How to Listen to Your Inner Voice

a girl laying in the grass blowing on a dandelion, the girl is me, header image for blog post

You’d honestly think it’s simple to listen to your inner voice. It’s yours, is it not? But it’s not that easy, especially when we are hearing a million other voices a day. External voices that are telling us,

“You’re not good enough.” “Just get a job, any job, you don’t have to like it!” “It’s your responsibility!” Voices comparing you to your friends, other family members, or to themselves expecting you to check off the societal norms to-do list. 

So how does one start to listen to their inner voice?

You do it by starting to look inward and asking yourself some questions to start.

Questions to Ask...

Regarding Your Job/Career

  • How does the commute feel? 

    • Do I like my commute? 

    • Is it long? 

    • Is it durable? 

    • Do I feel energized going into work, ready to get started? 

      • Or do I feel miserable about it? 

  • Did I try to do something differently? 

    • Change up my morning routine?

    • Add a hobby or activity during lunch or after work?

    • Change up the space I work at?

  • If you change something, what was it?

    • How did it make you feel?

    • Did it change you?

    • Did things feel better? Even if for a moment.

  • Is it possible for me to have a life outside of my work, or does the stress and everything I do for my work consume me?
  • Is this what I went to school for? (If you went to higher education).

    • Do I like it? 

    • Do I want this?

    • Or am I doing this because my parents or someone else wanted me to?

    • Do I like office jobs?

    • Describe your job in detail and ask if you like each detail about it.

      • Make a pros and cons list.

    • Am I an introvert?

      • Or am I an extrovert?

    • Do I want to be around people more?

      • Or do I want more of my own space?

    • Am I doing something that I feel is bringing value or purpose?

    • Am I energized by what I do?

  • What are the people like at my job?

    • Do I like my boss?

    • Do I think my boss likes me?

    • Do I feel comfortable around the people that I work with?

    • Is the team shallow or supportive?

    • Am I having countless problems with someone?

      • If so, how many times did I try to resolve it?

      • Did anything change? Their behavior, your boss stepped in instead?

      • How long has this been going on? Is it new or something that’s been going on too long?

      • Are you at your last straw?

  • Do I want to get a new job?

  • What would I do if I left this place?

  • Is there another way for me to make money?

  • If there is a new place I want to go, where is it?

    • What’s so great about it?

    • What do I have to do to get to this new place I want to go? Remember, “It doesn’t have to be easy, it just has to be possible.” 

    • Will it be worth it? 

    • How much do I want this?

    • Why do I want this? 

    • What is the difference between the place you’re at now and the place you want to go?

  • What does your brain say?

    • What stories are you telling yourself? The brain chatter going on right now? 

  • What does your heart say?

  • What does your gut say?

  • Who am I listening to around me, externally? 

    • Is someone telling me that I’m not good enough?

  • List all the accomplishments I’ve had up until this point. Big and small. 

    • Work accomplishments?

    • Personal accomplishments?

  • What is my favorite thing about this job?

    • If I don’t have one currently, but did, what was it?

  • What is something I dislike or hate about this job?

  • Do I have more likes or dislikes about this job?

  • What was my favorite responsibility for this job?

  • What was my least favorite responsibility for this job?

  • What do I wish this job was more like?

Regarding My Passion or Purpose in Life

  • What’re my interests?

  • Is there anything I’d be interested in trying that I haven’t done yet? If so, what is it?

    • Where can I try this?

  •  What’re my values?

  • What are some internal things I love about myself? (Internal as in, I’m great at multitasking. I’m a great listener. etc.)

  • What do people come to me for? 

  • What am I good at?

  • What are my absolute favorite things to do?

  • What do I think the world needs?

  • What do I want to give to the world?

  • What do I want to give to myself?

  • What excites me?

  • What can I do for hours and hours and forget about everything?

  • What hardships am I willing to deal with?

    • Criticism?

    • Negativity?

    • Late nights?

    • Sacrifice?

    • No one believing or supporting me?

    • Doubting myself?
  • What can’t I live without?

  • What can I live without?

  • What interests of mine do I know I absolutely do not want to turn into a career? 

    • Because I know I’m going to hate it when I’m being forced to do it at a certain time? Or even all the time?

  • What is something I’m good at, but absolutely can’t stand doing?

  • What are my goals?

