Sometimes You Just Gotta Listen To That Voice Inside You

Many walking across a line of fiery coals

Photo: Joshua Newton

I’M GOING TO START THIS STORY OFF WITH A BANG. ALL CAPS BABY. WHOOOO!

How did that sound in your head? Did it feel like I was shouting at you?

How about now? More reasonable? Good. You’re probably wondering what this is all about. I promise I’ll get to that in a bit.

But first, let me pose you this question. Have you ever had a calling? Or has your conscience ever spoken to you? Maybe gave you a couple pointers that seemed outlandish at first, but started making sense after a week?

It’s typically not a loud voice either. You’ll probably hear it from the corner of your mind, a nook you never even knew you had in that beautifully complex brain of yours:

‘Maybe you should clean up that mess in the storeroom.’

‘You reaaally need to stop sleeping in so much.’

‘You should totally keep blogging. It’ll work out someday. Trust me.’

If you’ve felt that connection with your higher self before, then consider yourself lucky, because staying in touch with it certainly isn’t the easiest thing to do nowadays, what with all the social media and infinite scroll and such.

Thanks to our phones, we don’t even have to go through a single minute of boredom, yet that’s exactly the thing we need to connect with our higher self.

Your inner gyroscope

And thus we arrive at this topic. It’s not easy discerning between the various voices you have in your mind. We sometimes mistake our higher self for our usual thoughts—mostly our ego.

But if we listen closely enough, we’ll start to notice the differences between the personalities. Our ego would bathe you in shame and guilt, while our higher self always speaks from compassion and love.

It sends us a little ping when we kick back to Netflix, knowing full well that the laundry needs doing. It’s there when we go out for drinks when we have to wake up early the next day. You might also hear its calls when you’re doing something—a job or, say, a crime—that doesn’t align with your values.

But it’s so gentle that we often miss its message.

We half expect an Arnold Schwarznegger to show up in the back of our minds, machine gun in hand, telling us to get to our mental chopper. We think that something will just ‘click’, despite decades of not working on our goals.

Someday, your ego will tell you, we’ll be rich and successful. But for now, make sure you buy that BMW, because social proof baybay. Whoooo!

A GIF of Ric Flair woo-ing

Let’s go baybay! Source: GIPHY

A gentle voice

I guess we can all agree that if your mental voice hoots at you, then it’s probably not your higher self.

Some of the biggest things I’ve ever achieved in life have been a result of the tiniest whispers. Make no mistake about it though, it may be a soft voice, but it’s firm.

It’s the same voice that told me to quit smoking. It’s the same voice that’s always encouraged me to write a book. Heck, it’s the same voice that recommended I try writing for a living.

Unfortunately, that voice is often met head-on by my ego. What? You gonna leave your cushy job to write a novel? And a cyberpunk one at that? Who even reads cyberpunk?

You want to quit smoking? Fat hopes. Your girlfriend smokes, you need something to go with your beer, and you’ll never be able to handle stress without a pack of cigarettes.

You want to send in this writing application? Buddy, you didn’t even finish secondary school. And you’re an ex-hairdresser. Let’s go back to hairdressing. That’s where we gon’ get the girls, anyways. Whoooo!

I’m glad that I’d listened to the soft voice instead. In all of the above situations, it’s that tiny voice that got me through my doubts. Doubts of not finishing that novel, of being able to ditch smoking, of not belonging in the publishing industry.

Having faith

Lately, my higher self has begun calling once more. It’s telling me that I should stop dancing to someone else’s beat, and that I can make it on my own. You know the drill. My ego showed up as well.

You idiot. You’ve been jobless before. Just what are you going to do? You think life’s just a bed of tulips? I don’t care if I’ve mixed up my idioms. I’m not the writer here. You are.

The ego does have a point though. I don’t know how exactly I’m going to strike out on my own, but not knowing is par for the course. Always has been.

I just wish the stakes weren’t so high every time I had to make a choice, ya know? I’d much prefer it if it was a choice between smooth or chunky peanut butter. But choosing between an unfulfilling life or another career setback only has me sweating bullets before I can even bite the damned bullet in the first place.

