When I was growing up — until my early 20s even — I didn’t really think for myself. I lacked the ability to weigh external advice, guidance and information against an internal barometer.
To my detriment, I went with whatever I was told. Too scared to contradict and feeling as if my innate curiosity was a sin, I became a parrot.
I remember clearly the day I first answered a question for myself. I was training a client who loved to expand my understanding of the world. He saw in me a sheltered mind that was bursting with desire to learn and grow, but terrified to “do it wrong.”
A smart and observant man, he created games around reading the paper and memorizing headlines or facts about current world news, knowing that the “fun factor” would draw me in. As I grew more confident in my ability to share what I was learning, he encouraged me to also share my opinion. But I struggled. I could parrot what I had heard or read — things I did, in fact, agree with — but when it came to tapping into my own voice, my original thoughts on a subject, I would shut down.
Until one day when he asked a question that cornered me into telling my truth. Not the truth I had been taught, not the truth that kept me “in line.” The truth as it sprung from deep within me — the truth I couldn’t shake and the truth that, once I spoke it, became the catalyst for my own personal freedom.
Each and every one of us faces a barrage of external advice daily — whether it’s about politics or religion, the next best diet or workout program; investing in your future, or creating work/life balance — there are exponential ways we get pulled into the latest and greatest.
And not all of this is bad. External sources of inspiration, motivation, and strategy can streamline our pursuit of various life goals. This guidance holds a valid and necessary place in each person’s individual evolution.
But at what point does following every new fad, trend, or outside piece of direction leave you paralyzed with information overload — to the point where you are neither capable of fully following through or making your own decision?
How do you know what’s right for you?
“The next big thing” may be exactly what you need on your personal voyage of reaching your life goals or it may just be another distraction, another point of confusion.
Nothing can replace your intuition. The importance of learning to listen to your gut, of trusting your deepest wisdom, and following through on what resonates with you is what ultimately allows you to take every piece of external advice with a grain of sea salt. Sometimes it fits and other times it doesn’t.
Intrinsic trust is a knowing. It is a practice of learning what is true for you now. It’s your “Hell, yes!” And it frees up the constant search for someone else’s methods to fuel your energy and your needs.
External information offers you the chance to see life, fitness, food, investments, relationships, and so much more through a new lens… “I never thought of it that way” might be the most valuable response to a new source of information, which can be used to fortify or challenge your own inner beliefs on the topic.
Learning to trust your inner wisdom is a little like shopping for jeans — terrifying and hopeful all at once. At first you try on every pair in the size you “want” to be… maybe you struggle to squeeze into a smaller pair or you settle into the comfort of two sizes too big. Neither reflects your true self. Until you go through the experience of recognizing what does not fit, and admitting that it does not fit, you cannot discover what does.
When you uncover those ideas, values, and formulas for life that resonate with your true self it will be like slipping on the perfectly fitted jeans. It’ll feel like home because they will fit into the space within you that has been waiting to be filled.
An inner knowing will guide your life and you’ll easily “try on jeans” when the opportunity arises, but you’ll no longer buy every pair for fear of not knowing which is truly right for you. The experiences you have will be ones you choose. They’ll be fulfilling, rich, and exciting.
In Love & Gratitude,