Listening to Yourself: During Divorce or Any Other Time, Be Your Own Best Adviser
Going through a divorce, you usually do best if you have a team to help you get through the process. Possible members of that team might be your attorney, your accountant, your friends, your family and even your coach and/or your therapist. Ideally, every one of these people has an expertise and plays an important role informing you and helping you. It is important to listen to your team members. However, in the end, the most important member of your team for you to listen to is you. After all, it is your life you are putting back together. Your sense of your best interests is paramount.
In order to be your own best adviser, it is very important that you make a habit of listening to yourself. You may ask, “What does listening to yourself actually mean?” In this article, we are talking about listening to your intuition. Some call it your inner voice, your inner wisdom. This little voice helps you figure out what you need to do to attain a state of internal peace and happiness.
Growing up, a lot of our training is to listen to authority figures. For survival’s sake, this makes sense. Unfortunately, many of us were not also encouraged to pay close attention to our own thoughts, feelings or intuition. Without developing a mindfulness of our inner experiences, we may have gotten out of touch with ourselves. Additionally, without that awareness, we may lack clarity about what is really best for us. Even worse, negative experiences such as neglect or various types of abuse may have led to our actually disconnecting from our inner selves. Certainly, a “bad marriage” can cause or worsen such a disconnect.
Reconnecting with ourselves comes from respect, interest and curiosity about what we are really feeling and thinking. This increase in inner awareness comes with practicing mindfulness. There are various ways we can increase our mindfulness. One of the best ways is meditation. Teachers such as Jon Kabat Zinn who wrote Mindfulness Meditation for Every Day Life (1994) and Jack Kornfield who wrote Meditation for Beginners (1998) give excellent guidance for using meditation practice to increase mindfulness.
However, please know that even if you do not meditate, all is not lost. You can still begin to start mindfully accessing your inner voice. Your goal is to pay attention to what you are feeling and then, focus on the quiet thoughts that come to mind after you ask yourself what you need.
Here is the stickler: it is very important to understand that if your feelings are primarily fearful or angry, you might be accessing fear based or anger based thoughts which are ultimately unhelpful. It is important to remember that to access inner wisdom, you need to be in a quiet peaceful state. You need to quiet your mind. Sometimes, this is easy. Sometimes, it is not so easy. If you find you are filled with intense negative feelings, do something to help you release some of these feelings. Self-soothing, emotional processing, exercise, (for example, brisk walking or dancing to your favorite music) or an energy technique such as Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Technique known as EFT all can be helpful.
Once you release your fears, you can follow this simple approach to quieting your mind and begin to access your inner voice:
Stop whatever you are doing. Shut out whatever is going on around you. Be very still. Take a slow deep breath. Then, release it easily and quietly. Take another slow deep breath. Release again, quiet and easily. Do this five times. Feel the quiet and peace. If you are feeling tense, continue this breathing technique until you feel peaceful inside. Then, with your situation in mind, ask yourself “What do I need?” or “What is best for me?”. Wait. You may hear an answer or some helpful thought will come to mind. If not, set an intention to be willing to discover what is in your best interests. Try it again. Remember that you need to be calm and peaceful for this approach to work. Be patient. Practice every day. Eventually, you will find you have a growing awareness of what you think and feel and what is in your best interest.
Remember, you are your own best adviser. It is important to listen to your team. However, whatever, you decide needs to resonate with you. The practice of mindful self-awareness will help you know better what choices are right for you.