In our daily world, there are many opportunities to acquire information from a variety of sources – friends, the Internet, books, teachers—yet too infrequently do we tap into the one source of information that is most trustworthy and always available: our own internal guidance. It is the most powerful source of counsel and the most difficult to trust.
We walk through the day putting more faith in the opinions and thoughts of others before our own. As children, we grow up being told that our parents or authority figures know better, and that we need to defer to their guidance. Fear of being judged or criticized for doing the wrong thing also enters into the equation. This creates a barrier when trying to develop our intuition; self-trust is an essential component in listening to the guidance that comes through.
Without self-trust, the world seems uncertain, decisions feel arduous, and we give away our power to others who may or may not have our best interest at heart. Disappointment with the outcomes resulting from the advice of others creates a sense of distrust and causes self-admonishment for listening to them in the first place – and the cycle of self-deprecating talk begins, eroding our self-trust even more.
The quest for self-trust often starts with discovering that someone we trusted either deceived us in their ability to help or in their motivation for doing so. It turns out that they are not the authority they claimed to be or that they had a self-serving motive for guiding us in a certain way. We realize that we have given away our power and are doing things that others want us to do rather than taking action toward what we want for ourselves. It triggers the dilemma of trusting the guidance of others or to finally realize that inner guidance is the most reliable source for decision making and determining our path in life.
At this point, it is time to face the fear of criticism and judgment if we make a mistake. The fear may be so intense that we refuse to answer the call for change and commit to the journey. To address these fears, a mentor is needed, one who is cheering us on and who focuses on our highest good. This person can be a friend, a book on the subject, or a professional. They key here is to have someone who serves to guide us toward independence, who helps us overcome the fear of the journey before us, and who helps us practice trusting our own guidance.
This may feel counterintuitive in that a mentor is engaged despite the idea of independent thinking; the mentor’s role is to focus on alleviating the fear, so that the journey can begin in earnest. The mentor serves as a safe place to practice trying out the new behavior of self-trust and to hold us accountable for the results of our decisions. The mentor prepares us to face the unknown, yet they can only go so far with us; eventually we must face the unknown alone. Through the mentor’s encouragement, we begin to trust ourselves to travel our unique path and to walk toward our future with calm certainty.
The real journey begins when we cross the first threshold of change, when we have decided to take responsibility for whatever happens, come what may. We agree to face the consequences and take on the challenges of trusting ourselves.
As this leg of the journey unfolds, we are tested by the Guardians of the Threshold who block the way as they seek to keep us uncertain and raising doubt that we have the ability to succeed without them. They want to keep things as they. Phrases such as, “What do you want to do that for?” or “I’ve seen others fail by making that choice,” put the seed of doubt into our minds and water it to watch it grow. They are the naysayers, the complainers, and the controllers who hide behind a wall of “for your own good,” when what they want and what we want are not the same things. They test your resolve and attempt to talk us out of moving forward. Battling against that self-doubt requires consistent challenging of that internal voice that says we cannot do it.
Enemies are around every corner waiting to take us off-center, and the big three are fear, doubt, and worry. They erode confidence. The better prepared we are to overcome these, the faster we can move past the first hurdle. This includes the use of allies, who support our quest for independence and self-trust. These are the friends and mentors who help us think through problems on our terms with questions such as, “So what do you plan to do about that?” or “What do you think the best approach would be?” These inquiries may also be posed to ourselves to combat the negative internal voice that calls our resolve into question.
Moving past the Guardians of the Threshold and the internal and external enemies, we approach the most dangerous leg of the journey and enter the cave of darkness wherein lies the desire of our quest. It is the place where it is time to face the fear, take a risk, and make a decision on our own. It is a proving ground for us to gain experience and to validate that we are capable of trusting our own judgment.
Choose something small at first, something that prevents forward motion, but does not have severe consequences. Remember, we are building up confidence and self-trust; we don’t have to jump across the chasm to see if we can make it without a bridge. Understand that this could result in a mistake where judgment from ourselves or others occurs. The ordeal asks us “will we move past it and are we willing to try again?” Surviving choices that create an unintended outcome teach that mistakes are not the end of the world, but rather an opportunity to change course or to gain knowledge.
With each choice comes the opportunity to gain a positive outcome, and with each upswing comes the ability to choose wisely and to trust the decisions that move us forward on the path. With persistence, we develop resilience, and the grand reward of self-trust awaits.
There may be times when we have setbacks, when, despite success, we are still pursued by the enemy of self-doubt, but on the quest for self-trust, it is all about learning what we are capable of. Self-trust is the first step to achieving self-confidence. When we trust ourselves, it means that we put faith in our own decisions and opinions, while staying grounded and centered. When we identify what we seek, consider our options, and choose wisely, we stay on the path of building self-trust, a place within ourselves that is unshakeable and assured.
Diane Wing, M.A. is the founder of Wing Academy of Unfoldment, host of Wing Academy Radio, author of five books, and an experienced guide for those ready to see things differently. When it comes to getting unstuck and feeling great about life, her 9-word philosophy is: Let go. Be grateful. Stay open. See the magick.
©Diane Wing, M.A.- all rights reserved