Listening to yourself is hard.

Once you get past focusing on what everyone else is saying and down to the real business of listening to your own voice, what should you do when it tells you conflicting things?

Perhaps you have put your nose to the grindstone with something you really want to do, something you need to do. Perhaps you’re training for a marathon, writing a book, or sticking to a budget. What do you do when your heart is tired, but your mind insists on marching on? What then?

Listening to yourself is hard.

And the truth is that we often don’t want to listen to ourselves, each moment of each day. We want to listen to our heart at the get-go and put our desires on cruise control and just speed along towards our destination. Unfortunately, however, listening to yourself involves reclaiming your own voice on a moment-to-moment basis and being flexible enough to break when some slow polk pulls out in front of you, fix the flat tire that inevitably results on any road trip, or to try a new route when the old one is under construction. You can’t take your authentic journey if you’re on autopilot the entire way.

Perhaps you need to take a break from your training plan to give your body much needed rest. Perhaps you need a day off from your writing schedule in order to think about the project from a broader perspective. Perhaps you need to afford yourself a simple little spurge that doesn’t cost much, but feels like a luxury (e.g., oven mitts from Pier One). These are needs, not wants.

This past weekend, I was supposed to be running 7 miles, but a pesky little knee injury has come back to haunt me. Step-by-step, I had to check in with my knee and change my stride in order to avoid the pain. After 6.5 miles, that familiar ache started to rear its ugly head, but I desperately wanted to keep going (I was so close). However, I listened to my body. I stopped, stretched, and walked (I hate walking on a run). Then I got back on the trail and ran the last half-mile home.

Sometimes the right thing is exactly what you want, but sometimes it’s not. However, I firmly believe that if you reach deep within yourself, you will find an answer for what you are to do (or not do) at this very moment. You may have to change course the next hour, minute, or second, but for that moment you’ll be OK. Even if it is the worst of times, if we check in with ourselves, we find that at any one moment we can be OK, good even.

What challenges have you had when listening to yourself?

  1. I love this. For me the challenge is knowing when my inner voice is truly saying REST and when that is an excuse because I don’t want to do whatever it is I need to do. Sometimes I think it’s resistance, and sometimes it’s real, and I can’t always (often) figure out which. xoxo

  2. Congratulations on your new blog! This topic really interests me because my “self” is telling me something over and over again. It comes out every day in my morning pages, yet it’s telling me something that’s scary and risky and sometimes I just want to block my ears and stay where it’s safe. I’m afraid myself might be sabotaging me, even as I know deep down that it’s guiding me down the path to my dreams.

  1. No trackbacks yet.