Frequently we don’t think we can listen to our inner voice because we confuse it with all the voices inside us that tell us we’re not doing enough. We imagine that the moment we listen to our inner voice it will tell us everything we’re doing wrong!
That is not our true inner voice. I call those “outside voices” because most of them originate from all of the expectations and judgments about how we “should” be doing that we’ve been hearing all of our lives. They’re “outside” of us because they don’t really feel like they come from within, from what we truly want or feel or need. Rather they talk at us, telling us how we “should” be, whether it’s thinner, happier, more successful, more organized, or whatever.
Sometimes when we’re most hurt, or most disappointed, or when truly painful things have happened to us, those outside voices can get very intense. We can get caught up in terrible self-judgment. If these sorts of critic attacks happen to you, the next time it does, see if you can gently turn away from all the self-criticism and turn your attention to what happened that brought it on. Chances are something occurred that hurt you, that you’re blaming yourself too much for. See if you can acknowledge and let yourself be with, for just a minute or two, what you truly feel, and what you want, from a place of self-compassion rather than self-blame.
Your inner voice is always gentle. It never attacks you. It is aware of all the good in you, even when you’re not. Bring your awareness away from how you haven’t lived up to some external standard or expectation and ask yourself instead, “What do I want for me? What do I feel and know to be true for me?” Then you will feel connected to yourself, in touch with your own direction, traveling on your own path.