We are often told how important it is to listen to others. To try to hear with our whole heart, with love, compassion, and hopefully understanding. We are strongly encouraged to be able to articulate some form of empathy for what they are sharing with us. We all need this from each other, and I believe it is crucial for connection.
However, what we don’t often think to do is to really, truly listen to ourselves. Many of us may have histories where we learned to not listen to that quiet voice inside of us. Because we were instead trying to survive by being what other people needed us to be. People pleasing starts out as parent pleasing or caregiver pleasing and in order to do so one must disown their truth at times. It’s hard to honor yourself while focusing only on appeasing others. Slowly but surely, over time we can forget what we really think, need or feel. All we know is something doesn’t feel right but we brush it off saying it’s just anxiety, or excitement.
But that feeling IS your truth. It was trying to let you know ever so gently and quietly that’s something actually isn’t quite right and maybe you shouldn’t take that job or date that person or say yes to that request. Because we all know what happens when we don’t listen to it, and hindsight shows us that maybe we should have. Being empowered requires us to take time to stop and notice what feels true for us right now in this moment and to honor that by putting that truth out into the world, which can become the scary part for a lot of people. It means asking for what you need, it means setting boundaries, it means taking a risk and going for your dream. It means being authentic even if it rubs others the wrong way.
To really own and honor our truth, I dare say that we should practice listening to ourselves with as much love, compassion, and understanding as we should give to others. Ironically instead of people pleasing, this is how we will become more open connecting and emotionally safe for others to be around.