Meet the Worm (Your Inner Voice).

Via on Jul 23, 2013

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Take heed of that wiggling, niggling gut feeling!

We all have that inner voice, that nauseating gut instinct telling us the things we really need to know, but often deny. Call it intuition, psychic seconds or just a very clever, fast, computing subconscious that knows how to make a snap judgment—it’s there and we know it. Whether we listen to it or not makes all the difference.

A dear friend of mine, healer and author Anne Jones, has given this instinctive thought/voice/feeling a name. She calls it “The Worm,” which really is the perfect name for what it is. Like all worms, this one niggles and wriggles, it pokes you incessantly at the back of your mind, reminding you of whatever it is he feels you should know. He squirms his way up in between the tiniest of gaps in your thinking. He’s just always there until you listen to what he’s trying to tell you.

I’ve become a great fan of The Worm and he, a wonderful friend to me. I had recently left a very difficult place where individual voices were often suppressed and personal feelings pooh-poohed away for more ‘logical’ and ‘reasonable’ arguments. There were many, many times in recent years where The Worm had poked his head up; there had been warning signs that situations in this place didn’t feel right anymore or that things just weren’t working for me.

I’d ignored The Worm because I couldn’t properly reason with those feelings and thoughts (so I thought). It would seem to the outsider that every situation or doubt could have been very clearly and logically explained away. On the inside though, there was nothing but havoc, unhappiness and fear.

In the end, when I finally chose to leave, I looked back and realized that everything The Worm had been trying to tell me had been true—that place and its methods just weren’t helping me find more happiness, peace or self-empowerment, even though these were the very reasons I had chosen to be there in the first place.

We’ve all had inexplicably strong feelings about something or someone, without any real, logical basis.

In the blink of an eye, within a few tiny seconds when we meet someone new and shake their hands, we know from the deepest, churning recesses of our gut, whether something will or won’t work out—a business deal, a relationship, a spiritual path, a friendship. We can’t explain why; we just know.

On paper, for example, a business proposal could seem immaculate, bound for nothing but success and massive returns. Or a first date with that guy you just met may have gone perfectly, cut out of the best of a Meg Ryan rom-com. Anew job you’ve been offered seems like everything you’ve ever wanted.

But then, right there at the least plausible moment, The Worm starts his niggling and wiggling. You feel him prodding about the pit of your stomach, a sickening warning. There’s something about that business proposal that feels lacking, something about that hot guy that makes you not want to call him back just yet, something about that new job that makes your stomach clench. You don’t know why, but against all odds, something is telling you to stay well away from it all.

In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell writes extensively about the “power of thinking without thinking,” of making the most important and truthful decisions within just the first two seconds of being presented with a situation. Citing well-researched examples of psychological experiments across varying disciplines, Gladwell suggests that sometimes all we need is a “thin slice” of any situation—two seconds, tops—to be able to assess a situation for what it really is.

It’s nothing magical. Gladwell attributes it to science: it’s a fact that our subconscious mind does have the incredible capacity to analyze a situation and churn out conclusions as quickly as any computer. In fact, Gladwell suggests, sometimes having too much information muddles our brains and obscures the decision-making process.

We do better and make more accurate decisions when we’re making nano-second snap judgments. Science has proven it, as have our own snap-feelings and (often maddening) experiences.

More often than not, if we choose to ignore The Worm, things take their course, go awry and land up right where we had actually, deep down inside, expected all along. We find ourselves messed up, sad, in more trouble than it was ever worth. We get cheated in that business deal two years down the line, the hot guy from that date is a serial liar and that new job is a debilitating step backwards in your career.

This isn’t to say that The Worm tells us absolute truths about whether something is entirely “good” or “bad.”  A bad feeling about something may not necessarily signal that that thing or person is inherently bad; it may just mean that this direction or decision may not be something that’s good or happy for you. It’s important to be aware of this distinction when you’re listening to the worm.  It’s not about going on a crazed, global rampage against something or someone; it’s about being in tune with what will be best for your own happiness and being true to that.

Listening to the worm isn’t just for monumental, life-changing decisions. When Anne talked to me about The Worm, she had said that this phenomenal, deep-down gut feeling can apply to anything—from something as important as deciding your life path and work, to whether you should have a fudgey double-chocolate cupcake for tea (well heck, that can be a very important decision too!).

There’s lots of sense in this because what we think are the most trivial decisions can often have the most severe consequences. Even things like what we eat and how we exercise can have profound effects on our bodies and health, so listening to what our bodies need on every level, including the physical (and The Worm will tell us what we need), shouldn’t be taken lightly or ignored.

The Worm is always there. If you look back on major events in your life—in work, play, love, health, finances and family—you’ll realize that he’s always been there. You’ve felt him and heard him. It’s whether you’ve chosen to listen to him or not that’s made all the difference.

Ultimately though, The Worm isn’t a Jiminy Cricket, sitting on your shoulder and whispering in your ear. The Worm is yourself, your own truest voice or higher self that knows you better than you think you know you.

If you choose to not listen to this voice—your own voice—things will somehow go wrong. You might even already know this if you’ve suffered the consequences of not listening. Then, as you’re nursing your wounds, The Worm pops his head up smugly, and says, “I told you so.”

