5 Great Reasons for Nurturing Your Inner Life

By Randy Compton

"Most true happiness comes from one's inner life, from the disposition of the mind and soul. Admittedly, a good inner life is difficult to achieve, especially in these trying times. It takes reflection and contemplation and self-discipline." — William L Shirer (20th century historian and journalist)

Nurturing your inner life may be one of the most important things you can do in your lifetime. It can lead toward wholeness and happiness, but as many of us know, it takes discipline to care for our inner world. It is easy to get swept away by the natural onslaught of external forces and dramas that distract us from the task at hand. We avoid digging into unresolved issues and pain. We get enamored by new things, new experiences, or outward desires. We may slowly find ourselves devoting less and less time to the matters of the heart and soul. And by doing so, we lose our chance at true happiness.

So how can we make sure we dedicate enough time to exploring and nurturing our inner life? One way is by recognizing the importance of doing so. When we understand the benefits, we are much more likely to take the time to delve into the sometimes mysterious world inside us. 

Here are five reasons why nurturing our inner life is vitally important:

1) It Develops Emotional Strength: Emotions play a major role in our lives, and becoming familiar with the multitude of feelings that exist within us is crucial for a full, rich life of strength and wisdom. For many of us, our emotions were too often undervalued, underappreciated, and misunderstood. We may have started with a sensitive, clear emotional capacity but over time lost it because those around us didn’t help us attend to this precious part of ourselves. The depth of our capacity to love is directly tied to our capacity to feel, and when we care for our inner life, we gain tremendous emotional strength that can be used in all aspects of life. 

2) It Taps Our Inner Power: Understanding and working with the forces within gives us power that is real, lasting, and contagious. As most of us know, we are made up of many parts. What we show to the world isn’t always what is going on inside. When we connect with our inner world and begin to express it more fully, we become authentic beings capable of great power. And the deeper we go, the more powerful we become. As inspirational author Marianne Williamson says, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."

3) It Uncovers the Subconscious: Our inner life is directly connected to our subconscious. As we work with it in true partnership, we are able to steer our life more consciously and are less swayed by hidden forces. Many of our psychological patterns that seem to happen over and over again are caused by these subconscious forces. For example, perfectionism, difficulty in being intimate, or anxiety are often signs that something deeper within us is at work. When we uncover some of the feelings, thoughts, and even images behind these patterns, the patterns themselves begin to soften and can even dissolve.

4) It Strengthens Our Authentic Self: Knowing and taking care of our inner self leads to greater wholeness and authenticity. Without this self-knowledge and care, we can become split; we can lose touch with important parts of ourselves, which can then gain power over us without our knowledge or capacity to stop them. An authentic person is someone who is aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly that dwell inside and isn’t afraid to feel them. By nurturing our inner life, we learn to love the parts of ourselves that may have been hiding or wounded for many years. With committed and continual effort, we integrate them as part of ourselves and grow bigger, more loving, and wise.

5) It Harnesses the Creative Force: By listening to and working with the voice and guidance of our inner self, we can harness great power and release forces of creativity. Creativity often comes from "out of the blue," and nurturing our inner life creates the space for this creative force to emerge. In addition, some of the most creative achievements have come as a result of working with the material that life naturally gives us—the pain, the sorrow, and the overcoming of both. By listening to what is going on inside ourselves, we often find a uniqueness that is beautiful, creative, and even profitable.

There are many ways to nurture your inner life. You can take time to reflect and meditate; you can journal; you can develop rich, honest emotional connections with yourself and your friends; or you can explore different forms of therapy and healing. You can also use tools like oracle and symbol cards that will help you connect with what is going on inside. But however you choose to nurture your inner life, what’s important is to do it: It will bring you great rewards.

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