Have you been listening to your voice?

Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you during the time of writing, but perhaps an update will follow soon enough. Maybe I’ll need to take my own advice and stop picking up the phone so often. Maybe I should replace other people’s musings on social media for my own.

In fact, maybe we all could use the same thing. Perhaps we can all learn what it’s like to feel bored again so can connect to our higher selves.

Maybe there’s the tiniest chance that this article encourage your higher self to speak up and propel you down your very own best life. And if that happens, I hope it’s not the type of motivation that roars in your heart, but one that’s barely just a whisper.


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75 thoughts on “Sometimes You Just Gotta Listen To That Voice Inside You

  1. We’re hit so hard with the “value” of productivity, that we forget boredom is just as necessary as food. Without it, we wouldn’t hear that little voice. It it bothers you, tell folks you’re meditating. That’s “healthy.” ;)

  2. What if we can’t differentiate the voice of our ego from our higher self?
    I think that only happens when we’ve shut our true self a lot of time.

    Yet another relatable art. Thanks Stuart👍👌

  3. That soft voice. And having enough knowledge and self discipline to know what’s right. So important. We just have to silence that big loud ego. To be the man, you gotta beat the man. Here’s to inner strength, determination, and a well-set compass. Thanks for the thoughts.

    • Oh yeah! Self discipline is key in getting to know yourself, that’s for sure, for we get unbridled access to our true selves when going through discomfort. Here’s to inner strength indeed! Thanks so much for visiting!

  4. Good Morning!

    First of all, thank you for such a post as it is surprising for me to read such a topic coming from you.

    I would not say anything much about this…because
    The ‘Topic’ that encompasses ‘The Higher Self’, ‘Inner Voice’, and ‘Whispers’,
    I have this feeling…deep down and higher ups…that this, right now…
    …is ‘Not The Right Place’ to talk about such things.

    What comes through me right now about it is this:
    Deep down, I have ‘High Respect’ about such things, and I believe that there is a suitable place and time (sort of) to talk/share about such things.
    Certain things are not suitable to be talked about in public.

    That makes sense about those things that you mentioned and other things that I learned…it’s like, there are requirements to be able to attain the knowledge.
    There are parts where you can’t simply get them by researching on the net…and like books, where no matter how many times you read them…you won’t be able to understand them, until you are ‘Ready For Them’.

  5. wonderful thoughts, Stuart. I guess the value of high-stakes decision making is that what comes out of it could be life-changing, as opposed to what comes out of making a choice between chunky and smooth (actually I resolved that choice years ago – it’s always smooth :) ).

    And I agree that there is value of being bored on occasion, and just letting our minds wander, and hopefully those quiet voices speak to us…

  6. Actually listening and following through with that voice is definitely hard. Especially when fear and anxiety is breathing down my neck. Heck—even now, I find myself too afraid to take the next step, however, I can always feel that gentle prodding to move forward. All it takes is a few moments to gather myself and I’m off once again.

    Great post as always. Thanks Stuart.

    • Yep, and it’s definitely that much harder after a lifetime of ignoring it. But the good part is, the more you listen to it, the better you become at recognising it. Wishing you all the best with your anxiety!

  7. Really cool post! I’ve definitely been trying to become more in tune with my inner voice, as of late. But as you said, it’s so hard to stay focused on “nothing” when there’s always so much going on. One day! Thanks for sharing.

    • I totally agree. We’re so used to information overload (and even schedule overload) that we’ve lost touch with everything to do with the self. Here’s to rekindling your relationship with it!

  8. To be honest, I don’t even know what that voice sounds like anymore. I’ve made so mistakes, I don’t trust myself when I feel nudged one way or another because I don’t want to screw up again. I wish you the best in whatever decision you’re making right now. Make sure to sleep on it several times.

    • Yeah I totally get that feeling. Maybe it works for me because I’m the type that always keeps my death in mind, so whatever I choose can’t be that bad, could it?

