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How to Hear Your Inner Wisdom When Making Tough Choices

Meditating

“Everyone who wills can hear their inner voice. It is within everyone.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Do you struggle with listening to your inner voice? Do you doubt yourself and every inner signal you get? You’re not alone.

A decade ago, I didn’t know that I could follow my heart. I’d never heard of the concept inner wisdom, or inner voice.

I started following my interests and doing what made me feel good, and this is the essence of doing what you love and listening to that subtle voice inside of you.

The problems start when we listen too much to outside sources.

We start to think that we’re doing it wrong. I went through one of these periods myself. Looking back, I see that while it was a period of struggle, it also helped me go deeper into what worked for me.

What is Inner Wisdom, Anyway?

You may get nudges from your soul by getting inspirational thoughts. It may be an unexplainable feeling that gets you into action. Or you may see an image in your mind.

My inner wisdom is a blend of all of the above. But more often than not, it communicates through feeling.

I like to say that it’s like I have cat whiskers all over my body. I feel my way through life.

I still misinterpret the messages I get. Sometimes I follow fear. Sometimes I give into resistance. I’ve learned to be okay with that.

This doesn’t have to be serious. You can play and experiment; see what messages you get.

How to Listen to Your Inner Wisdom

With that said, let’s look at how to connect to your inner wisdom.

1. Calm down.

When my mind is calm, the connection to my inner wisdom is the strongest.

When my mind is in turmoil, I try not to make any decisions, because I don’t have access to my cat whiskers.

If I’m in a negative state, I might go for a walk, wash the dishes, or meditate. I don’t necessarily try to get rid of the negativity, but I simply stop what I’m doing and take a break.

When you take a time out, gradually your calm will return along with the connection to your wisdom.

2. Stop trying.

I’m good at bullying life into place. I want to figure it all out. I want to force results, and I want to have achieved my goals last year.

But I’ve noticed that the more I try to push, the more slowly things go. It’s like getting stuck in quicksand. If I try to dig my way out, I only sink in deeper. Instead, I have to let myself be pulled out.

This doesn’t mean I become complacent. It means I notice what I have control over and what I don’t.

And it goes back to calming down. When you’re worried about what might go wrong in life and you’re trying to fix an imaginary problem, the connection to your heart is severed.

But once you let go and become aware that you don’t know where life is going, you can relax and peace can return.

3. Be patient.

My inner wisdom shines through when I’m patient. When my partner and I were looking for a house, we knew approximately what we wanted, but we didn’t try to push it.

We were patient. We looked at different options and listened to our hearts. I let days pass because I noticed that the more distance I got, the clearer the signal from my inner wisdom.

The realtor would try to pressure us, but we took our time. We weren’t going to rush into a big decision like buying a house.

One day, we saw a house come on the market. It didn’t look impressive online. We almost dismissed it. Then we went to have a look, and the moment I stepped in the door, my inner voice said yes.

We still didn’t jump on it. We waited a few days to see if the feeling would change. It didn’t. We ended up buying the house, and I’m sitting in a room right now writing this article.

So when you want to get feedback from your inner wisdom, get the feedback over a couple of days or more. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get an answer right now, right here.

Mistake to Avoid

The biggest pitfall I fall into over and over is stressing about whether or not I’m on the right path.

I still worry but less than before. I’ve come to accept that life will take me where I need to go. I can only do my best with what I have.

I don’t have to force myself to do anything. All I can do is listen to the quiet voice within me and see where it takes me.

I don’t know if the struggles I’m going through today are what will help me get to where I need to be.

When you’re honest with yourself, truly honest, you realize that you don’t know what’s going on in life. You don’t have control over it. All you can do is live life to the best of your ability.

What You Need to Remember

When I started reading about living a heart-based life, I thought that if I could just tap into my inner wisdom, my life would be filled with euphoria.

But I’ve since realized that life is filled with life, which means both ups and downs. We see individual events as bad because we isolate them.

However, we don’t know where we’re going or what our path looks like.

I’ve discovered that the more fun I have in life, the smoother the ride goes. I don’t take life too seriously. Meaning, I don’t have to panic when something happens.

In the end, your inner wisdom is always there, just like the sun is behind the clouds on a rainy day, waiting for you to relax.

All you have to do is calm down and pay attention.

Don’t be in a rush. Don’t try too hard.

But have fun, and notice how your inner voice works.

Photo by Sandra Mars

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  • Ruby

    Beautiful. I just began to walk on this path (apparently it doesn’t happen overnight even after you had the big revelation!) and I hope to one day arrive where you are.

  • Sound advice, thank you so much Henri! Prior to being intentional about my self growth and committing to the journey, this I can relate to on all kinds of levels: “When you’re worried about what might go wrong in life and you’re trying to fix an imaginary problem, the connection to your heart is severed.” I would create stress and anxiety from problems that didn’t even exist. I would chase these imaginary problems down rabbit holes creating more problems and pain from nonexistence. It still shows it’s face, but I’ve become more aware of it so am able to put up the road blocks. Love the simplicity in your words. Thanks so much for sharing! #UnlessYouCare

  • Yup, it’s more of a path with one revelation after the other, like peeling a cosmic onion that never ends.

