Some of us know ourselves really well. We hear our inner voice speaking to us loud and clear and we are able to make decisions according to that inner voice quickly. But for some of us, this is not the case. We struggle to know how we feel and what we really think and what we want and don’t want. We have silenced our inner voice. The way to get that inner voice to grow louder is to look for it and listen to it. By doing this the whisper of the inner voice becomes a scream.
We learned to ignore our inner voice because people in our life who mattered to us did not listen to it. Because they treated it like it didn’t matter, we learned that it didn’t matter. So their voice became louder within us than our own voice. We couldn’t hear our own inner voice over the loudness of everyone else’s voice.
The inner voice comes primarily through emotion, sensation and thought rather than an audible voice inside of us, even though it can take on this form sometimes. It is the aspect of our inner self, or core (or what some people call soul) that is telling us about ourselves and about the world we live in at each moment of the day. Some people call the inner voice intuition because it is inner knowing, inner seeing, inner perceiving and inner wisdom.
Not listening to the inner voice leads the body to try to communicate in other ways, through stomachaches and headaches and illnesses and even disease for example. Not to mention that the universe will try to magnify the inner voice through your external reality so you cannot longer run from your own inner truth.
I don’t want you to think that the inner voice is always pure. The inner voice is in fact influenced and distorted by the things we are unconscious of. It is effected by our past experiences, our fears, our beliefs etc. Our inner voice will reflect the exact state of our being with all of its purity and impurity. It is real. The more conscious and awake you become and the more shadow work you do, the more pure the inner voice becomes.
Many people in the business of wellness and spirituality will tell you that you have to ignore the aspect of the inner voice that is always telling you bad things about yourself, criticizing you or making you doubt yourself or making negative judgments etc. And instead only listen for the voice that is protective and loving and confident and clear. But I disagree with this approach completely. The inner voice that nags at you is still an aspect of you. Not listening to it, is not listening to your inner voice. And this type of inner voice is in fact trying to pull your attention to the wounded aspect of you that really needs the attention. And only through really listening to this voice as if it has something valid and important to say (notice I didn’t say true, I said valid and important) can we heal what needs healing inside us so the inner voice that is in a space of stillness and integrity and confidence can surface and speak to us. I am going to boldly tell you that in the end, even if you were never to do any inner work to purify the inner voice, it is critical to listen to what it is saying. It represents what is REAL about you right here and now.
When we are not connected to the inner voice, we are in a state of unconsciousness. We are in self-denial. Our inner voice could be screaming “I hate this person” but on the surface we might say, “I really like that person.” Or our inner voice could be saying “I want to be a singer” but on the surface, we say “I want to do whatever makes the most sense for me.” We go against our intuition sometimes to disastrous ends. Our inner self is ALWAYS communicating with us about its truth. We need to begin to listen. Otherwise, we have nothing REAL to work with. For example, there’s nothing to do shadow work on if you can’t listen to the inner voice. You may have experienced this conundrum when you can see that someone is triggered into an emotional state (which means the inner voice is desperate to be heard) but the person says, “No, I’m fine”. If the inner voice is suppressed in this way, there is nothing that can be done to resolve the trigger because the person is unwilling to listen to the inner voice.
So, how do we listen to the inner voice?
- We turn our attention inward, towards our inner world. Imagine your skin was like a film that separated the outer world from your inner world. Pull all of your attention off of the outer world and put it into this inner world. If you need to close your eyes to do this, then do it.
- Pay attention to the sensations that are happening there in the internal world. Feel them like a unique sensory experience.
- If this sensation were a color, what color would it be? What texture would it be? Is it moving or still? If it were a shape, what shape would it be? What image do you get in conjunction with this sensation?
- Start to mentally engage with this image you have in your mind of the sensation. As if the sensation itself is a being or thing that can communicate with you.
