Do you trust yourself?
No, really, how much confidence do you have in your instinct, gut, inner knowing, intuition, Holy Spirit, or whatever you call it? And beyond the confidence, do you act on it? Do you apologize for it? Do you stand for it… for you?
Every day we’re faced with thousands of decisions—some monumental, some incremental. I believe the way we handle each of these decisions is either moving us closer or away from what I call our “true lives.”
Our “true lives” are not perfect or pain-free. They are filled with suffering, dark nights of the soul, trauma, and loss. However, they are our path. They are purposeful because they are the story that we are meant to live during this lifetime.
And the way in which we approach decisions in our lives—from whether I’ll eat a fiber-rich breakfast to how often I’ll call my grandmother—is all being weaved together to create this story of our “true lives.”
We spend a lot of time analyzing our decisions. Some of us wake up with racing hearts thinking about where we are, how much we have on our plates, and holding the reflective mirror up to where we thought we’d be by this time in our lives. Others of us lay in bed at the end of the day battling sleeplessness, hosting shame, and inventorying each scene from the life we lived that day and how it could’ve or should’ve gone differently, better.
There’s much more to say here. But in short, shame is a liar. Fear is not our portion. And self-loathing is both unsafe and unreliable because it will only pull you backward when your true life desperately needs you to keep growing into your future self.
Instead of spending so much time on the substance of these decisions, I’m curious if you’d take a step back with me and we could explore how we’re approaching making these decisions in the first place.
Let me set some scenes.
An unexpected meeting with your leadership team pops up on your calendar for 15 minutes from now—they want to discuss your project. It’s game time. How do you walk in and represent your point of view?
The psychologist at your child’s school calls you and explains that he’s struggling to focus, is acting out, and is disconnected from peers. The psychologist shares an early diagnosis and recommends a classroom reassignment and medication. You need to make changes today. Do you accept this?
You’ve been feeling sluggish, irritable, and foggy-headed. So much so that you’re having to adjust your work schedule, cancel social plans, and you’ve stopped exercising due to lack of energy. Your bloodwork comes back clear and the doctor just tells you to rest and drink plenty of water. What’s your next move?
We’re facing these types of situations—thousands of them—every day, all day long. And how often do we respond, “Well, I just don’t know.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“I need to do more research.”
“I need to consult an expert, my partner, a friend …”
“I’m unsure, I’m unclear, I’m confused, I’m of two minds …”
We say these things, but really, we do know. Deep down, we have the wisdom, experience, and insight to make these decisions. To answer the questions. To show up with a clear, powerful, confident point of view in any situation.
Let me repeat myself: You already know.
You are the most trustworthy person you know. You have the experience of every single day of your life up until this point. You are equipped with the compounded wisdom of making thousands of decisions over hundreds of days. Before now, you have failed, you have succeeded, you have learned, you have improved, you have evolved, you have grown, you have changed.
And all of that growth and evolution has positioned you to show up in this present moment with clarity of conviction about the point of view that you’re about to share.
But recognizing our inner knowing and believing in its efficacy isn’t enough. Now we must employ it. We must tap into the knowing each time we encounter a decision, no matter how big or small. If we continually externalize our decision-making, looking to others, data, or old ways of operating to guide us, we are betraying the most powerful asset we possess: ourselves.
Each time we ignore our wisdom, insight, and experience, we’re betting on something or someone else. And isn’t that crazy?!
If you were asked to stake your life on someone, who would it be? Who would you trust more than anyone to save you, protect you, and ensure you’re living your true life? The answer is you, my friend.
Bet on yourself. Stake your life on you. Because the reality is, your life does depend on you.
Once we tap into the knowing, we must stop apologizing for the insight that we bring to the table.
I watch others (and myself) every day show up in conversations, encounter challenges to their point of view, and immediately start cowering, deferring, and apologizing for representing their true knowing.
Friends, why are we doing this? Why are we denigrating ourselves this way? Why are we not honoring, celebrating, and building upon the sacred truth and wisdom that each of us are offering to better the world through our insights?
To be clear, our knowing is a way, it’s not always the optimal way. That’s why sharing it with confidence and clarity is so very important. It needs to be known, seen, honored, challenged, built upon, and sometimes upgraded or improved. It is the foundational truth, the kernel of wisdom, the baseline of insight from which more can be generated.
Our knowing contains within itself unlimited creative potential. But we must allow it to be illuminated. It must be uncovered and presented with authenticity in its fullness in order for it to shape and inform the way forward.
Do not undersell, misrepresent, distort, or apologize for your knowing. But do offer it with humility so it can be a catalyst for more.
Finally, we must practice owning our knowing. A recent psychological study on intuition uncovered something you probably already know from experience: Intuition improves over time, suggesting that the mechanisms of intuition can be improved with practiced repetition.
Meaning, the more you own your knowing, the more you tap into it, present it without apology, and allow the light of shared understanding to improve upon it, the more honed your knowing will become.
This beautiful truth about human being-ness is simple and profound. The more self-doubt and self-loathing we host, the less we trust ourselves. And inversely, the more we proudly share our hard-won internal wisdom, the more precise it becomes.
So we find ourselves in a gifted paradigm, one that rewards us for honoring the fullness of our true lives. The story you find yourself in is not an accident. It’s likely replicit with chapters of suffering and hope, loss and creation, shadow and beauty. And there is meaning in each chapter. There is a “why” and a purpose behind it because it gave us, the world, you. It gave us your insight, your wisdom, your experience, your knowing.
And that knowing, whenever it’s shared, makes us better. But, my friend, deep down, you already knew that.