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A few years ago, I wrote a post encouraging people to stop searching for answers.
The topic came from my own experience of seeking out ideas and solutions from other people whenever I felt stuck in life.
After all, it’s natural to want to see how other people have navigated difficult situations.
But this would lead me to obsessively search for answers, trying to find the right one that would somehow fix everything in my life.
What I learned through a lot of trial and error is that the answers would often come to me when I stopped seeking.
When I took the time to slow down and listen to the answers I already had within me, things became a lot clearer.
Essentially, the idea is that you already have the answers you need within you.
So why am I telling you this?
Well, it’s been quite a while since I wrote that post, but someone commented on it recently that prompted me to dig deeper into this topic.
The commenter asked a question that overwhelmed me at first because I didn’t know how to answer it. I even thought about deleting their comment because I felt as if they were questioning what I had written.
But I paused for a moment, set my ego aside, and decided to dig into the question with an open mind.
Here’s what they commented:
“Yes, it’s certainly possible to have the answers, not trust or listen to those answers and then just get stuck looking for external help. Isn’t it also possible to just lack any kind of internal direction? Then what? Personally, I can say the only thing I’ve ever really had is a vague sense of what I need/want. Whether I look inward or seek externally, there just aren’t any tangible answers.”
So was I wrong?
I started to wonder whether or not everyone does have the answers they seek within them.
Just because I’ve been able to find answers within myself, does that mean everyone else can too?
Does everyone have an inner guidance system?
When I say inner guidance system, I’m talking about the part of you that knows who you are and what you want, no matter how unexplainable those things might be.
Whether you call it intuition, a gut feeling, or plain old wisdom, it’s something within you that helps you make decisions from a place of alignment.
Think of it as your internal GPS, or rather your IPS (internal positioning system).
Perhaps this shows up as a ‘knowing’ that you’re meant to do something, even if feels scary.
Maybe it’s a gut feeling that tells you not to trust someone but you can’t put your finger on why.
It could be a belief that you feel is true in your heart but other people can’t quite seem to understand it.
At the end of the day, I do think we all have an inner guidance system, but it can be incredibly hard to trust and lean into it.
Why it’s difficult to listen to ourselves
So if we do all have an inner guidance system, why is it so hard to hear it sometimes?
One reason might be that the answers you seek aren’t being presented in the way you want them to show up.
I think our inner sense of direction or guidance isn’t tangible, but we really, really want it to be.
Like if you’re wondering what type of job is the best fit for you, your internal guidance system probably isn’t going to say something as clear as ‘You’re obviously meant to be a doctor’.
Mine’s definitely not going to tell me that because I faint at the sight of blood.
On the other hand, it could be because you’re not asking the real questions that you want answers to.
Maybe you’re simply ignoring your inner wisdom because you don’t want to deal with the uncomfortable answers that come up.
How inner guidance shows up
Let’s say your inner guidance system is giving you some answers, but you’re not sure what they are.
In my experience, answers show up in synchronicities, patterns, or feelings of deja vu.
Answers show up in the things I value, the things I feel inspired by, or the things I’m drawn to even if they feel ‘unproductive’.
These things may not be easily explainable, but that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable.
This intangibility just makes it all the more easy to ignore them and write them off as distractions.
More often than not, the answers show up as an inkling of an idea that you need to explore before you can truly understand what the message is.
I see them as glimmers that are trying to tell me something.
For example, I’ll be reading a book and learn about a new concept, and suddenly that topic is showing up everywhere.
Of course that topic may have been there all along, but now I’m aware of it’s existence.
I pay attention to these things and try to understand what they mean, no matter how strange they seem, because I feel like they have something to teach me.
I even keep a list in my notepad called ‘synchronicities’ just so I can remember them for later.
Some people might explain these as signs from the universe or a higher power, but the meaning you assign to these signs is what’s important.
Have any of these signs shown up for you lately?
Living the questions
At the end of the day, maybe we need to be okay with not having all of the answers.
I felt pressured to know the answer to this commenter’s question, but I don’t have the exact answer (because there isn’t one).
Sometimes we just need to live the questions.
As Rainer Maria Rilke wrote,
“Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
Come back to the now
If you find yourself endlessly searching for answers, come back to yourself in the here and now.
We get so caught up looking ahead to the future that we don’t ask ourselves what we want in the present moment.
This moment is the best place to start from.
Even a vague sense of what you want or need is better than nothing at all.