love to hear where you think so comment below.
- Coach yourself. Use the questions I post in the Facebook group or ask yourself questions to understand why you are feeling a certain way. Trust me, you will know the ‘right’ answer to your question.
- Be patient and relaxed. By relaxing you quiet your emotions and so can think more rationally and clearly. This is almost certainly going to take practice so stay patient; it will come.
If you have any insights or comments on how you listen to yourself or what you hear then I would love to hear them, please comment below.