Listen-up: Noise is everywhere. We encounter external noise from the moment our ears perceive their first audible sound.
But, what about the internal noise that fills our minds? How do we quiet the incessant and often-nonsensical unhelpful static so that space is made to access our inner voice? In other words, how do we listen to our truth?
When we are faced with a pivotal choice it is amazing how many of us choose to ask everyone for what to do next except the one entity that actually lives with the effects of our decisions: The true you . Why do we give up our power? Why do we abdicate actively participating in the now?
The answer: Fear. What are we afraid of you might ask. Well, pretty much everything that seems to take away our choices or power.
For example, we might fear commitment in relationships because it is a threat to us feeling free. Or, we could hesitate accepting a new job, even if the compensation is better, because we are afraid of not being able to control the new working environment.
News flash: The only thing we can control in this chaotic experience, we collectively call life, is our state of mind.
Too often though, we allow fear to muffle the volume of our inner voice. The fear of choosing incorrectly floods every ounce of our being so much that we rationalize giving away our power of choice. Let’s explore that notion a bit further.
What defines a choice as being “correct?” Isn’t our evaluation of correctness based upon our own set of filters and interpretations? Any decision that elevates our peace of mind is preferable to one that causes us fear. Our judgment and our preferences for a specific result is the source of our conflict, not the choice made.
That being said, how do we regain our power to choose our inner voice over someone else’s advice? Here are three steps to turn-up the volume of your inner voice.
Step 1. Let Go
Our journey begins with letting go of preconceived judgments. For those of you reading who are certain I just deviated from English to another language, please allow me to explain.
In order to learn and practice listening to our inner voice, we need not care what anyone thinks about the outcome of any decision that we make. I do not mean to imply displaying a callous disregard, but rather a state of mental neutrality. Only our interpretations give rise to our judging something as “good” or “bad.”
Do you go left or right? Should you say “yes” or “no?” Think about it. In the grand scheme of things does the outcome of any specific decision you make really matter to anyone other than you?
Facts are not positive or negative. They just exist as they are in the present moment.
Step 2. Be Present
This leads us to our second step, Be Present. The other day I woke-up absolutely petrified for no seeming reason. My mind raced and I was hyper vigilant to any and every noise around me.
To this instant, I have no clue why I was so freaked out that specific morning. However, I bring this up to illustrate how choosing to be present can calm us even in a state of sheer panic.
Instead of denying the experience of my anxiety, I accepted it without judgment. I inventoried my body at that moment, noticing any areas of tension. I took gentle, slow breaths and visualized sending the air I inhaled into each area of previously noted bodily discomfort.
Within a few minutes, my nerves calmed and my mind began to quiet. I could have spent hours analyzing “why” I was upset and might have caused more anxiety in the process. Instead, I surrendered to the moment of what “was” and allowed myself the space to “be.”
Step 3. Trust
In the example I shared in Step 2, I trusted the calmness of my inner voice to quiet my worried mind. I could have called my mother, texted a friend or even consulted the “Oracle” of all things Google, but instead I turned to my inner voice.
If I had reached out to a source outside of myself I would not have been “wrong,” but I might have missed an opportunity to enhance my self-comforting abilities.
Asking for help should not be discounted in times of crisis or emergency. However if our intention in seeking help is to detach ourselves from accountability for a decision, we should at least become aware of our true motivation in asking.
Again, it comes down to learning to trust our inner voice rather than trying to muffle it through the consensus of others’ opinions.
Tuning into your inner voice will become second nature once you’ve developed confidence to lead your life from this awareness. However, one decision remains: Choosing to listen. That morning in bed, flooded by idiopathic anxiety, I chose fear’s opposite. I chose to trust and to listen to my truth.
The journey to find solace from the chaotic outside world within the space of inner thoughts is simple, but not easy. Applying the three steps above will facilitate creating room to hear and to practice the lessons presented by your inner voice and truth.
How have you let the noise of your own mind’s fears or others’ opinions drown out your inner voice?
This post first appeared on LinkedIn