When you have a decision to make, or you put yourself out there in some way, and you can't quite make the leap or get there on your own━maybe you're afraid to make a mistake, the unknown feels too risky, that you might look foolish, or you want some kind of approval or validation━how do you get clarity or find support? Who do you go to for help?
Many of us look to those we respect or care about━family, friends, mentors, etc.━but what if what they tell you doesn't ring true for you? What if you find yourself angry? What if you suddenly know they're wrong, and you're right? They probably mean well, but clearly, they didn't get it. They don't get "you" or what you want to undertake or achieve.
Do you consider their input, take their advice, or just go for it anyway?
"I hear the voices..."
Maybe you don't want anyone else's opinion... but there's still another voice that factors in━the ghosts of people and situations past. Those voices in our head (and not the "I hear the voices..." type) that influence our decisions: our parents, teachers, previous bosses, or a myriad of others who in some way influenced us or got under our skin (and into our psyches). These often evolve into our inner critic, the voice I sometimes call my "inner mean girl" when the voice tells me I'm an idiot, or that my ideas have no basis.
These stem from something we heard or experienced in childhood━we took someone's opinion of us, a situation, or our ideas, and gave it meaning. We carry these 'stories' with us━usually always negative━unless we actively work to reprogram our self talk.
The voices of others, and those in our heads, can be looked at as information. We can choose whether or not to give them deeper meaning. They help us shape our thinking━we can decide if what they say makes sense, or if it doesn't fit with what we think or believe.
Opinions are just that; if it's an informed opinion expressed by someone who's been where you want to go or done what you want to do, take what you need and leave the rest. So often, though, it's not informed, and in fact, may be ill-informed and have the potential to be detrimental to your decision-making.
Too often I give the opinions of others or my own repetitive story far too much weight━outweighing my own innate wisdom, my inner intelligence, even my own knowledge.
Check in with your insides...
How do you know when it's not your own true voice, or if someone's opinion isn't in your best interest? Check in with your body. If the voice is in your head and not your gut. If the opinion causes self-doubt but doesn't feel true. If either makes you question your capability.
What do you really want to do? Say? Think? Do that. I hear a clichéd, disingenuous "you do you" but really, that's exactly what you need to do. Do you. Listen to your heart, your guts. That's your soul talking. The part of you that has to live in this world and not regret your time here in the end.
Sure, it's important to consider the impact of your actions on others and on real responsibilities, if there is, indeed, an impact, but that's not what this post is about.
The voices in your head or other's well-meaning opinions may help you make a more informed decision, but they're not the decider. Only you know innately what's best for you.
Your voice━your authentic, gut-level, inner-soul-knowing━is the voice that matters.