Do you find yourself saying “Should” often? I should be doing better in school. I should be finding a job for the summer. I should be thinner. I should be happier. I should be a better friend. I should be a better…fill in the blank.
If we put “should” in front of something we want to change, then it removes any opportunity for choice and inserts a lot of guilt and shame that we aren’t already there. We are “shoulding” all over ourselves and our lives, making a big mess. Once we can clear the “should” out, we can begin to find our own path instead of following the path others want for us.
Once the “should” is out of the way, we can see what we really want, what will make us happy. Our own path may contradict the norm, in fact I can almost guarantee it. It takes extra courage and strength to follow your own path, to buck the system. It may not make the family thrilled, it will likely be questioned by those around you, but you are the one who is living your life, not anyone else. It is up to you to follow your own true path, and make you truly happy.
The best way to find that path is to listen to your inner wisdom, that quiet voice inside that knows your deepest desires and knows what’s best for you. You may call that voice your gut, your intuition, your soul, Spirit, God, Goddess, or the divine within. Whatever you may call it, it is important to listen to that voice. For the purposes of this article, I will refer to it as intuition. Our intuition is speaking to us all the time, but we may not always be listening.
So how do begin to listen? Well, first we need to learn why we don’t. In this society, we are taught to ignore our intuition because it’s just a feeling. It’s not reliable to make decisions. We are told to rely only on our logic and the physical evidence. However, intuition is more than a feeling. It takes in additional information beyond what our logical minds absorb. It reads the energy and mood of a situation. It taps into something bigger than ourselves to guide us in the direction we need to go. Even if it is counter to our logic, we need to practice trusting our intuition and moving forward from that space.
There are many strategies to listen to the inner wisdom. Listening to your intuition requires a sense of silence, a few moments where the committee (the chatter in your mind) is quieted enough for the intuition to be heard. You may already have a few you use: journaling, meditating, prayer, or yoga.
Here is a suggestion that I use all the time. In order to quiet the committee, I take at least 3 long deep breaths. Sometime more if the committee is extra chatty. In that quiet moment, I ask my intuition one of two questions, “What is in my best interest?” if I need to make a choice or “What do I need to know right now?” when I am experiencing a lot of drama or confusion in my life. Sometimes it helps to write down the question and then write whatever answer arises. Whatever strategy you use to listen and follow your true path, do it and do it often.
Once I began to trust my intuition and listen to it more closely, I have found myself to be happier and more fulfilled in life. It requires courage and strength to go out on your own, but the satisfaction from making your own decisions and following your heart is priceless.