As I look back on my life, it is easy to see where I made choices that resulted in tough lessons. Hindsight is always perfect. All of the clues that foretold the results of my choices were there and available for me to see each and every time. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have that gift of sight and knowing in the moment when we are making decisions that will affect us so profoundly?
This gift isn’t just wishful thinking. We do have this gift of knowing in the moment. It is provided through the guidance of our inner voices. My problem has not been that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into; my problem was that I chose not to listen.
It seems that I have had to learn to heed my inner voice the hard way. One of my most profound memories of disregarding my inner voice comes from the weeks leading up to my wedding. I felt myself questioning what marriage would mean more and more. I attributed my growing inner uncertainty to nerves. Doesn’t every bride have them? In the days leading up to the wedding day, I couldn’t sleep (in spite of my dad’s sure-to-do-the-trick hot toddies), and I developed a crushing headache that wouldn’t leave me. I persisted with all the plans and events. After all, guests were arriving from out of town. The process was in motion, and it had to be completed, didn’t it? The headache and lack of sleep continued. Because of the debilitating pain in my head, I couldn’t stay late at my own wedding dance. Where was the excitement and anticipation of beginning my life with the man I loved?
Eleven years later, after I escaped the increasing insanity of our marriage, I remember a crisis counselor telling me, “You knew. You knew, and you didn’t listen.” All the questions that rose within me were signs. My increasing uncertainty was a sign. When that didn’t work, my body tried to tell me with physical symptoms… and still, I didn’t take heed. I made my choice and had to deal with the consequences of that choice. Lesson learned… or so it should have been.
I would like to be able to say that I learned my lesson from that painful experience, but I can’t. It seems that I have to learn things the hard way. When I made arrangements to leave my teaching position, my friends and support network, and my community to join with my now ex-partner in his family business, I received numerous signals from my inner voice that I was going the wrong way in my life. I attributed these signals to the stress of moving. It amazes me how skilled I am at making excuses for not heeding what my inner self knows to be true. I would become increasingly anxious as I drove out to his place to be with him. Did I pay attention to what the cause of this anxiety might be? No… I just stuffed it down. Each time I drove out, I remember taking a deep breath as I turned into the yard. Did I pay attention to the fact that I was mentally preparing myself for time together? No. From the early stages in our relationship, he pressured me to choose him over my children. Even though that didn’t sit right within me, I allowed it to continue, believing it was because he had suffered such hurt as a child and that my love and nurturing would help heal him. When he raged at me because I hadn’t done something the way he wanted it done, I told myself it was because he was stressed out due to the demands of the time of year. When he turned on me in alcohol-fueled rages, I withdrew from the venomous onslaught and then forgave him again and again as he told me how sorry he was and promised that it would never happen again. All the while, I kept overriding all that I knew wasn’t right with the belief that I could love him better.
I realize now that I was on an ego trip with that relationship. Yes, I experienced hurt that cut me to my knees, and still, I believed that I could love him better… and it is only now that I can finally see that I was caught up in believing that I could be such an amazing person and such a source of unconditional love in his life that I… I… could love him better. Note that the emphasis was on the I. Even after I finally realized that the only way that I could survive was by leaving him, I struggled with my belief that love can heal. I experienced disillusionment over what I perceived as the failure of love to heal. I was lost in my own perceptions. Love CAN and does heal. The problem was that I was caught up in the “I” that would love him better. By ignoring the wisdom of my inner voice, I became caught up in a maelstrom of my own making. All I did in my belief that I could love him better was enable him. I knew within me that what he did to me and to my children wasn’t right, but I persisted in my belief that I… emphasis on the I… could love him better. I see now that had more to do with my ego than it did with love. I believed that I was doing the right thing, but I was seeing things through the eyes of ego…. and wouldn’t loving someone better be a feather in my cap??
As I picked myself up and and restarted my life, I had to come to terms with the fact that my inner voice had warned me numerous times and I had ignored and rationalized each and every warning signal. I realized that I had caused all of the hurt I had experienced in my egocentric refusal to listen to the wisdom of my soul.
As I have moved forward with my life, I am learning to pay attention to the messages, ideas, and insights that arise from within me. They come from an inner Source that possesses unlimited wisdom and vision. They come from my soul. As I learn to listen and heed this inner guidance, I realize that it always steers me in the right direction. It has my best interests at heart, and It is wise beyond what my limited ego can possibly conceive. I may not understand the guidance at the time, but I am learning to let go of my need to control and to allow myself to be guided. I realize that I have no idea where my inner voice is leading me, but I am relaxing into the flow, trusting the wisdom of my soul, and looking forward to the step-by-step unveiling.
How do I know this is right for me? I feel no anxiety. I don’t feel like I am forcing myself to continue on a path… no more deep breaths to take the next step. There are no uncertainties, no “have-tos”, no sleepless nights, and no blinding headaches. There is only a true sense of knowing that my inner guidance system will steer me in directions and towards opportunities that will help me to grow and to become ever more of whom I am meant to be. As I look back on the past three years, I recognize the touch of God in my growth and insights. God speaks to us through our souls that are always connected to Him. His guidance and loving wisdom are always here for us… when we choose to listen and heed that still, quiet voice within.
What are your experiences with heeding, and not heeding, your inner voice? Please share them below in Comments. I would love to hear from you and to begin a true conversation about our shared experiences and inner growth.