It’s time to kick yourself, remind yourself over and over that “I had a feeling this would happen…” But, in all this ‘knowing,’ what really sucks is that that irritating little worm of a voice has been yourself all along. It’s bad enough not listening to someone else’s advice; it’s worse when that advice is your own.

This voice—this inner you—always knows precisely what’s going to be good/happy/successful for you and alerts you of what’s not. Instead of debating endlessly with The Worm (who really, is just you) or setting out to prove him (you, again) wrong, perhaps it’s time to save yourself a lot of heartache and trouble and choose, for a change, to just start listening.

 

 

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Assistant Ed: Katharine Spano/Ed: Bryonie Wise

 {Photo: via Pinterest}

About Jamie Khoo

Jamie Khoo is a writer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is passionate about alphabets, sugar and the wondrous conversations that arise over mugs of tea. Someone once told her that the “best” thing about her was that “she was not stunning” which has since spurred her on to explore all kinds of issues related to beauty, body-image, self-confidence, self-empowerment, self-love and peace in her writing. Find more of her musings on her blog, The Effortless Beautyor connect to her on Facebook.

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23 Responses to “Meet the Worm (Your Inner Voice).”

  1. David says:

    Yes, very true indeed! Most of us choose to ignore our inner voice/ worm and charge heads on blindly into new ventures, relationship or partnership. Sometimes we all have to pause a little and check out what our little 'worm' has to say.

    Great wake up call. Humans; take heed!

  2. Any Loke says:

    Really like the way you mentioned about Ourselves. . love it.. keep up the good work dear

  3. iam may says:

    :) love it

  4. rachael d says:

    great writing as always Jamie! would love to read more!

  5. Ethan says:

    Most of the time we don't trust the worm because we don't even trust ourselves! If we don't even love and understand ourselves, who will? It has a lot to do with confidence and the will to be very determined and focus. A person who is responsible for his own actions and not to be afraid to fail. And it's ironic most of the time we trusted strangers more than ourselves… We need to make friends with the little worm somehow.. it's been a while.

  6. ngeow chin says:

    This worm is our protector and refuge in every sense. It is going to be with us until the very end of this life. In worldly terms we call it , intuition, instinct ,gut feeling etc. In spiritual terms we call it innate wisdom, potential Buddha nature, true light, fundamental mind, nowness etc. Whatever label , it comes to our help whether we recognise it or not, whether we like it or not. If we are not at peace with this worm in whatever we do , we will be taking a huge risk with our general well being.Thanks for sharing this as many do not realize this is the only worm we can trust as it is our very own nature. We do not need someone else to put worms in us or force it down our throat.

  7. Peter Hendra says:

    Thought provoking because it is so true.

  8. GOLLUM says:

    How rightly so with the "worm" within us…our true and higher self, the invisible intelligence we are all born with. We are often faced with choices in life and the first idea, intuition or impression that comes to mind and/or heart is almost always the right decision. As the saying goes, indecision kills! So just worm it !!!

  9. Angela says:

    I always love reading Jamie’s thoughts, more often because they are

    So true and on the nose with my life that it can be scary!!

    Once again she has made me realise that I have been neglecting

    My “worm”!!!

  10. gerry says:

    what a lovely read!

  11. Louise says:

    Now thats one worm I dont want to rid my body of ;)
    Great writing as always Jamie!!

  12. Anne Jones says:

    Great to see The Worm out there. Great Jamie you are a fab writer love Anne xxx—– Forwarded message from sarahcarmela@btinternet.com —–

  13. Belle says:

    There's a lot of truth there

  14. Shantini says:

    This is a great post Jamie – thank you! Made me realise that my inner self – The Worm – has all the characteristics of a best friend: able to tell me the stuff that's difficult to hear and always close at hand to lend a friendly, supportive hand. Very comforting indeed :-)

  15. Li Kim says:

    I used to question my Worm…but as I have matured and learnt from life, especially when I ignored my Worm, I have learnt that Wormy is indeed a good friend. I am my own good friend. I like my Worm now and we share many conversations. And I am not being paranormal :)

  16. Tara says:

    Great article really enjoyed it i like the idea of The Worm its that bittersweetness, that good to hear bad to hear. thanks for the article.

  17. Ai Chin says:

    Enjoyed reading this article, Jamie. You're a great writer. Looking forward to more from you!

  18. Monteiro Neto says:

    Very straight-to-the-point well written words. The more we listen to The Worm, the better we become in doing it!!

  19. judy lam says:

    as usual, enjoyed reading your article, which brings to mind a song by Olivia Newton John that sounds like …"my heart is saying fool, forget him, my head is saying don't let go" … if i am faced with a situation, i would rather apply Malcolm Gladwell's method of making important decisions within two seconds than to dwell on it.

  20. maryanne says:

    you could not have summed it all any better… nice read, jamie !!

  21. Susan Lim says:

    Loves this article. Thanks for taking the time to share. Talking about crazy voices, well….they aren't that crazy after all eh? The worm has been ignored but still remains as always. I will get the book to read more about the worm :)

  22. Eleni says:

    So true! We need to trust our instincts even when they seem to defy logic.

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