baby steps | inner voice(s)
Your inner voices. Call them what you will:
- The voices in your head
- The crazy aunt in the attic (thanks to Geneen Roth for that)
- Your itty-bitty sh!tty committee
We all have inner voices that speak to us. In fact, we all have conversations with those inner voices all. the. time. (Eckhart Tolle says that the people we deem “crazy” are simply the ones who have these conversations out loud.)
inner voices as intuition
Frequently, our inner voices are our intuition speaking.
“Oh, I’m not intuitive,” I hear from a lot of clients and workshop participants.
Oh, but you are, and I’ll prove it to you.
Consider this scenario: it’s a blazingly hot and unbelievably humid day. You’ve come to my house, and wouldn’t you know it, the A/C is broken. We’ll be sitting outside in the sun (I haven’t gotten around to deck furniture yet—that’s next year’s budget.)
- What happens if I offer you hot soup? You may subscribe to the theory that eating hot food will make you sweat and cool you down, but I’m betting that you backed away. You may even have put up your hands to fend me off or even made the sign of the cross at me as if I’m a vampire.
- What happens if I offer you ice cream? You may have sensitive teeth and lean away, but I’m betting that you leaned in eagerly and put out your hand.
That’s your intuition.
- Leaning in = a sacred yes.
- Leaning away = a hell no.
So yes—you’re intuitive whether you leaned in or backed away (remember bio-individuality?).
And I’ll bet that you have this reaction many times a day. In most cases, you just ignore it or you shove it away.
the 2×4 ministry
Our bodies also have a voice: they send us messages all the time. And we usually ignore those, too.
I work with a lot of women in peri-menopause, and they are perhaps the best example of what happens when we continually ignore our bodies’ attempts to get our attention.
“Why does this stage of life have to be so miserable?”
Well, it doesn’t. As Christiane Northrup writes, you’ve been menstruating for around 30–40 years by now. And every month, your body whispers, “Hey, you know what I want today? I want to skip that workout / eat a few more carbs / take a nap with a hot water bottle.”
That’s what PMS is—your body’s inner voice asking for a little more TLC a few days out of the month.
And every month, you tell her, “Shut up! We have to work / achieve / push through!”
Come the end of your fertile years, your body is desperate. You STILL haven’t learned to take care of her. So now she starts to scream at you.
“Cramps not enough to get your attention? How about I make them worse. Headaches not enough? I can turn up that knob as well. Moodiness not enough? I’m going to turn you into a raging maniac! Oh, and all those naps you skipped? Let’s see how you do when I add insomnia into the mix.”
In the worst cases, your body will realize that even screaming isn’t enough: you need to be hit over the head with a 2×4 before you pay attention to her. And she’s going to oblige.
The same thing happens when we’re under chronic stress: we ignore those subtle pokes from our inner voices, and we push through. Stress becomes overwhelm; overwhelm becomes burnout. The 2×4 ministry takes effect.
pay attention to your inner voices
This month’s challenge is to start paying attention to your inner voices—and even engaging them in a productive conversation.
- Start noticing when you sway toward something (like a nap). Do you give in or shove it away?
- Start noticing when you lean away from something (like one more commitment.) Do you refuse it or let it sneak onto your daytimer anyway?
I know—there are a lot of examples you can give me. Reasons why you cannot possibly give your inner voices the run of show.
For starters, simply reflect on these moments. You may even want to jot them down.
Then get curious: is there a way you can honor what your inner voice is requesting?
- Can you take a quick nap, then work a little more at the end of the day?
- Can you say no to one more commitment by offering a compromise?
You may be surprised at how good it feels to let your inner voice be heard and get what it wants!
make the connection
This is the ninth challenge in a 12-part series that will run for all of 2022: every month, I’ll share a small, simple, sustainable shift to make on your way to healthier food and lifestyle choices. By the end of the year, you’ll be amazed at the difference in your health!
“A YEAR?!? But that’s so long,” you may be thinking. Remember: a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.
Let me ask you this: how long have you been making poor food and lifestyle choices? I’ll bet it’s been more than a year, maybe even more than a decade….
And those poor choices have resulted in poor health.
The good news is that you can reverse the downward trend by making better choices, and the only way those will stick is if you make them one baby step at a time.
Practice chatting with your inner voices for the month of September and beyond—then come back for October’s Baby Step to Health! Want to make sure you don’t miss a single challenge? Join my email list.