  • What are my intentions?

    • Do I have good intentions? For myself and my future?

    • Or do I have bad intentions? Are they shallow?

  • If I look at this from a higher perspective and heard a person asking for what I’m asking for, what would I think about them?

    • Would I give them what they want?

    • What is it that I want?

    • Or would I give them what they need?

    • What do I think I need?

  • What are some things I really need to hear right now?

  • What do I want right now?

  • What do I need right now?

  • What does your brain say?

    • What stories are you telling yourself? The brain chatter going on right now? 

  • What does your heart say?
  • What does your gut say?

  • Who am I listening to around me, externally? 

    • Is someone telling me that I’m not good enough?

  • List all the accomplishments I’ve had up until this point. Big and small. 

  • What are your expectations for yourself?

  • What are your fears?

    • Do you fear action more or inaction?

  • If I don’t do this one thing I really want to do, where will I be 1 year from now?

    • Where will I be 3 years from now?

    • 5 years from now?

    • 10 years from now?

  • What would happen if you did act on this one thing?

    • What are the possibilities?

    • What are the fears?

    • Would I lose anything?

    • What would I gain?

  • What advice would I give to someone else?

    • Is it something I need to listen to?

    • If so, then why am I not listening to it?

  • What are my regrets?

  • What don’t you want to regret?

Data = Results

The only way to get results is by studying the data. That means answering any of the questions that pertain to you, honestly. The first thing that pops into your mind. You don’t have to write it down, just have an honest conversation with yourself.

No one will judge you, but you might judge yourself. The scariest thing is never external expectations, but rather, the expectations you have for yourself. 

Once you cross that bridge of fear of letting yourself down and being honest with yourself, can you truly start to compile the data to get the results. 

The results won’t always be so clear. You may have to try a few new things to see how you feel about each, but you should never give up. Any action that has the right intention behind it, is better than any inaction. It doesn’t matter how small your step is, it just has to start. Done is better than perfect.

After you’ve tried multiple different things, or you already have your answers, the results should be clearer. If they’re not, and you’re still unsure, walk away from the problem and give it some time. Maybe you’re focusing on it a little too much. Coming back the next day, a week from now, or a month or so from now could give you a whole new perspective. Whichever it is, it will get you closer to the results. Things will just click. 

rainer maria rilke quote on being patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and loving the questions now

DISCLOSURE: Your inner voice should come from a voice of responsibility. It should be a way to be responsible for ourselves. You can have an inner voice that tells you to lounge around, do nothing, hurt others or yourself, but the difference is to know which inner voice is the one to listen to or not. Therefore, remember which of the inner voices you listen to is the one that's going to be responsible for your life. Listening to your inner voice should not harm you or anyone else.

To Sum Things Up,

Life ebbs and flows, it’s never linear. We will never fully know what we’re doing, or what we want. We just have to find something close enough and run with it. If it turns out we got it wrong, who cares? Try it again and again until you find the right one.

If you care too much about what you’re doing, ask why yourself, “Why do I care? Is it more about how people perceive me, or how I perceive myself?” If it’s about you, then that’s even more reason to start listening to your inner voice. 

Be on the lookout for a future post with inner voice mantras and affirmations to tell yourself in help of accepting yourself and your inner voice. It’s always scary at first. What it’s telling you, and not what everyone else is saying. It’s never too late to start, never too late to change your mind, it’s never too late to start listening.

Some Other Resources

[Storytime] I left my 9-5, this is why I did it.

There’s a scene that keeps replaying in my head when I think about this particular place. 

left my 9-5 graphic just a break between text symbolizing there's a story up ahead

This lady, that I’ve had multiple problems with in the past, she’s kind … when she wants to be. I was as nice and respectful to her as possible, but I don’t give two shits about seniority if you're trying to be an ass and then hide behind it. I will be respectful until you give me a reason not to be. 

If you’re human, treat me as you want to be treated. Well, this lady was two-faced. First, it was minor occurrences, taking me away from my actual job and tasks, then it turned into outright disrespect. Invading my space and thinking she could get away with it because she’s older than me and had a higher “position” than me. I'm not one to burn bridges, but we didn't work together. We weren't in the same department, but yet she had it out for me and to see me fail.

Dear female executives, why tear other females down? What do you get out of it?

