We live with so many voices in our heads. They are voices of people who we know and trust – family, caregivers, teachers, friends, co-workers and bosses. And there are real and imagined voices of people we don’t know or like, and intellectually we know we shouldn’t pay them any attention. These are voices of the media, our work nemesis or even that person in the supermarket who we thought looked at us funny.
People often ask me about tools and techniques to help them connect with and hear their own authentic voice versus the cacophony of others. When the advice and guidance from others gets in the way of a decision you’re trying to make or a situation you desperately need to change, intentional reflection and conscious choice are tremendous tools to enhance your level of self-awareness. Many wouldn’t even recognize their own voice among the others, so the first step is tuning into your core essence, unique your reason for being.
The five steps below will provide the clarity and strength to move you toward a real relationship with your core essence – your authentic self. Using intentional reflection and conscious choice together, consistently, will result in transformational change.
This process comes right from my book LIES That Limit and it will do the trick. It always work for me.
1. Look within and analyze the situation you’ve decided to change. Consider your contribution to your current condition. Become familiar with the places in your mind where you are split, in discord. Your mind may say one thing and your emotions another. Take a relationship that just feels over. I had one of those. There were no objective, logical reasons for it not to work. Yet, in my heart, I was simply finished with it. My logical mind kept showing me all the reasons why I should stay involved. Plus I could imagine what others would say about me ending this stable relationship. Things like, “He’s a good man.” “You’re being too critical – expecting too much.” “Do you really want to be back out there?” Yet, emotionally, I was clear, I had to call it quits. To end the war that raged in me, I worked to resolve my guilt and silence the shoulds and ought to’s in my head.
2. Reflect on the content of your mind and emotions. Notice what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling and what you’re saying to yourself and to others. Look, sense and listen for the LIES – the Labels, Illusions, Excuses and Stories – that are playing out in your thoughts, feelings, conversations and ultimately your actions. The resulting circumstances of your life give good hints about the content and conflict of your mind and emotions.
3. Make conscious choices. Understand your full range of options. Look for ways to expand the spectrum of possibilities. When you get your thoughts and feelings – your energy and attitude – in sync with your goal and intentions, solutions and opportunities will show up. That’s the way the universe works.
4. Test the sincerity and credibility of your commitment. Are you fully committed to the choice you’ve made? Or, does the goal just sound like a good idea, or seem like something you should do because others think it’s right for you? Is there alignment between your stated goal or intention and your real thoughts, feelings and beliefs? Do all of your conversations – the ones you think and the ones you articulate – match your goals? If so, your energy, intentions, head and heart are operating on the same plane. True self-determined commitment starts with congruent thoughts and feelings.
5. Hold yourself accountable for achieving your goal. When you feel yourself working counter to your intention – take full responsibility for getting back on track. Blame no one, not even yourself. There is no need to be self-critical or feel sorry for yourself. If you have a day of failure or forgetting, frustration or fatigue, simply start over. If your commitment is authentic – truly yours and no one else’s — you’ll find new and creative ways to be faithful to your Self and continue moving toward your goal – toward knowing and living a life that is consistent with the deep urgings of your Spirit.
Get to know the real you.