We have been trained to, and have become so used to, focusing on other people and on trying to please other people. Most of us have learned from an early age to try to tune ourselves into what other people are wanting and needing. Because of this we have lost contact with ourselves. We have lost contact with our Inner Compass and don't know how to tune-in to it anymore.
Each one of us has Inner Compass that is constantly giving us guidance and information as to what is best for each one of us and whether or not we are in alignment with who we really are. And how does the Inner Compass do this? It does this by means of our emotions. Our emotions are the way in which the Inner Compass lets us know how we are doing.
When you feel good, when you feel a sense of ease and flow, enthusiasm and joy in your life, these good-feeling emotions are an indication that you are in alignment with who you really are. When you feel less than good, when you feel a sense of discomfort, frustration, overwhelmed, anxious or distressed in anyway, these negative emotions are an indication that you are out of alignment and not doing what's best for you.
In the beginning, when using this exercise and getting in touch with our Inner Compass, it will feel rather strange, because we have become so used to focusing our attention away from ourselves. It will feel odd to stop focusing on other people and turn our attention back to ourselves. But this is what using your Inner Compass is all about: Turning your attention away from other people and focusing on yourself.
So just keep reminding yourself of what this is all about. Then return to the Inner Compass over and over again. Be mindful when you realize that once again you are focusing on other people and worrying about what they might be thinking, saying or doing – and not listening to your internal guidance system. And don't beat up on yourself when you discover that you are doing this. Just understand that this is the way you've been trained and that now you are trying to learn a new, more appropriate, healthier way of being in the world.
Lost Contact With Yourself?
When you discover you've lost contact with yourself or are losing contact with yourself and are focusing solely on others and worrying about what they are thinking – just withdraw your attention from them and return home to yourself. The same goes for when you notice you're worrying about what one particular person (like your mother or your partner) may be thinking or believing about whatever is going on. Whoever it is – whether it's people in general or someone in particular – when you notice you are doing this, just gently withdraw your attention from the other person or people and return your attention to yourself.
And ask yourself – what does my Inner Compass say about this? Then just notice what comes up. Do you feel a sense of ease and flow about the present situation or person, or do you feel discomfort and resistance? That's all you're supposed to do.
So to summarize the exercise, here are the main steps:
The Inner Compass Exercise:
1) Think about and contemplate the fact that you have an Inner Compass. Reread this book, especially the first pages.
2) Make the decision to be mindful of your Inner Compass during the course of your day.
3) Start noticing how you feel at various times during the day and remember that your emotions matter.
4) When you notice that you are thinking about or worrying about what other people may be thinking – drop it.
5) Return to yourself and notice how you are feeling instead. Pay attention to your emotions.
Check In Regularly With Your Inner Compass
If you are new to noticing and following your Inner Compass in a more conscious way, it can be helpful to make it a habit to check in and notice your Inner Compass at various times during the course of your day. Again, just stop briefly and notice what kind of impulses your Inner Compass is giving you right this moment.
Ask yourself – what feels good to me right now? In what direction do I feel the most ease and flow? Does it feel better to work on this project – or to take a break and work on something else? Does it feel good to make that phone call or not? And what about tonight? Do I really want to go to the movies with my friends? Or does it feel better to have some quiet time at home? And what about that invitation to that dinner party next weekend – how does that feel? What is the Inner Compass saying? And the situation at work – the one that has arisen between some of the team members. Does it feel good to call for a meeting and say something to the team? Or does it feel better to just let it be for the moment?
So again, during the course of your day ask yourself – what feels best to me right now, in this very moment, in this particular situation? And then just notice how you feel.
You Already Are Following Your Inner Compass In A Lot Of Ways!
When you start working with the Inner Compass, you’ll probably notice that you already are following your Inner Compass in lots of ways... you just haven’t really noticed it before. At least not consciously. But yes, you are. Because instinctively, we are all being pulled towards what feels best.
