How to Go Within for Answers
After years of looking for answers in the sources we’ve been taught to trust, our family, friends, the media, and our teachers, finding the truth in our own hearts can seem impossible. The voice of inner wisdom can be very quiet, almost imperceptible. How can it possibly compete with the external environment constantly telling us what we should do!
So it’s a big shift to go within for answers; I get it.
It takes persistence, patience, and a deep desire to know your own truth.
Actually, wanting the truth is the most important first step we can take toward finding our inner wisdom. You see, you have to want it even when you think it might be hard to hear. You have to humble yourself enough to examine the life you’ve been living and the ways you’re treating yourself. You have to accept that things may need to change in ways that are tough. You may even be called on to be your own best friend.
Are you ready for that?
Because your inner wisdom might direct you to leave that relationship that’s not right for you or quit a job that’s not serving your growth. Sensing loneliness and heartache on the horizon could make you want to backpedal and ignore or distrust the truth you’re being asked to explore.
Yeah, so wanting it is key.
For example, a few years ago, I found myself in a long-distance relationship that started off exciting and fun. We traveled a few times to see each other and every encounter was like a holiday. But over time, some issues began to surface that made me uncomfortable. I picked up a small journal and I wrote…
Dear Diary…I’m so confused!
Literally, that’s how I began.
As a child growing up in a home with alcoholism and trauma, writing in my purple, sparkle diary with the lock on the front, I made conversations with myself. That’s how I made it through some pretty tough times. I just wrote it all down so I could see I wasn’t crazy.
So there I was again, at 37, picking up a pen and scribbling through my insecurities, fears, and confusion until I figured out that my long-distance relationship wasn’t going anywhere. Even though I really wanted to be with someone, he just wasn’t right for me. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I wrote about all the contradictions between what I truly desired and what was really happening. Seeing it there in black-and-white, all the things I’d have to give up to continue being with him, I finally broke it off.
While talking to myself on those pages, I saw how I allowed my personal boundaries to be violated and overlooked behavior that was unacceptable for a “healthy” relationship (which I truly longed for). In between, I also had an opportunity to affirm myself, get clear about what I wanted, and care for myself in the process of letting go.
Sometimes, I return to those particular pages and I see so much bravery and honesty. Being with myself through writing, in addition to being with him, helped me make better decisions for my long-term happiness. I discovered an advocate I didn’t know I had.
Now, there are countless ways to invite your inner wisdom to speak to you, because insight follows where you make room and request it. Personally, I’ve come to rely on classic meditation with good success for many years. But when most people first start out trying to go within for answers, using techniques like meditation can seem difficult, boring, and ineffective. You sit for a long time and random thoughts emerge and disappear. Who’s to say what’s wisdom and what’s not. How can you sort things out? I’m not saying meditation isn’t a good way to tap your inner realm of insight, it just takes longer to learn how to listen in the void of silence.
So before I learned to meditate, I wrote in my diary and answers always appeared. What I like most about a diary is once you begin, you can just let your thoughts flow freely. They can be ugly, nasty, petty, scared, confused, and whiny. Who cares? No one is going to see them. If you start with the things you’re confused about, eventually what appears on the page may even surprise you.
Because I believe that we do know what’s best for us at any given moment, we just need to make the time for this kind of conversation. Especially when we’re confused, writing everything down (as if to a special friend) we’re able to access the care and compassion that kind of friend would likely give us.
In addition, the diary becomes a piece of evidence, a record of my thoughts and feelings I can always go back to. If I’m consistently writing the same complaints followed by similar bits of advice, it becomes hard to ignore. And so there’s a level of accountability when we officially record our truth. We witness our tendencies to stay safe or avoid pain. We clearly see when we’re doing things for our own good and when we’re not. We can’t pretend we don’t know.
Not only that, over time, in my diary, I learned to recognize the caring tone of my inner wisdom. I saw a consistent desire emerging and directing me to be the person I was always meant to be. On those pages, I also gained a lot of permission and freedom to be myself, as well as the courage and understanding to follow through despite my fears. I couldn’t seem to give these to myself without it.
So I highly encourage you to strike up this conversation with your inner wisdom. Go within for the answers to whatever challenges life presents you. If you simply can’t write to yourself, try speaking your thoughts into a recorder or make some videos. The idea is to get out into the open your inner dialogue so it can be witnessed by you. Just don’t share what you’re dictating because in doing so, you invite other people’s opinions and the goal of going within is to shut out the words of the world and find your own.
If you want to get past approval-seeking and codependent relationships and situations that don’t serve your highest good, if you want to explore the far reaches of your potential, if you want to become unapologetically authentic, then you must begin today to desire a caring relationship with yourself. I, for one, can tell you that it’s not hard. You probably already have the tools, just like I did.
Don’t judge. Just pour yourself a cup of coffee. Sit down. Open up a blank page, and begin:
Dear Diary, today I…