Have you ever been in a difficult moment where you needed to take an important and quick decision but didn’t have the answer there and then? And did it ever happen to you that in such a situation you suddenly ‘hear’ an answer in your head out of nowhere that leads you out of your predicament? That’s your inner voice.
The inner voice is that subtle message that you sometimes pick up but feel is coming from somewhere different than your thoughts or the usual internal commentary in your head. It has a different tone and a different purpose.
Your inner voice can be your guide, your ally and your friend in need that speaks up in those moments when you really need an answer. Sometimes we have to take an action or a decision but the information we have is limited. Your inner voice serves as a priceless feedback.
Your inner voice helps you take wiser decisions and it keeps you in perspective by guiding you in the right direction and giving you information in the form of hints which you would otherwise have missed or overlooked.
How to find you inner voice:
A common question that I’ve been asked when the subject of inner voice comes out is “So how can I find my inner voice?”
To be exact, we don’t find our inner voice but our inner voice finds us. What we can do to facilitate this is to open up and tune our ‘internal antenna’. I’ve noticed that although some people like myself have always found it very natural to be inward looking and sensitive to subtle things, most people are more externally driven, so listening to their inner voice could be a possibility that they never opened themselves to.
If you are such a person you need to start forming some habits that help you redirect your awareness inwardly – to your feelings, ideas, energies, motivation, etc. Here are a few things to do:
- Spend more quality time with yourself. A lot of people are quite uncomfortable by themselves. They always need company and when they are alone they try to avoid themselves by getting occupied doing something else. Quality time alone means shifting your attitude from ‘not being around anyone’ to ‘being with myself’. Take time to listen to yourself, observe and write down your thoughts, feelings and ideas.
- Disconnect your devices and connect with yourself again. We are getting so connected to things and systems that we are gradually disconnecting from ourselves. Internet, personal mobile devices, PCs, TV, phones, whatever, have not only consumed our free time but have consumed the relationship with ourselves. Sitting in a waiting room anywhere, you always see people who haven’t raised their eyes once from their mobile phones in one hour – texting, playing, etc. Put down your phones or whatever and absorb your environment, think, imagine, create in your head.
- Find time to quiet down your mind. Practice daily any activity that helps you achieve this – meditation, yoga, stretching, walking, running, listening to music, cycling, having a warm bath, etc. One thing you can do anywhere is observing your breath. Focus on how your lungs and belly feel as you inhale and exhale.
- Learn to ‘feel’ an answer and not think of an answer. This is important, because your inner voice is more connected to your heart channels than your mind. Your inner voice is ‘felt’ – it’s not a result of your thinking. So when you are alone, ask a question and try to ‘feel’ the answer. It’s counter intuitive I know but first experience will clear this out for you.
- Observe your feeling and emotions. Be more attentive to what’s going on inside of you. If you never pay attention to your inner movements, the chances are that your inner voice would have been rendered a bit dumb. Observing your feelings is giving a message to your inner voice that you are listening.
- Learn to listen more to your inner currents rather than the outer currents. What I mean is that often people are used to finding cues and points of reference in other people or in situations around them instead of inside of them. Try to observe this happening. When you are in doubt, let’s say you lost your way, what do you do first? Some people would spontaneously ask the first person passing by or look around them to get an idea (which of course is sensible). Thinking about it, the first thing I do is stop to tune into my gut feelings or intuition (kind of checking out if I received any messages in my inbox!), secondly I ask people.
- Learn to step aside for a while when you are trying to solve a problem instead of trying to think and think about it. Just stop. First of all if you are thinking you are closing off the space for other type of ‘messages’ besides thought. You are closing off the other ports. Secondly, by stepping aside you are sending a message to you inner voice to step in.
How to recognize it:
A second common question that is asked about inner voice is “how do I recognize it?” or “How would I know it’s not my thoughts or my imagination?”
First of all it has to be cleared out that your inner voice is not part of your thoughts or the vocalization of your inner commentary. It’s deeper than your thoughts. It’s not even your imagination or your visualization – these are all products of mental processes.
Your inner voice is found in the space between your thoughts. It’s part of your inner consciousness that’s connected to your being and not your doing. It’s part of your authentic self, your higher self.
I have summarized a few tips on how to recognize it:
- Your inner voice is not to be mistaken for your inner-critic those self-criticizing (and often self-defeating) thoughts. Your inner voice is your inner coach.
- It ‘sounds’ and ‘feels’ gentle, wise, lucid, focused and sensible.
- It is not to be confused with your thoughts or your mental chatter.
- It is usually accompanied by a feeling of centeredness and peaceful confidence that is usually found in mindful states.
- In fact your inner voice is a mindful state because it is heard when you rise above your thoughts or mental chatter and start listening.
- Since it is more connected to your heart than your mind, it is more to be found in feelings rather than in reasoning, imagination and thought.
- Use your emotions as a guide. The feeling that usually accompanies your inner voice is that feeling of ‘something just clicked in the right place’. It’s a feeling of reassurance.
- Don’t expect too much. If you expect some ‘type of voice’ you will miss it when it comes.
- You will recognize that it has a different ‘tone’ than your thoughts and the message is subtler but deeper.