Learning to trust yourself can feel like an act of faith or a cliff dive… or at least a precipice walk.
From this side of the learning curve, it’s easy to think “but whom or what else could you possibly trust? Ourselves are the only thing we have half a shot of actually knowing in this lifetime.”
But not too long ago, I counted on books, science, and other people to tell me what to trust. If I felt horrible on a medication, but the doctor told me it was good for me, I took it. If a food made me feel gaseous and bloated, but it had high nutritional value, I ate it.
I was taught all my life—as many of us are—that experts know what is best.
How do you begin to undo a lifetime’s worth of belief in the high value of fact-finding and expert opinions?
Start with this:
Place your right hand on your heart and then your left hand on your right. Focus on your hands and allow yourself to sink toward your center.
Breathe. Notice how it feels to think from this place (Huh??!! your brain screams. Ignore it.).
Do you have some rose essential oil? If you do, put a dab just above your top lip, under your nose, so that every breath is rose. Can you allow yourself to dive deep into scent?
I remember driving west on I84 through the Berkshires and cresting the mountains as the sun hit the horizon. Sparks and rays of light burst across my vision and my heart… opened.
That is really the best word to describe the expansion. My heart opened like a pupil dilating and opened, and opened.
The world felt so beautiful. Beauty was not a voice in my head saying to me “this is what beauty is. Stare at it for a while and appreciate it.” Instead beauty was a feeling, a rapture filling my heart.
In that moment I learned how to feel and understood clearly for maybe the first time in my life that feelings did not live in my mind—they live in my body.
Trusting in yourself comes from this same place. It comes from knowing the body-feel of “this is right and good and okay.”
Or conversely knowing the body-feel of “Run like hell. Danger Will Rogers!”
These each have a body-feel quite separate from the thought. Trust in yourself comes from knowing yourself well enough to identify and recognize these feelings.
So where to begin?
I have my clients start with breath. Inhale and feel the tiny muscle movements that you usually don’t pay attention to. Exhale and feel the release. That is your body. That is feeling.
Now bring this same level of attention to other daily activities. Things often get really juicy when you bring this level of attention to food.
If you live in the States, then you have grown up in a culture that values the head over the heart or the hands. But each of these facets of ourselves offers its own gifts. This is where self-trust begins.