by Renee Bedard
In the still, silent night, do you hear it? When your heart is full, can you feel it? When you long for silence, do you seek it? When you need to say no, do you speak it? There is a voice that calls to us from deep within. It is there to offer guidance and to help us understand what it is that we need. Sometimes it speaks through words, offering guidance. Other times we receive feelings and have an urge to ‘listen to our gut’. As we deepen our relationship with ourselves, we strengthen our partnership with that voice. The more we take the time to listen, we realize that we are connecting to our heart, mind, body, and soul, signaling what we need. But what happens if the voice we hear is critical or even harsh? What happens if this voice pushes us to go further than we can, never say no, causes us to feel drained or overextended? That too, is an inner voice. It can block us from interacting with our internal wisdom, leaving us feeling afraid, alone, unworthy, or angry. So, what can we do to ease the harmful or critical dialogue with ourselves and create a path towards our helpful, caring inner guidance?
Last week I wrote about breathing deeply into our bodies. It helps us to release tension, clear our minds, and to be present in the moment. It also helps us to open the way to recognize our own personal energy, thoughts, and feelings that we are experiencing in that moment. Taking the practice of self-care a step further, we can allow ourselves to open up and reflect on how we are talking to ourselves. Are you as patient with yourself as you can be with others? Are you willing to forgive yourself as you forgive others? Are your expectations for yourself realistic and what happens when you do not live up to them? Are you willing to give yourself another chance or do you automatically call yourself a failure and not worthy of success? I know for myself, there are times when I can be my own worst enemy. When I am not at my best, I can be a harsh critic of my thoughts and actions. If I am feeling stretched too thin, I can still have a hard time saying no to others. Through the years, I have learned that the harsh inner dialogue is not of my true inner voice, my Higher Self. The critical voice is my anger, frustration, fear, and the immense pressure that I place upon myself. My expectation to always be ‘doing’ something depletes my energy. Not being able to say the powerful word, no, also creates situations that cause great stress. The trigger stems from the hidden shadowy aspects in the subconscious. They bubble up from the depths, allowing the friction to block the healthy, beneficial relationship with myself and others. In the end, the noise in my head was drowning out the inner wisdom of my soul that is there to truly guide me. Remember, the inverse to this is also true. When we feel that we are always right, have a need for control or to be heard, that too is a clue from our subconscious. What are those needs telling us?
There are practices we can learn to incorporate to assist us on our journey of self-care. It is the action behind the intent of living a healthy and well-balanced life. These tools foster nurturing communication with ourselves while we strengthening our inner connections. Some of the practices include:
- Journaling: A great way to ease the tension and quiet the noise in our mind is to journal. When we take some time to reflect upon our thoughts and the experiences of the day, we allow ourselves the space to gently release what weighs upon us. The more we journal, the more we can discover not only what upsets us, but why it does and what may trigger it. Understanding yourself in a real and honest way helps you to grow. It also gives you a space to be completely authentic. No one else will read what you are writing. If you are uneasy with writing out your true feelings, burn it after in a safe, fireproof container to release it to the universe or rip the paper into tiny pieces and throw them away. If it is an emotional topic, practice your deep breathing as you write or offer yourself some Reiki.
- Learn the art of saying no. It is such a small word, but it is incredibly powerful. By saying no, we are recognizing the importance of what we are feeling as well as establishing healthy boundaries. Your thoughts and emotions are valid. If you are not feeling like you want to do something or if it goes against who you are, you have the right to say no. Those of us who are naturally service driven can feel obligated to others and push our own needs, dreams, health, and plans aside. This little word can be awfully hard to say for many of us. It is a very important part of self-care. Also remember, ‘No,’ is a full sentence even if your voice cracks as you speak it.
- Meditation: A great way to silence the chatter in our head is to mediate. 15 – 20 minutes a day will do wonders! We can relax our mind, body, and spirit, allowing us to connect with that true voice within, our Higher Self. It is also a perfect state to work out troubling or complex issues. If silent meditation is difficult at that time, try a walking meditation, running, Tai Chi, yoga, or other forms of exercise. These activities allow you to let go, silence your mind, and be in the moment. Physical activity is a great way to release stress and unblock energy from our body. Sometimes we need to remove the blockages before we can meditate or formulate what we need to say in our journals.
- Honor yourself: Our most sensitive, tender parts are talking to us all the time. What needs to be recognized, honored, or held? What needs to be said or done to make sure your needs are met? Explore what is going on in your heart. Allow yourself to feel your emotions. You are feeling them for a reason. The healthy way to explore them is to allow what is coming up from your depths without judgement. Listen to what is being said or experienced. Ask yourself what you need. Do you have control over the issue? If yes, what can you do? If not, how can you make the best of the situation and is there anyone who can help? Remind yourself that you are more than that emotion that you are feeling. It will pass if you allow it. Experiencing an emotion is important to help us understand what is going on. It just isn’t healthy to live in our guilt, anger, or fear. Learning to let go is also very important in honoring ourselves.
There is a voice inside us that is honest and true. When we doubt, deny, self-sabotage, we are blocking that voice, cutting off our inner guidance and even our limitless potential. It is the practice of loving yourself that will begin to heal and melt away insecurity, fear, anger, and mistrust. As we clean our wounds, we can rewrite those patterns and plant seeds of love, safety, and trust in ourselves. We allow ourselves the space to connect to our true inner voice, our Higher Self. No one can tell us exactly what we need. They can offer support or advice. However, it is up to us to decide how we will love ourselves, if we will love ourselves. Our subconscious, our shadow side, calls to us. It is the parts of us that are thirsty for love and compassion. They to want to be seen, heard, and recognized. By integrating all our parts, we are allowing ourselves to be healthy and well-balanced, deepening the connection to our valuable inner wisdom. Don’t you think that you are worthy of such beauty and love?