Have you ever dated a man who seemed like a great match on the surface, but something didn't feel right and questioned whether there was something wrong with you to think that way?
Perhaps you're stuck in a job that makes you feel empty and you dread going to work each day, even though on the surface it looks successful with fantastic benefits?
Have you wondered, how it is that some people seem to be able to navigate these challenges in their dating lives, relationships and careers with ease, grace and confidence?
These types of situations can leave you feeling confused and second-guessing yourself.
One of the reasons is because you may not be connected to your Inner Compass.
When you are, you trust your judgement and honour your feelings with confidence.
Building and trusting our internal compass is fundamental to making empowered decisions in relationships and life.
When I began my self-development journey, I struggled with it, because for me, it wasn't logical, practical or tangible, and it involved feelings! It took a lot of practice to cultivate it.
Had I learned this sooner, I would have handled many of my career and relationship decisions differently, as I do now.
Its the reason unfortunately many people are living life feeling empty, and unhappy on the inside.
What exactly is our Inner Compass?
It's our internal GPS and a framework for making often tricky moral decisions or how to treat others effectively without regrets.
The standard definition is that it’s about tuning into your intuition, but there are a few more considerations which help strengthen your inner compass.
I like to think of it as having these four segments working together
1) Your values
2) Your superpower strengths
3) Your personal definition of a Successful Life and Relationship
4) Your Intuition.
Most importantly it's disconnected from external influences, including family, friends, media, social and cultural "norms", and from our over functioning mind chatter.
When you practice tuning into and trusting your inner compass, you become a self-expert, make the right choices effortlessly and feel peaceful about it, even if others disagree or are upset with you.
Why its so Important
Ultimately it allows you to
- Trust yourself
- Live a fulfilled more joyful life and follow your path.
- Attract more meaningful Relationships and work that you love.
- Have more courage
- Be authentic and real, and not driven by your ego self.
- You know who you are and what you want
- You're not distracted by outside "noise."
- It shapes you into the best version of yourself.
The consequences of not trusting your inner compass might include
- Fulfilling external expectations, not your internal needs.
- You won't feel like your true self or know who you are.
- You may have a surface level of success based on ego image in your career and even personal relationships.
- You'll attract unhappy relationships
- You'll feel isolated, unhappy without knowing how to change that
- You'll feel unsure about where you're going and how to get it
- You'll feel lost, with regrets, and unfulfilled.
Why do we Ignore our Inner Compass?
It's understandable, and natural as most of us weren't trained to trust and use our inner compass effectively from a young age.
Instead, outside sources have been guiding and influencing our lives and decisions, about what we should be doing, and how we should be living. We hear it daily in the media and online. Family, friends, our culture and society condition our judgements more than we might realise or like.
It's loud, distracting, and it takes resilience to take a step back, and think independently of these factors and what everybody else is doing and thinking.
How to Build your Inner Compass
Here are a few ideas to get you started to fine tune and practice tuning into your Inner Compass.
1. Distinguish your "Ego" self from your "True" Self.
Means Living from the Outside In. It's influenced by external influences/ conditioning- ie.media, family, culture, society, peers, friends, etc.
None of which are negative at all, unless you are not living your purpose, and doing the things that are most meaningful to you.
Your Soul True Self
Means living from the inside out. Drawing on being in the present moment, your intuition, and feelings, as well as honouring your path in life, which is so individual and personal to you, and may go against the grain.
For example, I work with successful women, who would like to attract their life partner, but getting married isn't always their relationship goal, which goes against typical societal and cultural norms. They are being true to their feelings, which is a sign of strength. We do however take a deep dive, to ensure their reason isn't based on fear or their pain value. See point 3.
You can't tune into your inner compass genuinely if your ego is driving your thoughts, so you need to focus on your True, Soul Self. A simple way to start before making a decision, ask yourself this question
"Is this my Ego Self or my True Self, talking?" Some decisions, won't be easy if you honour your "true" self, but will be worthwhile and you'll be happier.
2. Develop your Intuition
Believe in it and trust that it's love based, and requires patience and quietening the mind chatter to hear your instinct.
A gentle way to begin practising is to tune into your body, and it's energy when you're around people, and in different situations. Notice how you feel. Your intuition will be telling you something so, pay attention.
Do you feel depleted, tired, uncomfortable, or energised lively and happy?
Also, find the best method for you to centre yourself, whether its meditation, being in nature, listening to calm music or going for a run.
3. Identify your Pain and Gain values.
We all live by our Values, and these usually underpin our decisions in life and Relationships.
I encourage you, to also be as clear about your Pain Values as your Gain Values.
Identify the top five circumstances /feelings you will do anything to avoid. For example, Being Hurt, Lack of financial security, Loneliness. These are your Pain Values.
Then refresh on your top five gain values. The circumstances that you can't live without or are aspiring to have. For example Love, Freedom, Happiness, Contribution.
Be mindful that these aren't in conflict, they have to be in harmony.
A common and understandable conflict I see with my clients is that they want to attract a loving relationship and partner, yet, they want to avoid getting hurt. Sound familiar?
However, the way this manifests itself is that they have very rigid boundaries, even though they're dating, which doesn’t let love in.
Chances of a lasting happy relationship are slim if your pain and gain values aren't in harmony. When you're aware of both, and they're aligned, your inner compass can work its magic for you more effectively.
4. Redefine your Idea of Success
We've seen countless people who have the external appearance of a successful, happy, prosperous life but aren't happy within. Celebrities like Robin Williams, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, have tragically committed suicide who fulfilled this external image of a "perfect" life.
Define your idea of Success and Happiness in life and relationships and keep it fresh by adapting as you grow and change too.
Knowing this will support you to follow your path to Success and Happiness on your terms.
What's motivating you to follow the path you're on now?
Are you fulfilling your top five values and needs?
What would you like to achieve?
What makes you come alive each day?
Are you doing that?
5. Identify your Superpowers
Identifying and leveraging your superpowers and avoiding your weaknesses helps you make effective decisions, and better use of your strengths and time.
You can negotiate weaknesses for strengths, in most situations, in your career and with friends and family.
For example, if a friend asked you to help her with her gardening, which is your weakness and depletes you, you can negotiate, by replying, "I can't help with that, but can.....". and offer an alternative gesture if you want to. One that lifts you up, to prepare lunch or babysit perhaps. Practising healthy boundaries also applies to this. (which I have a blog post about here)
What are your Superpowers?
What activities do you instinctively try to avoid or procrastinate?
What experiences have been most difficult?
All of these elements working together, help you build your inner compass so that you have more confidence, self-belief and trust your decisions in life and relationships.
I'd love to know if you've found this article helpful, and what will you start practising to strengthen your inner compass.
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