The Inner Compass Leads You to Both Pleasure and Pain! - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

The Inner Compass Leads You to Both Pleasure and Pain!

All people possess an internal guidance system. Sometimes people call it ‘the inner voice’. Sometimes people call it ‘the internal compass’. Sometimes people call it their emotional guidance system. This internal guidance system helps a person navigate life, make choices and keep heading towards their desires. But people make a faulty assumption about the internal guidance system. The faulty assumption people make is that the inner compass will always lead you to pleasure and never pain.

This assumption is what causes many people to misunderstand their own internal compass, to the degree that they stop listening to it. This is also an assumption that people capitalize on, in order to get others to abandon their own personal guidance system in favor of doing what they want. To illustrate both points, I’ll give you an example. A client I saw many years ago had very controlling parents. They did not like the stress of chasing a kid around and so, they preferred that she sit still and watch TV or use her coloring book. In order to discourage her from being active, they warned her about the fact that it was inevitable that if she was active, she would get hurt. Following her own internal guidance system, she put on a pair of roller skates instead of obeying her parents. A few minutes into the activity, she fell so hard on her butt that she couldn’t walk. She sat there crying and then had to crawl home. When she got home, her parents said “I told you so”.

That day, she made the experience mean that she could not trust her internal guidance system. That her inner voice and emotions would point her in the wrong direction. After all, if the internal guidance system was working, it would only say ‘yes’ to things that would lead to her pleasure. So, she abandoned it and instead, looked to her parents to know what is right for her and what to do and what to decide. This of course greatly pleased her parents, who were very happy to have such a compliant daughter and who truly believed that their estimation of what is ‘right’ for their daughter was far superior to her own estimation of what is ‘right’ for herself.

Consequently, this woman originally came to me because she had such a hard time with autonomy in relationships. Though she wanted freedom within a relationship, her emotional guidance system kept leading her into relationships where she had no freedom at all. She had no freedom because she had learned to look to her romantic partners to tell her what to think, say and do in the same way that she had looked to her parents for what to think, say and do. She did this so she would never get hurt again or have to blame herself for making the wrong choice again.

This idea that people have, that the inner compass will always lead you to pleasure and never pain, also tends to come with the beliefs that pain is wrong and that pain = negative results. All of these beliefs are inaccurate.

The inner compass is designed to lead you in the direction of what is in your best interests, what most people would call ‘right’ for you or ‘good’ for you. But just because something is in your best interests does not mean that it will necessarily be pleasurable. After all, your internal guidance system is not separate from the law of attraction or synchronicity or ‘divine plans’ within the universe at large. Not all elements of synchronicity are pleasurable. Not every element of a divine plan feels good.”

For example, another client I saw was an extreme skier. One morning, her internal guidance system told her to go skiing in a new location with a friend. She was super excited to go. But fatefully, that day she took a fall that completely ruptured her ACL in her knee. It derailed her sports career, which was her entire life. She slipped into a depression. But, one day, she received a call from a person that she knew, asking her to help out teaching students at a Montessori school. In the first three days of teaching the kids, she felt more purpose and more joy than she had ever felt doing anything else, including skiing. She now feels that she has found her place in the world. And gives the credit for finding her purpose to her injury. So, her internal guidance system led her towards pain. But was it wrong for it to do so? Or was doing so in fact in alignment with her best interests?

Another example is that if a person has learned a codependent style of relationships, their internal guidance system is likely to lead them into such painful relationships that they become aware of their own dysfunction and then consciously change a pattern within themselves, thereby bringing them closer to relationships that feels good.

Another example is that an athlete’s guidance system may point them in the direction of a gold medal and thus in the direction of a really difficult training regimen which causes them to bleed and cry and sweat and struggle.

I am not saying that the inner compass is always perfectly healthy. After all, the inner compass can be “messed with”. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Why ‘Follow Your Joy’ Doesn’t Always Work. The main reason that channels and spirit guides often do not care about this nuance (and teach a person to follow their feelings anyway to the ends of the earth) is because they know that if the person follows their compass that was meddled with, it will lead them to a destination that they don’t want to be at, at which point they will then discover that they don’t want it and change direction entirely, back into alignment with the pre-meddled-with course. You should not distrust yourself and distrust the way you feel based off of knowing this. That would be worse than following your emotional guidance system towards what feels good with no awareness about why and lining up with the unwanted. Rather, when you follow your emotional guidance system with the awareness that your compass can be ‘faulty’ (mostly due to the process of socialization) you will be able to question yourself in the spirit of curiosity and the desire to be totally aware… You will ask yourself WHY something feels good to do. 

That being said, if your inner compass has been messed with, it is in fact still working perfectly; therefore, not actually faulty. For example, if what was right for you, was to be an artist, but you were born to parents who would not put up with that career choice, and you adopted a deeper value of being close with family than personal purpose, your internal guidance would point you in the direction of: “then it’s right to give up your art for the career mom and dad want you to have”. It will make doing so, feel better (more like relief) than pursuing art. So, perhaps it is better to say that it is important to make sure the reason that your compass is pointing the way it is pointing, is both conscious and something you can consciously align with.

What all this boils down to is that just because your internal guidance system (following what feels good and what feels like a yes to you) leads you into something painful, that is not a reason that you should distrust yourself and abandon your internal guidance system. With a better understanding of how this universe works and the role that your internal guidance system plays in that more objective picture, your interpretation of these kinds of situations (as well as what you make it mean) will change.

We are conditioned to believe that feeling pain is both unnecessary and a bad thing. We also often make it mean that we’ve somehow failed. But pain serves a powerful purpose in the universe at large. And as such, it isn’t completely avoidable. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: The Meaning of Pain. Pain calls us to become conscious of ourselves and others. It is a messenger. Treat pain like a teacher and learn from your pain. Next time you feel pain as a result of your internal guidance system leading you towards something that ended up being painful, remind yourself that pain is the catalyst for the true alchemy of life change. And so, consider that it may just be both your inner guidance system and the universe at large working together FOR you and FOR your best interests, instead of against you or against your best interests.


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