- Start to ask it questions. Any question you feel like asking it is a good question to ask. Ask it questions about itself and about its perspective about you. Questions like “What are you? What do you represent? Why are you here right now? What do you want me to know? What do you need me to do? What is the truth that I do not want to admit to or express right now? If I were to tell the absolute truth in this situation and weren’t afraid to do so, what would the truth be?
- Listen to the answers that come to you. You may hear the answers or just know the answers or see the answers. No matter how those answers come, know that this is the inner self-communicating with you. This is the inner voice responding to you.
- Engage with this inner voice in whatever way you feel guided to continue based off of the answers you receive. As if you were literally having an inner conversation with yourself. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Let yourself intuitively just experiment with it.
When you are feeling a strong emotion, such as when you are triggered or feel inspired, the inner voice is calling for you to listen. Don’t ever think that if you don’t know the reason why you feel the way you do that there isn’t a reason. But even when the inner voice doesn’t call you to listen, it is important to develop attunement with it and periodically check in with your inner voice in the same way that you’d check in with a partner of yours even if they weren’t in a crisis or yelling for your attention. We need to learn to go towards it. If you aren’t sure what the inner voice is saying, don’t rush it. Instead give yourself some time to really look and listen deeply to it so its truth surfaces. Delay making decisions if possible, not so that you can avoid the situation but so that you can make the decision from a space of clarity and with the truth of your whole being behind you.
If the inner voice doesn’t talk to you, be patient with it. This means it is testing you to see how dedicated you are to hearing it. It doesn’t trust you because you’ve denied, ignored, rejected and minimized it for so long. It needs to know you’re out of that abusive pattern before it speaks to you. To understand more about how this dynamic is set up and to learn how to un-do it and to learn how to address your inner voice, watch my YouTube video titled “The Emotional Wake Up Call”.
Practice connecting to your heart. The inner voice often speaks the loudest through your heart. To learn how to do this, watch my video on YouTube titled “Connecting With and Healing Your Heart”. But it is interesting to know that the inner voice can in fact speak through any aspect of you. It is the REAL you. So it can speak for your mind, your heart, your liver, your pancreas, your core or any aspect of you that you may wish to communicate with.
With practice, your inner voice will speak so loudly that you will not need to close your eyes or turn your attention inwards to try to listen to it and try to interpret it. You will not need to visualize to experience it. It will be talking to you in a language you fully understand and so it will come up from within to meet you and then you can choose to express it to the world.
That being said, expression is a good way to give the inner voice the permission to become louder. It’s the opposite of suppression, which is what made the inner voice go silent in the first place. So watch my video titled “How To Express Your Emotion” and make a practice of the process I put forth in that video.
Our inner voice is always talking to us about the things we experience in our lives and the people we meet. In the beginning, when we are first starting to listen to our inner voice, we need to stop and reflect. We need to trace back over what was said or what happened, what we thought about it, and how felt about what we thought. When we do this, the inner voice unearths the pathway by which we arrived at our intuitive reaction in any given situation. It enables us to identify the concrete reasons why for example we hesitated to make a decision that on the surface seemed a good one to make. The more often you're able to recognize why you have the instinctual reactions you do, the more comfortable you'll become that your inner voice can be trusted.
Surround yourself with people who care about your inner voice and who direct you back towards it. If this is an aspect of you life you want to develop, don’t be afraid to tell them that you would like their help when they feel like you’re not listening to your inner voice, to direct you into yourself and enable you to listen to it and ask it questions and then act in accordance with the answers that you receive. It’s really hard to develop the ability to listen to our inner voice and act in accordance with it when we are surrounded by people who minimize it and suppress it and ignore it and don’t consider it.
Sooner or later if you ignore and suppress the inner voice, the universe will find a way to drag you back to it. You will not be able to avoid it. Your life will become too unhappy to have the option to deny it. So I’d rather you live according to it from the get go. Build and direct your life out of the knowing of what is real about you and never let the voice of others, drown your inner voice out.