  • Thanks for sharing, Eric! I still have those moments myself. I’m by no means perfect, but I’m improving every day, just like everyone else.

  • Lisa Gardner

    You are me. 😀 Thank you for this. As always, Tiny Buddha gives me exactly what I need to hear exactly when I need to hear it.

  • DE

    Henri well written: after a life changing event almost a year ago, I realized that we have little control over our life, we can do our best ( DO YOUR ” Karma”- means work) and don’t expect or wait for the outcome. Life will offer you what is waiting for you. If it is good enjoy it and if it not so good, accept the challenge, be strong and overcome it and enjoy the life.

  • krutika

    nicely written Henri loved your article .life is full of ups and down i beleive u when something happens to you whether is bad or good you have to be patient sometimes. 🙂

  • Well put. We can’t control our life, but we can control our reactions. Or in other words, we can stay present in this very moment.

    And as the Bhagavad Gita mentions: When you let go of expectations, or the fruits of your labor, you feel peaceful. Not always easy to do, but then again, it’s a practice, not a static end goal.

  • Absolutely. We are quick to judge events, but in reality, we have no idea whether they are good or bad. Just look at some of the bad stuff that has happened to you. If you follow the thread, you’ll notice that they lead to good things.

  • Serendipity at its finest 😉

  • Carolynne Melnyk

    Lovely article! I can really feel your flow through the journey of life. I have been on this path for a long time and I whole heartedly agree with you that when you stop trying to control life and just flow with it, things are smoother. This journey is about experiencing all aspects of life and embracing them. The bad is just as important as the good. There are gems to be found in both.

  • Yes! Thank you, Carolynne 🙂

  • Decisions used to be one of my biggest weaknesses. I would try to gather as much information as I could about the options so I could make the best decision. Unfortunately for me, you can never have enough information because there is an infinite amount. When I finally learnt to let go decisions became easy and intuitive.
    As for worrying about whether or not the path you are on or not, that has also been a big struggle for me. I think what helped me the most is realizing that as much as I wish I was in a different situation I wasn’t, I was here. I had to accept that this is what is real and if I don’t like it I need to do something here to change it, not just wish it was different.
    Great post!

  • “We see individual events as bad because we isolate them.” – this is a new insight for me. Something to process. Thank you for your wisdom!

  • sen

    Hi Henri,

    I was wonder how can you tell when you are fearful or when your inner voice is telling you something?

  • Mahesh Sahu

    Henri, Nice article. Just imagine….what will happen, if there is no sorrow in life. We will not able to feel the true joy. The darkness tells the importance of light.
    I am happy to hear the Bhagvad Gita’s message. The actual message, as it is:

    ” You have right on your works not on results. Submit all the results to God” This is absolute truth.
    Mahesh, India

  • Completely agree with you, Jules. It’s funny how trying to gather enough information prevents us from making the right decisions for us (which is what we want).

  • Thank you for reading!

  • Fear usually constricts me, while my inner voice feels like a subtle opening up, a positive pull. The more you do it, the more you’ll uncover your own process.

  • Fabian Biedermann Huber

    muchas gracias !

  • Ruby

    I find that the hardest time is when I’m in a difficult situation and all I can hear myself saying is, “calm down, wait it out, it’s not time yet.” It’s waiting between intuition breakthroughs (in a way, it feels like my intuition is taking a break from talking, or simply refusing to talk for a period of time, or until something happens) and I’m caught up between frustration and trying to calm down. I’ve learnt from experiences that giving in to frustration is never the answer, and yes the waiting time is usually worth the result, but it’s still one of my biggest struggles. Any wise words on that? 🙂

  • What I do is not give into the frustration, but surrender to the feeling. Whatever is going on in my body, I feel fully. I let it expand. When I resist, it’s like throwing fuel into the fire.

    Another helpful tip is to examine the belief that something needs to happen. Where are you going? Why do you think going there will make you happy? Is it true?

    What I do is grab a journal and start exploring how I create whatever is going on inside me (in your case, frustration). I get to the bottom of it, and I ask: Is it true? What are examples to the contrary? Might my assumptions be wrong?

    Hope this helps!

  • de nada 🙂

  • Beautiful, thank you for sharing! I’ve been really getting for a while now that life is life with its ups and downs and welcoming them all with open arms! Great tips, Love and light 🙂

  • I love this line: “I like to say that it’s like I have cat whiskers all over my body. I feel my way through life.” I’m going to try to start thinking about my experiences that way. I think it helps when you take a step back and really consider how you’re feeling: it gives you a bit of that necessary distance.

  • Yup. Definitely helps when you realize that you are the dance floor, not the dance.

  • Thanks! 🙂

  • jagadish

    I want to know the exact mening of cat whisker pls explain jeniffer

  • Cat whiskers are sense (touch) receptors that help the cat understand and navigate its environment. The implication here is a heightened awareness that allows one to be guided by feeling (perhaps at an intuitive or energy level) rather than being guided by thought.

  • cp

    Why does everything prevent me from taking action on my inner voice. As soon as I move towards taking action it is like a rain storm of pressure and blocks from every direction to destroy my efforts. I’m at the point of just giving up completely believing my higher self loves for me to suffer and struggle.

  • Ahmad Ali Hasan

    yes that looks encouraging thought thanks a lot