      And if things turn out to suck, at least I’ll get a good story out of it. Silver linings all the way, hey? Thanks so much for stopping by!

  9. Good post! I find that “voice inside you” or what I call my “gut feeling” has guided me in difficult times. When there is a feeling of unease or I see no light at the end of the tunnel, I find this inner voice prompts me to act and I heed.

    • Wow, it certainly sounds like you have your higher self on speed dial already. It’s hard to have such a connection with it, so I hope you nurture yours even more. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

  10. Lots of truth and humor here. This got me thinking and laughing. We really need to start listening to that little voice. It has long lasting results.
    But I don’t get why it just wouldn’t speak up. If it has something so good to say, why wouldn’t it speak up?

    • I believe it does speak up all the time. It’s just hard to listen to it through all the muck (and through the filter of our forebrain as well).

      Maybe that’s our quest in life. To nurture it so that it becomes less afraid to speak up, like trying to get that shy friend in the group to share their thoughts more.

      Or maybe I’m just going overboard with analogies and metaphors here.

      • No, you’re not. What’s you’re saying makes a lot of sense. Maybe if we listen more often, it’d speak more often or whatever.

  11. I often think that the intuitive mind or “the gut” is for those big life decisions when a leap of faith is required. The rational mind is meant to deal with the details after the fact. If you let that rational mind micromanage your whole life it will crush the spirit. Great post Stuart. 🙏

    • Yes! I sometimes think that my logical mind kills a lot of possibilities in life, like ‘Don’t go networking because you have nothing to offer’, or ‘Sticking to a full-time job is what you need for stability’. They might sound logical during that time, but who knows what would’ve happened had I just went with my gut anyway? Thanks so much for stopping by!

      • Sometimes the dots can only be connected looking back. We can’t always figure things out from the place we are currently standing. I always enjoy your reading your work Stuart. Take it easy 🙏

  12. I tried ignoring my inner voice years ago when I took up nursing instead of taking a prelaw. I’ve always wanted to become a lawyer but I felt indebted to my parents so much so that I thought I should always follow them.

    But, you know what, that inner voice — no matter how soft it sounds in the beginning — screams and shouts too!

    That’s what happened to me.

    It screamed to the point that I had no choice but to heed it. Or it shouted so loud to make ne realize how much I had been missing all along.

    So, fastforward to this day, I am now completing my legal apprenticeship and about to graduate from my law degree. Then, I’ll be preparing for the bar exam and, hopefully, become a lawyer in a year’s time.

    My inner voice got so fed up of me ignoring it. It had to take matters into its own hands. Lol.

    • Whoa, what an amazing story, and pretty cool that you’re now on the right track to living in congruence with your conscience!

      I totally appreciate you sharing this story, because who knows? It could be useful to someone who stumbles across this someday. Thanks so much for sharing bits of your life here!

  13. Pingback: Take Time to Tune In – L.K. Latham

  14. “Have you ever had a calling? Or has your conscience ever spoken to you? Maybe gave you a couple pointers that seemed outlandish at first, but started making sense after a week?”

    That is a big yes to all three. The calling, no matter what, has always revolved around stories. Even when I was doing presentations for school or job, I would toss in stories so people can grasp the information better. And the consciousness has also given me plenty of warnings or advice that I ignored with results that were quite bad. Unfortunately, time doesn’t go backwards, so all our conscious can do for situations like that is tell us “I told you so”.

    • Sometimes, while the higher self is filled with love and gentle persuasion, I think it also has moments of panic, and that manifests itself in the form of ‘gut feelings’ and ‘hunches’.

      I had once accepted an assignment even though every fibre in my being told me not to, and it turned out to be one of the worst (yet awesome) assignments in my life. Similar to you, all it said was ‘I told you so’ after, lol.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Always great to have you here.

  15. Oh this is so needed, especially during these uncertain times. Yes, we should tune in to our inner voice and trust that it (often) knows just what we need and who we are, better than ourselves! I suspect we aren’t always kinder to ourselves that we ought to. So, we should start creating space in our minds, hearts and souls for that more compassionate, gentler voice to be our muse. Thanks as always Stu!

