I see it often. A “How to Listen to Your Inner Voice (or Intuition)” article. The first tip is listen to your first feeling. As soon as I see that phrase, one of two things happens. I immediately start to feel anxious and begin obsessing over what my first feeling actually was an what it means or I laugh because for most of us that tip is utter bullshit. You cannot often trust your first feeling. To say that your first feeling is your Inner Voice is not only misleading it can at times be damaging.
Before I continue, if you aren’t sure why listening to your Inner Voice is important in the first place check out 5 Powerful Reasons to Embrace your Inner Voice.
Andy Puddicomb states, “Meditation is not about creating space in the mind. [The mind] is already limitless in nature. It’s about letting go of the clutter that obscures our experience of that space.”
If you are like most people, your mind has a lot of that clutter.
Mental clutter is NOT your Inner Voice, it’s a barrier to it.
If you want to listen to your Inner Voice than you first must know what’s stopping you from hearing it.
Anxiety vs. Intuition
You cannot always trust your first feeling because often that first feeling is anxiety. Anxiety is like the cloud that obscures the blue sky. It places your brain literally in fight or flight mode, which makes every experience seem a lot more intense and substantial than it is. Your body and mind are looking out for the bear rather than the path through the wood. As such you’ll take whichever trail gets you farthest from the bear. Often that’s the wrong direction.
To tell the difference between your Inner Voice and anxiety, my therapist told me the following:
Look for a subtle versus sharp feeling.
Sharp feelings are really intense emotions. Emotions that do not match the situation at hand. They are often caused by old emotions and triggers making their way into the present.
Further more, Dr. Judith Orloff states that intuition (aka your Inner Voice) ” conveys information neutrally and…