Listen to Your Inner Voice of Wisdom

The key to learning to listen to ourselves is self-acceptance

Posted Mar 13, 2018

One of the most influential entrepreneurs of the last decades was Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011. In an address to students graduating from Stanford University he said:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

The quote from Steve Jobs sums up pretty well what I mean by inner voice.  I don’t mean the relentless mental chatter of self-criticism and rumination that many of us live with, particularly in the small hours of the night.

It is all too easy in the rush of everyday life not to give ourselves the time, solitude and stillness to pay attention to what is genuinely going on inside ourselves; to make sense of the confusion of thoughts, feelings and sensations.

The key to learning to pay attention to what is going on inside ourselves emotionally and psychologically is self-acceptance. Carl Rogers, the renowned humanistic psychologist, said ‘The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.’ 

But many of us spend our lives instead striving for other people’s approval, whether it be our family, friends, work colleagues, or manager. We look for the acceptance of other people.  On the other hand, self-acceptance allows us to slow down, pay attention, and take note of what is going on within us.

If we can free ourselves from our need to seek approval from others, we can more readily learn to listen to our own inner voice of wisdom.  We must learn to trust our own judgement about what matters to us and what direction to take in life.  If we do we are likely to be healthier and happier. 

This is what it means to be authentic in life. Authentic people take responsibility for their choices in life. They know that they are the authors of their own lives.

It is not easy to learn to accept ourselves and to listen to our own wisdom if we are used to doing otherwise, but it is important if we want our lives to be our own. It can take time but today is a good time to start.

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