Less We and More Oui

Au revoir, America! I am going off the grid and getting lost in Paris for a while! I don’t have a plan beyond  controlling my pain au chocolat addiction and I’m taking off all by my lonesome. Why Paris? Well, I love french fries and french kissing and of course, French bulldogs, too. But also because it’s Paris. It’s romantic and beautiful and inspiring and central to other countries that I’d like to visit. Why roll solo? Well, that is an even better question.

We all have an internal chatter that runs through our minds like an eternal run-on sentence of thoughts, worries, excitements, et al. You know the feeling – when you lay in bed at night and your inner voice goes a little something like this:

I can’t forget to do laundry tomorrow because my favorite jeans are in there and I want to wear them to that party – I love clothes right out of the dryer – warm and fresh and delicious, the best – I should def buy another pair of those jeans, I wonder if they are still in stores – I bet that I can find them on eBay – should I look now? I love eBay – no I’m already in bed but I do kind of have to pee, no just stay in bed you’re already here – did I lock the front door? yes I’m just trying to trick myself to get out of bed and pee and shop online and that’s just silly besides I should wait because Deb loves those jeans and maybe she wants a pair too – wait what is this, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? I wish – Alexis Bledel is so impossibly chic, what has she been on lately? I should look that up tomorrow too… but wait, really did I lock the door?

Okay, so that was my inner voice, but you get the gist. This type of chatter is totally typical and just part of being alive, I think. (Um, I hope.) Your inner dialog is how you work out what is weighing on you and how you find your own voice. The above was a silly, light-hearted example of your inner thoughts. But what I want to touch on is when it comes to a more important dialog regarding your goals and dreams and aspirations and conflicts and passions – what do you do when other people’s external chatter enters your internal thoughts and confuses your inner voice? We are constantly receiving opinions and suggestions – solicited or not – regarding what we should do and what we should want and what we should seek out. It comes from your friends, family, advisors and it usually comes from a good place – the thing is, it’s not coming from your place.

Decisions big and small, knowing what we want out of life or even what we want for dinner are often times influenced by others’ external chatter and that’s when things get messy. Being able to hear your own voice is so, so, so, so very important.

Tuning out these voices can be really hard to do. While opinions should be welcomed and taken into consideration, it’s ultimately your life and you need to know what you want. We only have one life that we are certain of – my friend always reminds me, ‘This is not a dress rehearsal!’ and she’s right. We’d better make our lives out to be exactly what we want. And knowing what that means to each of us usually comes from hearing your inner voice and of course then following through.

I like to take breaks from my everyday and literally remove myself so that I can get centered and gain a clear perspective of who I am, where I am and where I want to go. I believe that it’s absolutely necessary to get away from it all for it to be quiet enough – literally and figuratively speaking – to be able to hear yourself. At times it’s really helpful or even essential to go completely off the grid for some uninterrupted you time.

Every few years, I take a vacation from life. I backpacked Australia on my own for a little while. I holidayed in Aruba alone once – Side note: Never do a honeymoon destination single. Just a tip from me to you. That was just torture. So in two weeks, I’m going to Paris completely solo. While these examples are extremes – these are the times that I get my best ideas, gain my most confidence and come back with a stronger sense of self. But don’t worry you don’t need a passport to visit your inner voice. Sometimes when I’m stressing over something, I pick out an awesome playlist and go for an aimless walk outside – just me, myself and my Pandora stations. Other great ideas to quiet the chatter are: going for a great road trip, or even just taking a long drive, challenging yourself to an entire day of no cell or internet, hit up the beach without your homies, etc.

The point is, it’s healthy to hear yourself out. If you can find your own way to turn down the volume on everyone else and give yourself the opportunity to listen to you, who knows what you will discover.

What do you all do to hear your own voice? Please share!

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