Just think about it. You know what you like best for breakfast – whether it's cereal or oatmeal or eggs and toast. Whether it's coffee or tea. You know what kind of jobs you're attracted to and what jobs would simply bore you to death. And the same goes for books and movies. You know what kinds of stories excite you and what doesn't. And when it comes to going on holiday, you also know that. Maybe you love the mountains. Or maybe you prefer the big city. Or a tropical paradise. You are always being drawn towards the kind of places that feel good to you. And the same goes for music – you know what makes your heart sing and what doesn't...
So you see, you are already following your Inner Compass in lots of ways, a lot of the time, without even noticing – quite simply, because it is natural for each one of us to be drawn to what makes us feel good. Everyone is naturally drawn toward what makes them feel more in the flow of Life because that is what feels best and most natural.
So the reality is, it feels good to be in harmony with who you really are and do what feels good! And this is true for everyone! Everyone likes to feel good.
When You're Forcing Yourself To Do Things...
Then of course, you will probably notice there are some areas in your life where you are actually going against the signals from your Inner Compass. Areas where you are forcing yourself to do things that don’t feel good to you.
When you notice this, you will probably also discover that you're doing what doesn't feel good either because you think you “should” or because you fear what other people might think of you if you don't do it!
Now, isn't that interesting?
Afraid To Notice How You Feel?
Here's another thing I've discovered when working with people. In the beginning, some people are almost afraid to do the Inner Compass exercise because they think that if they really HONESTLY notice how they feel about something, they will have to act immediately in accordance with this information. I always say to people in the beginning: "Just start by doing the exercise to just notice how you truly feel. You don't have to take action on what you discover in the beginning. Just do the exercise and see what comes up."
I say this because I've discovered it might be too stressful or anxiety-provoking for some people, especially if they have been real people-pleasers most of their lives, to suddenly find out that their Inner Compass is telling them something quite different from what they've been doing most of the time!
So when you start working with your Inner Compass, I suggest you be kind to yourself and start slowly. Just start by noticing how you actually feel at different times during your day, and in different situations. Just relax and notice what your Inner Compass is saying. Just observe.
Your Inner Compass is always there, is always providing you with accurate information about how things actually feel in relation to who you really are and what's most in harmony with you. Just try to relax and notice this.
That's all you have to do to begin with.
Just notice how you feel and try to be as HONEST as you can about it. In other words, try to be honest with yourself when you notice what's going on inside you, without worrying about the consequences of what you are discovering. Just let yourself feel how you really feel.
Change starts happening naturally and automatically
Then, as you start to get used to noticing your Inner Compass and the information it is giving you, you will find yourself naturally making small adjustments and changes in your life. This just happens automatically. Not so much because you "should" or because you "have to" but because it feels natural and good to do so.
As you begin listening more consciously to your Inner Compass, you will find that making adjustments just feels good and actually resonates with who you really are. This is not something you need to force, it is just something that will unfold naturally and happen automatically as you begin to feel more comfortable trusting your Inner Compass and being you.
Maybe you will find yourself taking the day off from work just because you feel like you need some time off. And while you are lying on your sofa, allowing yourself to recharge your batteries a little, you suddenly remember how you used to love to paint when you were younger. And lo' and behold, next time you are in town, your Inner Compass lets you know it feels good to stop at the artist supplies shop and buy some paint and paper... and then... and then...
You never know what you might discover when you start listening to those signals from within!
Find and Follow Your Inner Compass: Instant Guidance in an Age of Information Overload
by Barbara Berger.
Barbara Berger maps out what the Inner Compass is and how we can read its signals. How do we use the Inner Compass in our daily lives, at work and in our relationships? What sabotages our ability to listen to and follow the Inner Compass? What do we do when the Inner Compass points us in a direction we believe other people will disapprove of?
About the Author
Barbara Berger has written over 15 self-empowerment books, including the international bestseller "The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul" (published in 30 languages), "Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life" (more than 20 languages) and “The Awakening Human Being – A Guide to the Power of Mind”. American-born, Barbara now lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. In addition to her books, she offers private coaching sessions to individuals who wish to work intensely with her (in her office in Copenhagen or on Skype and telephone for people who live far away from Copenhagen). For more about Barbara Berger, see her Web site: www.beamteam.com