After having worked as a Registered Nurse for 8 years, I decided to become a counselling therapist so that I could help people heal more than the physical alone. Having gone through my own healing journey, I discovered that while talk therapy alone is very helpful, it had limitations. This led me to learn Heart Centered Hypnotherapy, Holy Fire Reiki, Somatic Experiencing, Breathwork and Intuitive Readings, so that I could combine the mind, body and spirit to healing.
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Finding and Listening to Inner Guidance
Listening to our inner voice can sometimes be challenging, especially when anxiety and fear gets caught in the mix. This may be happening when we have a desire to do something and decide that it could never happen or think that people will no longer like us. The opposite is also true, when we have a feeling that we should not do something and do it anyways, only to find out that we should have listened to that feeling. Knowing when something comes from our inner guidance and when it comes from anxiety is often challenging to distinguish. . If you observe how children act, they instinctively know what they love and don’t. We also have that inside of us, and still do, it just might have gotten hidden behind our fears. In fact, over time, we learn to disconnect from our inner guidance when we get mocked for our ideas, humiliated, or rejected when we liked something or experienced traumatic events.
How Inner Guidance Communicates
How inner guidance work, is that it communicates to us through our hearts. We may be passionate or love something, and not think much about it. Our heart communicates and guides us toward a direction and a life that we are meant to live. If you start to ask people what they like, enjoy or are passionate about, you might find that they have different interest than you. This is because their life journey is different than ours. Even if you have friends who have similar interests, by asking more questions, you will notice that there might be slight differences in your interest comparing to theirs. You may also notice that when you are ignoring that voice and pushing yourself to do something that you don’t like, that you experience depressed, anxiety, annoyance or anger for example. This is only your inner guidance communicating with you that you need to make change to return to your life path that you are meant to live.
It is easier said than done, since our beliefs that life is not meant to be fun, that we SHOULD be doing what society has told us to do, that it’s just our imagination or that it will never happen often get in the way. In fact, our beliefs, fears, and conditioning teach us not to listen to our inner guidance. Remember that our inner voice communicates to us through what we love, indicating where we should be going, and what we don’t enjoy, indicating that change is needed. Nonetheless, it might take time to bring about changes, especially if we have created an entire life that is not fitting with who we are. Doing little steps at a time, with the ultimate goal to create the life we want, would be a good place to stat.
Listening to Our Emotions
Very often, when we feel what we perceive as negative emotions, we jump to medicate or numb our pain in order to continue living a life that is not aligned with what we want or who we are. However, taking the time to listen to what our emotions are telling us could be a great way to understand what is no longer working for us. We can get caught in comparing our lives with what other people are doing, rather than going within and finding what our inner truth is. Pay attention to words that you might be telling yourself, such as “should”, as this often means that we feel or want something, but do what we think we need to do. This can cause or mind to fight with our inner guidance, our heart’s desire and our body. In order to listen to emotions, it can be helpful to ask the following questions:
- What am I feeling
- What is the feeling trying to tell me
- What does it need from me
Listening to Our Heart
As mentioned above, the inner guidance communicates through our hearts. We do not need to look for objects or outside of our selves. Often, what happens is that we have a heart’s desire, and then our mind kicks in and rationalizes everything that could either go wrong, why what we want could never happen and how everyone will judge us. This then pulls us away from our inner guidance and what we truly want. Therefore, one of the thing that you can start with is observing on a daily basis what brings you joy. A question that you may want to ask yourself is: “In a perfect world, if I weren’t afraid, what would I love to do?” From there, you can use your thinking or logical brain to help achieve your heart’s desire, rather than work against it. For example, if you would love to be a writer, instead of using your mind to talk you out of it by saying that people will judge you and that no one will like your writing, you can use your thinking brain to think about the first step to take to become a writer.
It is also easier to hear our inner voice when we access a state of calm. Since our mind is often what creates noise and pull us away from our heart, walking in nature, meditating, creative expression (music, art, dance, writing, etc.), mindfulness, breath work are all ways that can shut down our thinking brain and access our inner voice. Try to notice when your mind is trying to tell you all the reasons why you should not be doing something, so that you can interrupt it and get it to work in your favor.
Other Blocks to our Inner Voice
While you may be aware of what your inner voice says or wants, getting to act on it is another thing. Often, fear can control our lives. Furthermore, if we experienced trauma, we learn to shut down our hearts to protect ourselves. In such cases, healing traumatic wounds is an important part to releasing blockages and defenses that were very important at the time that trauma occurred, but that are no longer helpful to us. Somatic Experiencing or hypnotherapy are great methods that help move and release traumatic wounds. Opening our hearts after having experienced past hurts takes courage, vulnerability and time.
Difference between Anxiety and Our Inner Voice
Finally, it might be hard to distinguish anxiety versus our inner voice/gut feeling. Often, the main difference is that the gut feeling is a feeling that comes and tells you not to do something, but it is hard to explain why and it is a feeling that is hard to describe. There is also often no answer as to why you should not be going somewhere or doing something. Nonetheless, our rational brain and anxiety can come in handy when, for example, someone offers you a drive home after they have been drinking. In such a case, you might get a gut feeling or a “bad feeling” and also understand that there is a risk of driving home with someone inebriated.
On the other hand, anxiety might be taking over when we are invited to go hang out with new people and we become anxious about the risk of not knowing what to say, about what they will think of us and if they won’t like us. This example would be coming more from past hurt, fears, or inner beliefs than from a gut feeling. Often, a gut feeling will be sudden and comes on when you are facing a situation, such as when you are walking and suddenly get the feeling that you should take a different route home, without really knowing why. Anxiety will often be coming on longer, and is often related to worrying about the future. It can also impact your life negatively, by getting you to avoid certain situations over and over, and will often get the mind wandering in uncertainty.