    • Oh yeah, I actually believe in the subconscious mind and all the powers it has (I mean not psychic or anything, but just the awareness of everything that the conscious mind knows nothing about). And you saying that it knows more about us that us really triggered that thought. Thanks so much for this great comment, Kelvin!

  16. This is a beautifully-written post. As for boredom, I encourage my elementary students to practice being bored. It’s hard to enforce, and I don’t get the chance very often, but every once in a while, after a test, for example, is a good time to practice. They all finish their tests at a different time, and since I don’t allow them to bring their technology to my class (I’m an ESL specialist and they come to my classroom from their mainstream classrooms), they have to just be quiet and wait for others to finish. Sometimes they draw, but that’s about it.

  17. Great post! I need to slow down and really listen to my intuition. Sometimes we are so worried about others, what they will think, their judgment, that we don’t pay attention to what we really want and need.

    • Oh yeah. Neglecting your true self will only result in feeling negative and not being able to explain why, though it’s definitely not that easy to tune in to that voice. Anyway, thanks so much for coming here!

  18. Hi Stuart ! I am very glad that fortunately I stopped here to read your post 😊. I think this post is just for me cause, I always dance on other’s beat , like I am ” follow the crowd” type person.. I have my inner voice as you HV mentioned , but sometimes it get suppressed by the surroundings and not audible! But yeah ! I will try hard to go on my way !.😉
    By the way great post !!

    • Lol yeah, and there’s nothing wrong with following the crowd. It’s only wrong when our heart wants to do something else and we don’t do anything about it. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I appreciate it!

  19. Thought provoking post, Stuart. There’s so much to consider in this post.
    If we’re not productive should we feel a pinge of guilt or just accept that,
    sometimes, we just need to renew our bodies so our minds can feel nourished
    again. This would be a great subject to discuss at length at a writers group. Well done …
    Have a super weekend … stay safe and be well 😷 Blessings 🙏🏻
    Izzy 😎

  20. Wow. This is eerie. Your post was something I needed. Right now. It’ll take time and patience, but, thanks to listening to my inner voice, I’m on the path to ditch the day job so I can focus on writing. As for that BMW, nope, not listening to ego anymore. Sticking to the plan :)

    • I find myself constantly on the same path of juggling work and pursuing my craft. Trying to juggle both just spreads myself too thin. Anyway, thanks so much for adding your thoughts! I appreciate it.

  21. Listening to your gut/inner voice never goes too wrong! Believing in yourself, having confidence and silencing that inner critic is a step to achieving what you ‘really’ want. Grab that bull by the horns and do it – life’s too short. I try to capture the inner critic by being more mindful/aware. Thank you for this great reminder Stuart.

    • The gut really does speak the truth. I ignored it once and ended up stuck in the worst assignment of my life. To be fair, sometimes I’m not sure if I’m being whiny or if I REALLY should avoid doing something. Still trying to tune in to that voice. Thanks so much for your lovely comment!

  22. I am glad you commented on my post because now I discovered your blog! Great stuff. It’s becoming increasingly hard to discern the signal from the noise in a world where we are constantly bombarded by information and over-stimulated by technology. I always find myself asking, “is that my conscience speaking or a mix of social cues that I have subconsciously gathered while scrolling on social media?” It seems that it’s always the latter nowadays.

    Your “maybes” are correct, my friend. Maybe we should just unplug for a while, listen to our minds and bodies, embrace boredom, and let our own musings meet the pressure of the moment. Embracing boredom has become worth pursuing, especially for creatives.

    • And I’m glad you decided to drop by! Oh yeah, I find that my mind feels clearer on the days I try to avoid filling up my mind with so much information. Thanks for your wonderful comment, and for adding in to the conversation!

