When does having an active dialogue with an inner voice become a waste of time?
William asks: ‘When does having an active dialogue with an inner voice become a waste of time?’
There are many factors that can get in the way of a fruitful inner dialogue, and I will address some of them here.
- If the dialogue is based solely in your head and in your thoughts, and not taking account of what’s happening as a body-based inner process.
Your body knows more than you are consciously aware of, so if you take time to pause and listen carefully, in those quiet moments something new can come to you; an insight, a recognition of deeper meaning, or a shift into a new realisation.
- If you don’t follow up on what your inner wisdom is showing you or telling you.
It’s important to act on the information you receive, and make a change in your life or behaviour. For instance if you’re getting the message that you are overtired and need a break, then find a way to meet that need, by going to bed earlier that day, or taking a soothing bath. Whatever helps the tired part of you to feel you are really listening to it.
- If you are biased towards one viewpoint or another.
You may prefer the message of one inner voice, at the expense of another. Perhaps you would rather keep going, or feel that you can’t afford the time to stop. Or perhaps you feel resistant to following through on what the inner voice is saying. That is likely to close down the dialogue.
- If you are not really listening, or don’t want to hear what the inner voice is telling you.
It may be a partial view, such as if it says you need to leave your partner now. Maybe it’s letting you know that it’s not happy about something in the relationship, and if you address that unhappiness by discussing it with your partner, it could be resolved in other ways.
- If you are talking to the inner voice, rather than listening to what it has to say.
An inner dialogue is most fruitful if you do the listening and let your body do the talking.
- If it makes you feel worse, let it go, don’t do it.
What makes a difference is to have an attitude of not-knowing, exploring, friendly and being curious. It’s important to be accepting and not-judging whatever comes from this open exploration. If what comes from the inner dialogue moves you forwards in a positive way, you know you are on the right track.
I am inspired by these words from Tasmanian therapist Madeleine Maloney:
‘People state they feel worse from talking within themselves, from confiding in those around them, reading blogs and books, researching the internet and watching YouTube clips.
‘People say what makes a difference in the session is the experience of being listened to and respected in a space where they can see what matters to them in fresh, alternative ways. ‘In this space they discover and create ways of doing something differently, often something small and easy in their daily living. The experience of exploring, connecting and learning is easy, natural and simple.
‘What matters is a mood of not knowing, of being curious and wondering, of humour, flexibility, playfulness, and a willingness to be human together.
‘It is a joy to see people leaving feeling different.
‘You can see it, they are different.’