We all need a cheerleader who will help us get up when we fall down, persist when the going gets rough, and believe in us when we begin to doubt. How often do we want to call in an expert like Woody Allen did in Annie with Marshall McCluen? Or seek guidance about which path to take, what decision to make, or how to prioritize something. Certainly, outer guidance in the form of mentors, coaches, therapists, and friends helps a lot. However, seeking the advice of our inner coach, our angel, is right at our finger tips.
The trick is in learning to trust your internal voice or guidance. At first, it can be difficult to discern which character is speaking to you. However, with practice, you can become facile at determining if you are hearing an angel voice or if it is a sheep in wolf's clothing, i.e. a traitor character parading as an angel.
A great example can be found in celebrations. For the person on a diet, going out for an ice cream sundae might sound like a celebration, but the price you will have to pay the next several days makes it more like punishment. Hence, it is not a true angel voice. However, taking a walk in a park or spending some time reading a great book might be a great way the angel/inner coach might suggest you celebrate.
A good way to learn whether you are hearing your inner coach/angel or a disguised traitor is to ask yourself the question: Do I believe taking this action will give me pleasure and satisfaction in the long term as well as the short term? If the answer is no, that in the long term it will most likely create pain, then the answer is that this is not an angel voice.
Some of the characteristics of the angel (inner coach) are that he/she:
- Believes in you.
- Wants the best for you.
- Is realistic about obstacles yet still remains optimistic about you.
- Cheers you on.
- Helps you stop when you've had enough.
- Supports you to take care of yourself.
- Supports you to take risks that stretch you in directions you want to grow.
- Looks out for your best interests.
- Is compassionate and helps you have self-compassion.
- Has a sense of humor.
- Is gentle and loving and strong and clear.
- Pushes you to live into your potential.
- Supports you in trusting yourself.
- Helps you connect with others from a sense of wholeness.
- Reminds you when you become impatient.
- Reminds you to breathe deeply.
- Encourages you to involve yourself with people who you like and who like you.
- Helps you open your heart even when you feel scared.
This is not an exhaustive list. This week's activity will give you an opportunity to write your own list of characteristics of the angel/inner coach you are in the process of developing inside yourself.
Cultivate your inner coach/angel wisely. It, or rather, this inner character of yours, is actually your best friend. S/he is always with you, though sometimes it feels as if s/he has been bound and gagged. The more you strengthen this character by doing Angel Push Ups™ (last week's activity, Cultivating Your Angel is one kind of Angel Push Up), the stronger the inner coach becomes and the more helpful it can be to you when you are in stressful situations.
Many times in my work when I am in stressful situations, my angel voice reminds me to think about the end I have in mind and keep my focus on that. It reminds me that when I focus on a good outcome, my brain will find the way through the contentious situation or seeming conundrum. Years ago, this was not the case. I would become fearful and anxious and tense. My angel was nowhere to be found. As a result, it took much more work to focus on what I was doing, how I could do it, and by the end, I was exhausted. Now, it often feels effortless though I know I am exerting a lot of effort.
Have fun exploring your angel. It can and will become your best friend.