Your Body Knows What You Want

Within the next week or so, I’ll be finished writing my No-Brainer Scenario ebook. It’s about making good decisions with ease.

In order to make good decisions with ease, you have to know what you want. And that’s what the No-Brainer Scenario technique helps with: getting clear on what you want.

I spent quite a few years believing that I didn’t know what I wanted. That I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever know what I wanted. Especially in the realm of finding my Thing. It was incredibly frustrating.

Looking back, I realize there was some part of me that knew all along. I just couldn’t hear it.

The parts of me that knew my true heart’s desires were buried under layers of conforming to others’ expectations and beliefs about how the world works.

It took time to get back in touch with the parts of me that knew what I truly wanted.

I believe some part of you already knows what you want, too.

Not knowing what you want is such a hard place to be. And when you’re in it, it feels like it will never change.

It won’t happen overnight, but here’s a simple way to start to reconnect with the parts that already know what you want:

Listen to your body.

Your body knows because it hasn’t lost connection with the parts of you that know what you want.

It’s so simple to start.

Pick a time and a place. Someplace comfortable and quiet. Away from distractions like phone and email and Twitter.

Sit in a comfortable position and become aware of your breathing.

You don’t need to change it, but by focusing on it, your breathing might slow and become deeper.

Begin to notice the sensations in your body.

Where are they?
What do they feel like?
Are they tied to specific emotions?

Don’t over-think this. Just notice what you feel in your body.

If this is a new practice for you, it might take a while to notice anything specific. Try to be patient and keep noticing.

How do you use this to help you figure out what you want?

Let’s say you’re thinking about taking a class.

After spending a few minutes getting quiet and noticing how your body feels, begin to think about the class you’re considering.

Think about whatever is involved in taking that class.

What do you notice now in your body?

Have the sensations changed? Have new sensations come up?
Where are they? What do they feel like?
Are they comfortable or uncomfortable?

Chances are, if you’re feeling discomfort in your body at the thought of taking that class, it means you don’t want to take it. Or there’s some part of you that doesn’t want to do it.

Conversely, if you feel “positive” physical sensations, it likely confirms your choice to take the class.

An encouraging caveat

If listening to your body is new to you, at first it might feel like it’s not working. You might sit down to listen and not really hear (or feel) much of anything.

Keep at it. As you practice, you’ll notice more and more subtle sensations. Practice regularly for even just a few minutes at a time and it will get easier.

Skeptical?

Hey, I’m all about healthy skepticism.

I’ll bet if you look back on past choices and situations, you’ll start to see that your body was trying to tell you about what you wanted. Try to remember how you felt physically, and notice patterns of what you felt in “good” vs. “bad” situations.

About four years ago, long before I’d learned how to listen to my body, I was thinking about switching jobs. On paper it was a great opportunity. But every time I thought about saying yes, I’d feel a wave of blech come over me. It felt like my body wanted to run away but was too heavy to move.

I said yes anyway because it was such a good opportunity (ha!), and it was a huge mistake.

But it’s not that simple!

My guess is, the part that feels complicated is choosing to act on what your body tells you. Because that takes a lot of trust.

Start small. I’m not saying you should pick up and move to Thailand because you felt a twinge in your left pinky toe. You can even start by noticing how your body feels, while still deciding however you normally would. And then observe how it turns out.

Listening to your body can be a tool – almost like a compass – for helping you move toward the things you want. It’s about learning the language of your body to help guide you.

It’s a tool that can be used in tandem with other tools, like the No-Brainer Scenario.

How about you?

What have you noticed about how your body feels when you’re about to do something you want to do? And when you’re about to do something you don’t want to do?

Have you used the practice of listening to your body to help make decisions in the past? I’d love to hear about it!

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3 thoughts on “Your Body Knows What You Want

  1. Kylie

    I love this post! This is something I put into practice, but it’s good to read it from you and remember that listening to your body is a useful thing to do. As I continue to work with clients as a coach, I realize increasingly how difficult it is to tune into how your body feels. I think many of us learn to ignore their feelings and body as they grow up. But your body knows so much! And learning to trust it is a ridiculously empowering way to gradually learn to trust yourself.

  2. Victoria Post author

    @Kylie – Yes! Exactly. I don’t know if it’s due to how technology-based we are now, or if it’s more of a Western culture thing, but I know I was never taught to listen to my body. If anything I was actively taught to ignore it. And I think the ability to hear from our bodies is like a muscle – if we don’t use it, it atrophies and it takes some time to build it back up.

  3. Mike Reeves-McMillan

    One of my clients is a nurse – a profession where you are definitely taught not to listen to your body, as she and I have discussed. But I think Western society in general is quite good at that, and other, forms of not listening.

    This is something I’m working on this year. I have a powerful suspicion that if we could learn to listen to our bodies as individuals and as a society it would bring about great transformations.

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