When the Inner Voice Speaks Another Language

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice by on April 1, 2011 • views: 408

I saw a beautiful picture online recently accompanied by a very intriguing few paragraphs about “the voice inside.” (Check it out here.) The speaker, a fine photographer who goes by “ilina s,” wrote about how difficult it is sometimes to hear the inner voice.

“I don’t know for sure, but perhaps there might be something inside all of us that gives us feedback about whether we’re moving in the right direction in life or not. An internal voice that we have access to at all times, and yet sometimes it feels like this voice speaks in another language. You can hear the basic emotion behind it, but can’t understand the words.”

How is it that something so close to us can seem so far away? Many people have theorized about it. Some think we have too many distractions these days, from televisions, computers, smart phones, books, newspapers, and more, and that all the “noise” keeps us from hearing our own voices. Others say that we lack the sense of calm we need, as intense emotions like anger, depression, and sometimes even elation tend to silence the inner voice.

“Inner wisdom needs an open, quiet space to emerge,” writes personal coach Tara Sophia Mohr. “Problem is, our minds aren’t usually a quiet, open space.”

Still others believe the answer lies in our physical health, for if the body is suffering from illness, substance abuse, obesity, or even just lack of sleep, the mind becomes muddled and slips into survival mode, neglecting the deeper part of the self. Some believe it’s the ego that gets in the way—that constant desire for self importance that influences so much of what we do on a daily basis. After all, if the inner voice is prodding us to quit a lucrative job to take a lower-paying position as a zoo keeper, the ego can keep us from following that voice by asking, “What would the neighbors think?” Mohr writes that our own personal beliefs can come into play. In other words, if you don’t believe you have the talent to make it as a comedian, you won’t be able to listen to the promptings of the inner voice when it suggests you perform for your local comedy club.

Our society doesn’t really raise us to listen to ourselves, either. From a young age we are taught to do what our parents tell us, then what our teachers tell us, and along the way we learn to do what our friends tell us (if we want to belong), and then from the media we learn how to dress and how to act, and then if we go on to college we learn how to think (as few classes encourage true independent thinking), and at our jobs we learn how to function so we get paid, and on and on until our ability to adapt to what others need us to do becomes much more honed and sharpened than our ability to do what we want to do.

All these influences can take us miles and miles away from that little voice inside, until it sounds faint, jumbled, and even foreign. What to do then?

There are many answers to that question, and I’ll continue to explore them in future posts, but for today, I’ll close with this beautiful thought from ilina:

“I guess this is it. When something makes you feel alive, it’s good. When something makes you feel dead inside, it’s wrong. It might not always make sense. The voice of reason might be advising you otherwise… But maybe the voice of reason is someone else’s voice.”

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