We all heard many definitions as we were raised.

Our minds are full of concepts that are either good or bad, such as “It’s good to work for a corporation. It’s bad to desire the opposite sex. It’s good to eat spinach. It’s not good to be still single at 30.” Nobody taught us to ask ourselves what we really wanted, so we grew up thinking we had to choose from the list of “good” things we were given, and then we forced ourselves to do it.

A huge choir sings in the heads of everyone who grew up with these “goods” and “bads.” Many people sing in this choir, such as mothers, fathers, grandparents, neighbors, and so on. They constantly sing throughout the day about how you should do this or not do that. The noise they create is so loud that people cannot hear their own voices, and they aren’t even aware of what they really want.

What’s more, these people are taken aback when they encounter situations that haven’t already been classified for them as being “good” or “bad.” For example, one of my counselees was taught that it’s bad to laugh when she’s with boys or make eye contact with them. Unfortunately, those who taught her this never told her what was “good” to do when she was around boys, so she didn’t know how to act when she went out to dinner with a man she was attracted to. She would get into a lather, even though she was successful in her work life.

These people look for help from other people’s “goods” and “bads” when their own definitions fail them. I know many people who ask whether they should call someone or not, whether they should see him again or not, or what they should write in a text message. They get completely confused when someone labels something “bad” when another person regards it as “good.” Not knowing what to do, they don’t think of asking themselves, “What do I want to do?”

Just turn down the volume of that choir in your head. Stop asking yourself, “What should I do?” and pay attention to your own inner voice when you ask, “What do I want to do?