Originally posted in December 15, 2013, the passion has only broadened!
Having the ability to listen to yourself may be much more difficult than you believe. Especially if you were raised to feel a lot of shame about who you are. In my case, not only did I grow up thinking that way but I lived in a place of shame anxiety. In other words, I constantly worried about doing, saying, hearing, or thinking something that I should not be or that someone would tell me something shameful I did. Can you see how complicated and complex the picture gets? Even while being alone, the idea of thinking something that I shouldn’t would haunt me and kept me in this anxious state.
The little voice inside my head was now just as guilty as everyone else who caused me to feel my own shame. Through the years, your inner voice – which is supposed to help you reason cognitively and feel emotionally – now was simply another outlet for feeling shame.
What I find frustrating is when someone who is supposed to be “motivating” you says, “Don’t listen to that inner voice telling you that you can’t” indirectly, that person instead of motivating you, is now another source of shame. I say, LISTEN TO THAT VOICE, but DON’T BELIEVE IT! You have to figure out why it’s telling you that. Your inner voice is you. You must be able to listen and trust yourself. This is not an easy thing to do. It has taken me a long time to understand that. Even after having a wonderful therapist to help me learn what I need to do to change that voice.
Do I still hear that doubting voice in my head? Absolutely. I simply don’t believe it. However, don’t ever underestimate the power of shame and what it does in people’s lives. This is my goal and passion in life; to help others begin to get a better understanding of this process.
Right now, I am going through an exercise to help with my ideas of Empowerment. The concept is empowering intimacy in relationships. Intimacy is defined as a close familiarity or a greater understanding. In fact, having intimacy (or a greater understanding of yourself) is important in your own personal growth. However empowering intimacy in a relationship typically requires another person. It doesn’t have to be your spouse or significant other. It can be a friend, a business relationship or even a casual acquaintance. Empowering intimacy in every relationship is important.
The interesting thing is that the more I think about the best way to construct intimacy, it almost always comes back to listening. How can we better hear what the other person wants? And it only makes sense. How do you get a greater understanding of someone if you don’t listen? On a deeper level, how often do we listen to ourselves and really discover what it is that we want? So many of us are “trained” that if we listen to ourselves, we are greedy or selfish. How can you truly love yourself if you don’t listen? This may seem paradoxical but we will discuss it more in the next post.