  23. Congratulations on listening to your higher self. This world fights tenaciously so that we don’t have a minute of peace of mind from the cradle to the grave. And it is precisely thanks to this peace and this quiet knowledge of who we are and what our place in the game is that our higher self shows up, takes us by the hand and helps us to move forward on the path of life.

    • Wow that’s a well-written comment if I’ve ever seen one. And yes, this is the foundation we need to put in place before our higher self can voice itself. It’s still an ongoing journey for me though. Anyway, thanks for coming!

  24. A lot of people mask their inner voice to impress other people, you’re definitely right about just removing that mask and listening to the inner voice. I like how you started your post with all caps. Maybe I should try and have that much energy in my posts.

    • Haha, wow, I’m glad I’ve given you the perception of energy, because I’m pretty mellow in real life. Here’s to finding our inner voices together. And thanks so much for stopping by!

  25. Hey buddy, that tiniest whisper brought me to blogging. Nd this whisper had been constant since a long time now but I had been ignoring this beacause of the roaring whispers.
    And what a piece you have written.

  26. And I am a newbie here.so I am kind of scared too to be honest. But after reading your blog, I think I can do it and can sustain myself here. Afterall its about my soft whisperings

  27. Funny thing I have this little voice in my head as well, whenever I listen it weirdly tells me what’s going to happen soon, let me clarify I’ll use yesterday as an example I was meditating at work , when I knew at that point that staff would be here an hour early then normal to get all my stuff ready for them. (Now) no one comes early most often there late or on the clock. I was working till the earliest of morning that day and had taken a few mins to myself. When I just knew someone was showing up. So I get my stuff all ready. And believe it or not. There an hour on the dot early. Another one is last month I was at a clients house working when I just knew something was wrong again but could not figure out what. So when I started checking it all out turns out I had forgotten to mark a medical card. So I have learned to listen 😁.

    • It’s so awesome that you are in tune with your inner voice. I had my inner voice yell at me to not go on this assignment once, but I ignored it, and true enough, it turned out to be one of the crappiest assignments ever. Thankfully I’m a writer, because bad experiences mean good stories, lol. Anyway, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate it!

  28. Your post is very encouraging especially on those days when one is more susceptible to give in to the ego’s stories that keep one from following one’s heart and intuition. One of the lines that speaks to me is, “Our ego would bathe you in shame and guilt, while our higher self always speaks from compassion and love.” It’s beautiful to write and make decisions from compassion and love.

  29. Ego is always listing the cons and never the pros but that little voice knows us best and pushes us to do the things that scare us, I’ve learned that it’s worth listening to.

    P.S. I’d choose smooth peanut butter in a heartbeat😂😂😂

    • Oh yeah, the ego is all about self preservation while the true self is about hope. I guess that’s why. And smooth peanut butter for the win! I mean, I do enjoy chunky, but there are so many more applications for smooth, such as putting in oats or quick application on bread.

  30. I love how you distinguish between the voice of the ego and the higher self! It does seem like the ego speaks in extremes–either outlandish praise or harsh put-downs–and it tends to yammer on and on. That quiet little voice, though, it has faith in us, or it gently steers us toward a different path, with only a few words. Which, hmm, sounds a lot like some advice I’ve received in writing classes. Maybe I should take some pointers from my inner voice for editing. 😅

    • Lol, I don’t know where the editing voice comes from, but whenever it comes time for that, it almost seems like all the voices are evil. Maybe that’s why editing is my least-liked part of the writing process. Thanks so much for your thoughts as always!

  31. This reminded me of my favorite quote! “If a man does not walk by the beat in which you hear, perhaps it is because he hears a different beat. Let him walk to the beat which he hears, however measured or far away” Henry David Thoreau

    I have a bad habit of listening to the “loud voice” (sadly enough it is my mother telling me “don’t even think about it, you are not good enough”), Infact I have put off writing for like 3-6 years because of it. The “soft voice” puts the Idea in my head!

    • Sucks that the discouraging voice has to be your mum’s, but it’s awesome that you’re moving forward anyways. Wishing you all the best in your writing journey, and thanks for sharing this wonderful quote!

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