Find (and Listen to) Your Own Voice

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“When you lose touch with your inner stillness,
you lose touch with yourself.
When you lose touch with yourself,
you lose yourself in the world”
~Eckhart Tolle~

Many of us reach a point where we realize that our lives have drifted off course. It’s as if we wake up one day and suddenly realize that we’ve simply been swept along by the tides of life into uncharted directions.

Why does this happen?

Momentum

The short answer is that life entails momentum and it is easy for us to become caught up in it. And like a locomotive, once life’s momentum picks up steam, it’s hard to slow it down. Years may go by before we realize that we’ve been diverted from our desired destination. Thus, it is not unusual for people to describe a feeling of “losing” themselves.

Once we realize that we’ve lost our way, we often begin to seek ways to return to ourselves. However, finding ourselves is not always an easy task because momentum can dampen our awareness. Oftentimes, the outer momentum is in direct competition with our inner stillness. The busyness and noise of life can make it difficult to hear our own voices. Additionally, we often face pressures from the expectations of others, which can become the loudest noise of all. Before you know it, our own voices are drowned out altogether.

The First Step Toward Yourself

The first step toward finding ourselves is to listen for our inner voice. Secondly, we have to stop caring so much about what other people think of us, and allow our own voices to take center stage. This becomes especially important when we endeavor to make radical changes in our lives. Although guidance and advice is useful, it is important not to allow the expectations of others to overshadow our sense of self.

There may be people close to us who are not ready to accept the changes we wish to make. Common reasons include:

  • It doesn’t fit within the limits of the identity they have created for us.
  • It causes insecurity regarding the role they play in our lives (fearing they may get left behind).
  • It challenges them to take a hard look at their own lives, which often conjures fears and insecurities.

When we face such opposition, we have to allow our own voice to maintain a position of prominence. In fact, we should embrace the responsibility of being an advocate for our own needs. Moreover, we should not feel guilty for expressing our true selves. If expressing our desire to evolve in a self-directed manner creates distress for others, it is not our responsibility to shrink ourselves to fit the comfort levels of others.

Obviously, your nature is uniquely your own. Therefore, the needs of your nature cannot be defined by anyone but YOU. If our voices could be likened to an internal GPS, ignoring our inner voice is the same as ignoring our internal navigation system, preferring to accept direction from others who have no idea of where we wish to go.

Connect With Your Inner Voice

Finding our own voice is an integral part of finding and understanding ourselves because it brings our motivations to the surface. Personal change is rooted in the ability to understand those motivations. Change occurs when our personal motivations become strong enough to give impetus to a changed behavior or course. Therefore, if we cannot hear ourselves – or worse, refuse to listen – change is virtually impossible.

Our inner voice is always there, whether we are able to hear it or not. We simply need to slow down, mute the noise, and bring our minds to the center of ourselves so that we can more effectively hear it. Once we find ourselves, our goal is to remain mindfully aware of who we are, and to find the courage to express the inner selves that we’ve “discovered.”

THE VOICE

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

~Shel Silverstein~

Personal Reflections:

  • Are you in touch with your inner voice? What is it telling you?
  • Do you find it hard to express your needs and desires to others?
*Image: bizoon
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