Being good to others is part of what makes you wonderful. But we need you to give more of that to yourself first. Then you’ll impact other’s positively on a whole new level.
I know so many brilliant men and women who have so much to give, and who are not totally happy in their jobs, or in life overall. People who are going through the motions, keeping up appearances and giving themselves to others more than to themselves.
I’ve also noticed that because of that, they don’t shine in the way they could. They are good ones who care about the people around them, and they don’t really think about what might be important to them.
Growing up in the UK, we don’t automatically learn the life skills to communicate (both to ourselves and to others) what matters to us and why. We don’t learn the tools to deal with human relations and to understand what is driving us. We end up finding our validation and sense of worth through others, and are frequently tired, confused and fed up. Sound familiar?
TRUSTING OUR GUT
As Einstein said: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Hearing and trusting our gut – our intuition – is a crucial step in finding our inner spark – more so than ever in our world of conflicting and competing voices and online opinions. Intuition helps us find clarity when we are overwhelmed by the views, ideas and comparisons of others, and struggling to keep everyone happy and fit it all in.
At the core of everything are our own human needs, strengths and abilities. When these things take priority, we find more of our spark, our inner calm and confidence. The noise of everyone fades and our clarity brings ease and a sense of possibility.
Our intuition is our inner compass. Without a compass, where are we heading? We’ll end up looking back and realising we lost our way.
It’s time to find your inner spark. Here are five steps to trusting your gut and finding your missing spark.
#1. Create space and shift the focus
We need more kindness and support of one another. But we mustn’t smother our own human needs. Giving to others from a place of ease is far better than from a place of guilt, fear or maybe even resentment.
It takes real, consistent effort to shift our automatic tendencies. It starts with making space in our day, to shift awareness from everything and everyone outside of us, to our inner feelings.
Start making the shift:
- Intentionally reduce the attention that goes on everyone and everything else.
- Make time. Schedule it in. Remind yourself. Make yourself unavailable to anyone else for 10 minutes each day. Switch off the phone. Hide in the bathroom or go for a walk to somewhere quiet where you can sit if you need to.
- This time is to focus totally on you, and what is coming up in your mind, why it’s coming up, and how to move past it.
- Close your eyes and tune into your breath. Follow the inhale and exhale and find some stillness. As the mind wanders, bring it back to the breathing.
- Consider your recent interactions with others. How did they make you feel? Do you wish you had said something different? Do you wish you had said no to a request? What stopped you?
- Build awareness in this way. Space to consider behaviours and interactions, and build up a knowledge of how you show up in the world right now.
#2. Replace your beliefs and thoughts
What we think determines our behaviour and ultimately our lives. When you
We are all part of the human family – why shouldn’t your needs matter as much as other peoples? Appreciating the fact that we’re all part of the same human family, all with biases & unique life experiences, can give an people’s conflicting views and also help us to see that we have just as much of a right to have our needs met.
Start making the shift:
- When you start to think that someone else’s opinion or voice is more important than yours, question it, consider what is fact and opinion, and reframe the belief.
- When you say yes to a request of your time, and it doesn’t feel 100% right for you, consider why giving the other person your space is more important than your own needs.
- Get into the habit of paying attention to how other people make you feel. What is it that triggers you and why? What is it that isn’t getting addressed in your own life?
- Start to write this stuff down in a diary every night before bed. Or any other set time in the day that works for you.
- Set a reminder, and give yourself 10-15 minutes to commit to this.
- Very quickly you will see how much clarity – and relief – it brings.
#3. Detach yourself from others’ opinions, advice and views
This world of excess, information overload and unending opinions is overwhelming. Filtering and questioning are becoming essential tools to stay sane and in control.
Start making the shift:
- Consider the person providing an opinion, whether it is on- or offline. What is their background on the topic? Are they driven by the same things as you? Are they sharing the full picture or just a snippet? Are they an online voice and is what they are saying fact, or is it opinion based on a wide range of variables?
- Get into a habit of questioning why you are listening to others. Why you are following the people you follow online. What their influence is adding to your life. Whether it is adding to or overwhelming your life.
monthly online stock-take and declutter. Get a monthly recurring reminder set,
and take 20-30 minutes to scan:
- your browsing history (that’s an eye opener!) – giving you a tangible reminder of where your time online is going
- your email newsletters: unsubscribe to any that are not adding value to you, and move any others to subfolders to read when you are good and ready
- who you follow on social media – and delete any that you don’t 100% feel attuned to. You can always re-follow later if you miss them.
#4. Train yourself to feel, hear and respect your intuition
This is learnable. Is it always clear to you when your intuition is telling you something is wrong or right? Practicing tuning in to your body’s feelings & signs will help.
Start making the shift:
- What’s going on? Can you name what you’re actually feeling? Is it anger, sadness, excitement? Can you tell why those feelings have come up? What do they relate to? What are they signalling? How can you hear the signal and take the right action?
- Feel it. When you start feeling overwhelmed, the first moment you get, take yourself away from other people, find a quiet place (mine used to be a toilet cubicle at work – I was past caring that it was a loo & very happy that it was a quiet place!).
- Close your eyes, take three long, deep breaths & bring your awareness to those inhales & exhales.
- Then, bring your awareness back to the sense of overwhelm. Can you dig underneath & see what is causing these feelings?
- Revisit this in your diary writing session. Remind yourself that you have dedicated time to yourself to really pay attention to this.
- Over time, when you tune in to your breath & write down your thoughts after some strong emotions, it’ll become clearer what’s going on in those moments. Your trust in yourself & your inner wisdom will build, & so will your confidence.
- Write it. When you come back to it during your diary writing time and write down anything that comes to mind, over time you’ll find golden nuggets of clarity.
#5. Clarity: what is a great life for you, and why?
What does feeling better actually look like for you? What do you think actually needs to change in life? What do you want to replace, and what will come instead? How exactly would you like your day-to-day life to look? These questions may not come easily if you’ve been living for others most of your life.
Start making the shift:
- Picture your life ten years from now. How do you look and feel? What is your home like? Your friends? Your career?
- How can you get from today’s you, to the future you? What will need to shift to get you there?
- In what order do your shifts need to happen? What is at the very beginning, and how can you take tiny, daily steps, starting today?
The only way this will become a reality is by living the changes needed, via very small, but hugely effective daily steps. I mean tiny. This was really tough for me to break down into such small things. But I only changed when I did this. I’m talking stupidly small daily actions like allowing 5 minutes of me-time to calm my frazzled mind & focus it on nothing but my breath.
- Mornings. Get the diary out again. Or a separate diary (I have tons). Give yourself five minutes, as soon as you’re up, to write down your answers to the above questions & decide on your Most Important Action (MIA) for the day ahead.
- Commit. Make sure that tiny step happens. Get it done as soon as possible in the day. Why? It’ll make you proud. It’s propel you forward. It’ll build your self-trust.
- You decide on duration. When you feel like your daily action is making a difference, then move on to a new one. Only you will know when that is, and your intuition will help you with that.
You get to choose
You get to choose to make a decision to commit to yourself. To commit a small amount of time each day, and never let yourself down.
Until you commit to yourself, things will not change. Take the step & see how quickly you’ll feel optimistic about this!
LET’S DO THIS!