I constantly hear folks say things like “I tell myself it shouldn’t matter…” or “I told myself that wasn’t the best way to respond…” Very rarely, however, do I hear folks say “I listened to myself…” We’re wonderful “shoulders” ready, able and willing to beat ourselves up all day long for what we should or shouldn’t be doing or have done, great advice we ignored, how we botched a conversation, event or what-have-you. We’re not such wonderful listeners, skillfully tuning into our senses or inner dialogue in an honoring, supportive manner.
I invite you to break this pattern. Take a moment, right now, to draw in a slow, deep breath. Exhale and really sink into your body. Feel your posture, the weight of your body in its chair. Notice any sensations that may arise. Don’t try to change them or judge them as good or bad. Just become aware of them. Then say (either aloud or in your mind) “If I were to honor myself fully right this moment I would…” and allow the sentence to complete itself with whatever arises. What arises need not be logical (or “good” or “bad”). Don’t second guess. Simply allow the sentence to complete itself. If it remains incomplete, no problem, just repeat the process. Eventually something will arise.
Now—here’s the radical part—allow that sentence to be enacted, if at all possible (or strongly consider the message if action is inappropriate). Need to sit up straighter? Leave the office and walk around the building a time or two? Spend a moment stretching? Call a loved one? Love yourself? Get a drink of water? Cackle incoherently? Quit your job? End a failing relationship?
I have no idea what you need to do. Or what the consequences would be for honoring your inner voice. But I’m very confident that you do or that you will find out. If only you’ll take the time (and risk) to listen.
Bryan Dieterich, MA, LPC