Just like motivational quotes, the advice to “listen to yourself” comes from everywhere, but what does it mean? How to understand your feelings, desires, needs, how to find out which “inner voice” is ours and which is someone else’s?
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1. Reflect on your values
If you don’t know your true values, or if you take other people’s values as your own, you will experience anxiety and dissatisfaction. Look back at your life and remember what has ever brought you unconditional joy and inspiration.
For example, if you value money, then why do you hate your job as a financial planner, but enjoy doing volunteer projects so much? Maybe it’s really valuable for you not to receive, but to give?
If you find it difficult to understand whether this is your value, imagine that your entire future life will be built exclusively around it. For example, you think that your value is power. Imagine that from now on you will only do what to give commands. Will you be happy? Or will you feel lonely? If the second option is correct, you may value leadership rather than power.
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Do it now
2. Become aware of your core beliefs
These are your deep ideas about the world, about other people, about yourself. It is possible that they were formed in childhood and inherited by you from other family members. For example, such as “the world is dangerous”, “no one can be trusted”, “money is evil”.
The problem with core beliefs is that until you become aware of them, they subtly control you and influence all your decisions. Getting to the bottom of them is not easy, it requires being extremely honest with yourself. Sometimes you need the help of a coach or a counseling psychologist. But if you take a look at the beliefs that drive you to make bad decisions and replace them with new ones that make life easier, it will lead to impressive changes.
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3. Get to know your inner critic
Listen to the voice in your head telling you what to do. His tone makes you feel helpless and humiliated. This is not your true self, this is your inner critic. He speaks in the voice of a mother or a father, a mentor or a teacher, someone who was strict and hard on you when you were growing up. Very often he uses the words “should”, “must”, “should”. And he loves to compare you to others.
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4. Break through the chaos
One of the reasons we can’t hear our true selves is because we’re bombarded with many voices. It’s like tuning into one radio station when there are hundreds of them on the air. In addition to the already mentioned inner critic, we can hear, for example, our inner child (“poor me, unhappy, no one loves me, no one appreciates what I do”).
How to hear yourself in this polyphony? Try this writing technique. Take a pen and try to throw out your anxieties, discontent, anger, sadness, self-criticism on paper as quickly as possible, without caring about how it is written. This is a good way to cut through the chaos to your true voice.
At first, it will be difficult to write even one or two sentences in which your real “I” will be felt, but when you practice, you can “summon” it as soon as the pen touches the paper. Someone else is more suitable for a different technique: not to write, but to say out loud everything that worries.