The Little Voice in Your Head
At times in life you come to a crossroads. You have to make a key decision, and you feel conflicted. You’ve made a pros/cons list, you’ve asked a close friend for advice, and you’re still stuck.
Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that there’s no way to split the difference. You simply have to decide between two competing choices.
This is where many people turn to intuition, or what we might call the little voice in your head. You know yourself better than anyone else ever could, right? You are powerful, the answer lies within, etc.
Which is all fine and well. But there’s also a problem!
Intuition is sometimes wrong. The voice in your head can lead you astray.
Consider two arguments for resolving a conflict where you aren’t sure what to do:
- You know yourself best. Trust your intuition, and trust yourself.
- You can’t always ‘go with your gut.’ Sometimes the thing you’re afraid of is exactly the thing you should do.
It’s easy to make a case for either argument!
This, then, is the challenge: to know when to listen to that inner voice, and when to ignore it.
When to Listen and When to Ignore
There are times when you should strategically ignore the voice in your head. When the voice is saying you aren’t good enough, for example. When it excuses the harm that someone else has caused. When it holds you back from something difficult that will ultimately be good for you.
The voice isn’t particularly helpful in those circumstances.
The next time you find yourself stuck between two points, ask yourself this question: is the voice in my head cheering me on or holding me back?
Notice that this question—and perhaps your answer—is a bit different from just listening to the voice. Instead, you want to see where the voice is coming from. Is it for you or against you?
Emotions that hold you back (and are therefore against you) include shame, fear, and insecurity. Emotions that cheer you on (and are for you) include pride, confidence, and joy.
You can also try to unearth any other voices or sources of intuition, to see if they align or conflict with one another.
On the surface, the voice in my head says I should _____. But if I investigate further, I can see that the first response is incorrect. There’s another voice further down with a better idea!
If these things were easy, life itself would be easy. Instead, life is hard, exciting, terrible, and beautiful all at once.
The voice in your head is powerful, but it’s not always right. Sometimes it can guide you along the right path, and other times it can hold you back. Over time and through experience, you gain wisdom and begin to see the difference.
A good life goal is: “To improve the accuracy of the voice in my head, so that I can feel more confident when relying on it.”
Trust yourself always, but don’t be afraid to question the little voice. Sometimes another voice knows better.