A Research Paper By Akriti Adhikari, Women Confidence Coach, UNITED KINGDOM
I have researched this topic for many years. There have been many situations where I have ignored the inner voice and given importance to the outer noise. All of us have an inner voice. That inner call or intuition tells us to act on it but we tend to ignore it, as the noise outside is so prevalent that we end up believing the same.
Some of the common life decisions are usually swayed by the outer world like choosing a career, a life partner, a job, a friend, a place to live, or even our life habits. Sometimes we follow the influencers on social media, and sometimes our friends or elders in the family. We are surrounded by walls of others’ thoughts and actions, which sometimes hinders our thinking and stops us from focusing on our voice. The key question is what do we want?
In this research paper, I am going to focus on the barriers to listening to the inner voice and ways to develop a tool to focus on the inner voice. Pretty much like Headphones to cancel the noise outside and tune into our song.
First of all, let’s focus on what we mean by the inner voice. Well, the inner voice could be an intuition, instinct, or a call from within which provokes us to take a certain decision or act on something. It could be as simple as a thought. Many of us feel intuition is just a random thought and ignore it quite often. However, research has identified that intuition is not, in most cases, based on nothing as we often allow ourselves to believe-which we do because we so often fail to perceive the complex machinery functioning beneath the surface that brought us to it.
But that machinery does function—in fact, it’s only because it functions so quickly and so well that we doubt it functions at all. But if we stop to reflect, to trace back over what was said, what we thought about it, and how felt about what we thought (a surprisingly difficult thing to do well), we find it is often possible to unearth the pathway by which we arrived at our intuitive reaction, to identify the concrete reasons why we hesitated to make a decision that on the surface seemed a good one.
This is absolutely true and I have validated it in my own life. For years I used to think I’m just a social person. I love talking and listening to people and it is because I just want to be nice. But from within, there was always a voice to consider those characteristics as my strength and cultivate to build a career. I kind of ignored this thought and went on to pursue a career that was more popular and chosen by most of my friends. After years of provocation, I decided to pay attention to that inner voice and consulted a Coach. The entire coaching journey helped me to transform myself and helped me to choose a career that aligns with my strength. And that’s how I decided to adopt coaching as my career and add value to my life. It is much more fulfilling when I hear myself and act in my own voice!
Inner Voice: Barriers
Author Alex Lickerman mentioned some of the below-listed barriers to listening to our inner voice.
- An instinct is just that: a hunch, an impression, by definition lacking in concrete evidence. It seems unfair to rely on something so indistinct when making important decisions.
- We inherently mistrust ideas without evidence to support them. We want to be right when making important decisions and we’re best able to convince ourselves of our rightness when we can trace our argument from beginning to end without interruption and with a clear understanding of every step.
- We’re easily swayed by the opinions of others that contradict our instincts, especially if concrete evidence exists to contradict them. This, even knowing as most of us do that facts and figures about past performance are often flawed indicators of future performance.
How to Break the Barriers?
Deepak Chopra has rightly mentioned that Listening to your inner voice is like training a new muscle. It won’t happen overnight, but if you make a consistent effort to hone it, the stronger it will become—like a tuner tuning into the right frequency.
How wonderful would it be if we create a tool for ourselves that helps us to connect to our voice? I call this tool ‘Noise canceling headphones’.
Imagine you are wearing noise-canceling headphones and just tuning into your own song. Does that feel nice? In the same way, if you just tune into yourself and focus on your inner voice, wouldn’t you get more clarity and answers to your questions?
Most of our questions can be answered on our own. The deeper connection we have with ourselves, the more clarity can be achieved. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you can build these noise-canceling headphones and listen to your own song? I call these inner headphones.
So How Do We Build These Inner Headphones? It’s Simple and Easy…
Some essential elements build the headphone.
Silence – Pause for some time, take a break, meditate, or just take a few deep breaths to just focus on yourself. Sometimes we are so distracted by the world outside and paying attention to our thoughts is very difficult.
Listen – Not just to your mental reservations but to your body as well. Discomfort with a decision often manifests as physical symptoms such as nausea, insomnia, and agitation. You may easily miss these as signs that you’re uncomfortable with the decision you’ve made or are about to make, but if you pay attention you’ll likely find you have the same physical reactions to ignoring your inner voice time after time.
Space – Create a space for yourself. It is good to set some 10 minutes with yourself and talk about it out loud. You would gain more clarity about your thoughts and decisions. In that space, tune your mind to focus on your voice and distract yourself from the outer voice.
The above elements are within us but then also it gets very difficult to create such beautiful tools for us. In my experience coaching helps to create that inner headphone for us.
Coaching is such a device that can help you create your own space, gets your inner self closer to you, and eliminates the outer distraction.
Most of the time we are receiving information through social media, books, friends, and families. The noise outside is so loud that it is difficult to hear ourselves. We can cancel that noise by talking out loud about our worries, problems, queries, and concerns.
Coaching helps to create such a powerful space for us. The more we open ourselves to that space, the more clarity we gain. The more answers we get to our queries.
Here are some examples from my own life – I had too many distractions in my life – Baby, office work, housework, and social life. Most of the distraction was from Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These were creating noise and took me completely away from myself. But there was always a quest from within, I was seeking something else. Something that can give me happiness, peace, and a sense of achievement. Coaching helped me to connect with myself and it was that noise-canceling headphones for me. I could tune more and more to my voice (the quest, problems, and concerns). It showed me the path to self-awareness. And this is how I learned that it is so important to block yourself from the outer noise. I could hear such tiny things about myself that I never paid attention to. It made me happier and much more peaceful.
Why You Should-And How to-Listen to Your Inner Voice | Chopra
Do You Have an Inner Voice? Not Everyone Does | HowStuffWorks
Listening To Your Inner Voice | Psychology Today