Today I have an episode for you that was a suggested topic from one of our awesome listeners on Patreon. Patron members can suggest show topics, as well as get their personal questions answered on Listener Q & A episodes, and so many more perks! Head on over HERE to read more about how you can become a member.
I would love to hear about how to tell the difference between the internal voice that is authentic and courageous versus the voice that is fearful and holding you back or is reactionary. For example, are you leaving a situation because it's good for you or are you in flight mode?
I also wrote a blog post about this AGES ago (2011 omg) so I’ve dug it up, updated it and am putting it back out there.
First and foremost, this is one tricky mother. To be honest, it’s still something I sometimes am challenged by in my own life, and when I am, I talk it out with a trusted friend. Sometimes processing externally can be helpful for you to be able to decipher. Journaling can also be helpful to process more internally.
Second, I do believe there are going to be times where you just don’t know for sure if it’s your intuition speaking or your inner-critic/fear. In those instances, you’ll need to just make a decision and see what happens. I can say that the more you intentionally work on paying attention to your intuition (practices like meditation, stillness, being in nature, journaling, yoga) the more in tune you’ll be with it, and the more clear it will become.
In no particular order, here are some ways to decipher if it’s your inner-critic/fear/gremlin or your intuition/soul voice speaking to you:
Your inner-critic doesn’t like change; but if it’s good for you, your intuition will encourage it. Gremlins like to keep you exactly where you are, even if you’re not in a great place. For instance, if you hate your job it seems like a no-brainer that you would want to leave, right? So, you daydream about your dream job, doing that thing you’ve always wanted. Your gremlin pops up and says, “There’s no way. What if it doesn’t work? It’s too risky anyway.” You listen to your inner-critic and the days drag on in the grips of this sucky job.
Your intuition is the voice and vision that is steering your daydreams. Your intuition is the voice of your soul and that voice wants you to be happy or else it wouldn’t give you all these dreams! Trusting your dreams is trusting your intuition. Practice adding on to these daydreams visions of you actually bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. What steps are necessary for you to leave that sucky job and get your dream job? Scary, yes, your gremlin will tell you so. Notice it, keep dreaming, and taking action.
Your gremlin voices come from your head, but your intuitional voice comes from your heart. In my opinion, most of us live 99% of the time in our heads (especially if you are a part of my community, you smart, go-getting woman, you!). It takes practice and slowing down (what’s that?) to listen to our hearts. Often times I ask clients a big, pondering question during a coaching session and they respond quickly, without any hesitation, but that answer surprises them, or they backpedal. For instance, say I asked you if you could do anything for the next month, what would it be? And you responded with, “I’d get on a plane, go to an animal sanctuary that I follow on Instagram and volunteer there. But, there’s no way I could actually do that!” I know immediately that the initial answer came from their heart and the excuse came from their head. I respond with, “What if you answered that question just from your heart instead of your head?” and always they respond with something to the effect of, “Huh….let me sit with that for a minute.”
“Getting out of your own way” requires you to get out of your own head. And trust me, we live there. So, how in the world do we do this, you might ask? First, slow down. And simply ask. “What does my heart say about this?” is good enough. And be patient for the answer. This all might sound a bit “woo woo”, but believe me, it’s possible!
Gremlin voices tell you things out of fear; intuition comes from your soul wanting you to be happy. Fear is your inner-critic’s middle name. Its motives– keeping you from change are based on, you guessed it, fear. It’s afraid of change, afraid of failure, afraid of looking like a (you fill in the blank), afraid of everything.
Intuition, on the other hand, wants you to be happy. It’s rooting for you, cheering for you, encouraging and supporting you, even if you can’t hear it right now. If you take everything you hear that’s inside you that is fear-based and notice and become aware that that is your gremlin, you’ll begin to filter it out. That may be the first step you need to take. It’s a big leap to think you can sit down and decipher the two. It takes practice, awareness and more practice. Many people actually feel their intuition physically, whether it’s hair standing up on the back of their necks, a feeling in their stomach, or goosebumps.
Gremlins generally aren’t very nice, intuition is soft and squishy. Some people’s gremlins are assholes, plain and simple. That’s why is also known as negative self-talk. But you might not even notice because you’re not only so used to hearing it, but the voice becomes your truth. Your inner-critic says things ranging from mean or disempowering things about the way you look or how you act, to making comments about the things you dream about and hope for. Think for a moment if your gremlin were a real-life person. Would you put up with that? My guess is no.
Intuition on the other hand has been with you from the time you were born and never has a bad word to say to you or about you. Your intuition protects you from dangerous situations as well as dangerous people. (Some people believe their gremlin has motivates them. Click here to read more on that.) Intuition is your internal best friend. Your inherent fairy godmother, if you will.
Lastly, like I mentioned before, sometimes our intuition gets murky. I often see this in people that are new to trying to decipher the two. One tip is that a red flag is a red flag. If you hear yourself thinking, “That just doesn’t seem right”, then it isn’t! We often over-analyze and think our way out of what our intuition is trying to tell us, when in reality, our intuitional voice is plain and simple! No over-explaining, no justifying, it just spells it out.