I've had some amazing female mentors that were high in ranks in other businesses, but I've had my fair share of those who tear other females down and I just don't understand why.

Seniority is a stigma of gatekeeping and supremacy, and in the last year or so we've been trying to dismantle that, haven't we? It's an outdated practice. They’re not helping anyone, they’re just hurting people, mainly hurting females and other minorities in the workforce. I saw males getting away with everything under the sun and moon, but people coming down on me, the female. It's utter bullshit.

Anyways, when I first came on board I loved the place! I bent over backward for the company because I loved the people I was surrounded by. I loved my work, and I felt energized by it. But as soon as management started to change, so did the atmosphere.

It felt like many people were walking on constant eggshells and becoming two-faced. It's super possible to be respectful and courteous of a person without seeming two-faced, but I've come to learn a lot of people we consider "adults" don't really have the wisdom or skills to be one.

So, I started to hate my work, hate my commute, and just hate everything about the job and situation. It was a good thing I was on a contract because I had a specific end date, and I knew that was it. Before then, I didn’t think so, I thought I wanted to stay on longer. 

But after I started to realize a few key details:

  • I was coming in late more frequently

  • Things were not progressing

  • I hated my commute

  • Hated everything surrounding this job 

  • And hated myself along with it

  • My lower back hurt so much to the point doctors didn’t know what to do with it, they said I was healthy but I was in dire pain. My brain basically gave me a reason to hate my job even more. It's one of those, "You can wish yourself to be sick" type of moments. And because of how depleted I was, my physical body took a toll also. 

I hated the way I looked, the way I dressed, I didn’t put in any effort at all anymore. My doctors were putting me through physical therapy, but it turned out the pain was more mental than anything physical. Therefore, I knew this would not change no matter what happened, and the only thing I could do was make a change myself. To do that, I had to listen to my inner voice. 

The inner voice that helped me drop out of college originally and take the heat from my immigrant parents. The inner voice that got me through 5 years of just working, partying, living my life, and self-discovering myself as a person. The inner voice that led me back to higher education for herself and not for anyone else. The inner voice that helped her finish her degree in 2 years not 4 because her inner voice told her she was that capable. 

I followed THAT inner voice.

That inner voice was telling me, “End things on a good note. Send them a thank you gift and thank you card. Keep in touch once in a blue moon. But that’s it, this is truly the end of this chapter in your life. You had some good times, but you’re not growing anymore. There’s other shit out there, better shit is waiting for you.”

So I ended things on a good note as much as I possibly could. It was hard because of that lady, I mentioned earlier, as well as some other instances. I worked one last big job for them. I finished some big-ass projects for them, some of which drove me up the wall. Thankfully, I got thanked for it so there was a bright side. I sent them a thank you gift, and it finally felt like I was free. It finally felt like my chapter was ending.

But the story doesn’t end there. In the beginning, I said, “There’s a scene that keeps replaying in my head when I think about this particular place.”

In the last job I worked for the company, I decided to apologize to that lady, be the bigger person and all since I was leaving. This lady accepts my apology, smiles, and says, “You’ll be back.” I smiled back, as the sun hit my face just right, I slightly squinted, and said cheerily, “No I won’t.”

One year later and I can say without a doubt, I made the best decision of my life that day. I started to walk along a new direction. My direction. The direction of my inner voice. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but me. Many people will not be able to see the physical fruits of my labor until a few years from now, but I’m totally okay with that because it’s not about them. It’s about me.

That being said it took a while before things started to click, but it did because I listened to my needs. I listened to what excited me. I listened to what my heart was saying. And I made the decision to show up for myself. And it’s a constant journey one has to revisit with themselves, from time to time, but it’s worth it if I’m happier. 

A question for you.

Did you know that saying, “Fuck it,” could potentially motivate you more than saying, “I got this.” It’s because with, “Fuck it,” you’re accepting, whatever happens, happens. Going with the flow. Rolling with the punches. So next time you’re unsure about doing something, just say, “Fuck it.”

In the comment section below answer any or all of the following:

  • What is something I say to myself that makes me feel good?

  • What is something I need to rant about right now?

  • What question do I want to be asked?

  • Was there a time in my life where I felt stuck or unsure of what I was doing, if so what was it? 

  • How well do I know my inner voice? Have I been listening or distracting myself?

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Till next time!


how to listen to your inner voice