Why We Don’t Listen to Ourselves

I’m here today to give you permission.

I’m giving you permission to feel your feelings and act on them, to be true to yourself.

Isn’t this obvious, you say? Doesn’t everybody do this all the time?

I’ll tell you right now – the answer is a clear, resounding NO.

We ignore our feelings most of the time. We do what we think we are supposed to do – out of duty, obligation, fear, adhering to what society says is right and wrong or long-outdated standards of success. We ignore how we truly feel about our lives because it’s not how we’re supposed to feel.

You may have been pushing your true feelings aside for so long that you don’t know how you really feel about anything anymore.

I am as guilty of this as anyone. I ignored my feelings for most of my life because they weren’t what I thought I was supposed to be feeling.

Not liking my job? Ignore that. I’m supposed to be happy here because I’m getting paid well and have good benefits.

Not wanting to hang out with this family member? Nope, can’t let myself honor that. I have to keep this relationship going otherwise I would be a bad person. I don’t want to hurt their feelings.

Wanting to rest because I’ve been sick for years and am existentially tired of pushing myself? Can’t listen to those feelings. I have to be a hard worker and force myself through life because that’s what society says I should do. It’s noble and valiant to push yourself to the brink and work hard.

Why do we do this?

Why do we invalidate our feelings and make them wrong?

I believe there are many reasons but the biggest one for me was always a fear of disappointing or hurting other people. I was always afraid of what other people were going to think of me. I was afraid of judgment.

I can’t end this friendship because then I’ll hurt their feelings.

I can’t stop working so hard because then everyone will think I’m weak.

I can’t quit my job because┬áthis is the American dream. This is what success is supposed to look like.

Eventually the weight of my life of duty and obligations became so overwhelming and heavy that my body literally shut down and I was forced to stop.

You don’t have to get to this place before you honor yourself and your true feelings.

You can start listening to yourself right now. You can stop forcing yourself to do things you don’t truly want to do.

You may be thinking, “But I don’t know how I really feel about my life.”

You do know, you’re just not used to listening to yourself.

One of the biggest clues for me is this: dread. If I dread doing something, it’s because I’m doing something out of duty or obligation. If something brings me joy and makes me feel happy, that’s the indicator that it’s the right thing for me. It’s as simple as that.

We can all get in touch with our feelings and act on them, but it does take some courage.

It will feel scary at first and you may feel very guilty when you let go of doing things you think you’re supposed to. Being true to yourself may initially cause the people in your life to temporarily be hurt but in the long run, it’s best for everyone. We can all use an example of someone who listens to their feelings and lives true to themselves – it gives us permission to do it ourselves.

Isn’t that what we all truly want – to live 100% unabashedly ourselves? To not compromise who we are or our feelings for anyone or anything?

It was for me, and I bet it is for you too.

So I now give you permission to uncover the real you and live true to yourself.

I promise you, it’s worth it.

Comments 4

  1. Great article Lindsay. When I’ve done the things I’m “not supposed to” it doesn’t feel like I can do anything else. I have had guilt afterwards, but it was me living my truth. Most people aren’t comfortable with a person living their truth.

  2. Thank you! You’re right it’s not always a popular stance to take. I think that the more we live true to how we feel and accept that it’s ok to do that, our outer experience will change. I think when we stop judging ourselves for doing this, we won’t see that reflected back to us through others. Easier said than done! I still feel a lot of guilt too.

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