The Job of Your Life with Karen Schaffer

Get out of your rut and find your passion

The Practice of Self-Trust – For Rida

Posted by Karen on March 10, 2011

First, I would like to thank you for your post, it’s really interesting. The questions at the end are very amazing. But I’m still wondering how can I practice such things in my life? Rida

Rida asked a great question, enough to stir me out of my blog abandonment to write another post on self trust (thanks Rida!).

What I think she’s asking, if I’m right, is while the idea of “self trust” is all well and good, how do I hold on to such an intangible, wispy idea in this busy, meaty, demanding LIFE that really doesn’t give a rat’s behind if you’re trusting yourself or not?

The practice of self-trust is the practice of learning how it FEELS when you are truly and actually trusting yourself from the top of your head to the tips of your soul. The goal is FEELING coherence – so that you mentally and logically trust your choice, you emotionally trust your choice and you spiritually trust your choice.

To do THAT you must get in tune with what you think about the situation, what emotions you feel about the situation and how connected you feel overall to the “highest and best” you.

Let’s tackle each part separately.Getting in touch with what you think: this is the easy part, or so it seems. But our mistake is thinking that thinking alone leads to self-trust. We cannot get fully into a feeling of self-trust with a thought, unless that thought is supported by emotional agreement. So we can have the thought “I should leave my job” but the roiling sea of emotions that come along with that thought (“What will I do to survive? Will I get another job? I love my co-workers. How will they survive without me? My boss will be disappointed” etc. etc.) will take our one clear thought so off course we won’t know whether it was worth trusting or not.

So thoughts start with clear analysis and getting a true, real picture of what is going on. That might mean doing more research, asking questions, verifying your information (I see a lot of people who make career decisions based on pure assumptions all the time and are truly surprised when I challenge their thinking!).

Emotions are next. Emotions need room to move around, to feel lots of different ways about the choice. The need to have the time and spaciousness to move around without always trying to get them to stay still. Observe your emotions. See where they go. If it’s fear of disappointing the boss, work with that feeling. What else have you done (or not done) in your life for fear of disappointing others? Is this a pattern? Why am I afraid of disappointing someone? Do I have proof that a person can be disappointed, but not stay disappointed forever?

The key with emotions is to see them as information bringers, not the decision-makers. We’ve all felt one way one day, and completely differently the next. That’s why it’s hard to trust emotions. But the emotions are really there for you to identify and work through all the parts of you that have something to say about this decision. By honouring and listening to them, they usually move through on their own. You’ll know if this is happening because the emotional ups and downs will start calming and things will seem more coherent – that is, calm.

The other thing the information of emotions can bring is clarity on what to think – and do – next.

For instance, I’m selling a piece of my land in Nova Scotia. It took a long time to get it up on MLS but I kept listening to all the emotions that were getting in the way of what seemed like a simple decision (just get the damn thing up already!). One thing I learned is that I didn’t trust myself to sell it at the right price that would end up netting the amount of money we really need to make the land worth selling.

So one step – a much more thoughtful, logical step – was getting my co-worker’s accountant husband who LOVES spreadsheets and puzzles to make me this really cool spreadsheet that calculated all costs and potential taxes, so I could pop in a potential price and see what the net profit would be. For a non-math-person like me, this felt like a supreme accomplishment. Now I can trust myself to not agree to a price that is below what I know I need to make my own house-building dream happen. So my emotions led me to take an action that was grounded in a thoughtful reality.

And now the highest and best part of you. This is the calm, still, ancient part of you that is always standing for your highest and best good. It’s the Divine You. As such, it’s endlessly loving, non-judgmental and timeless. This part of you stands for your highest and best good and it will forever and always be ready to guide you there if you ask. It’s very quiet though, quieter than the thoughts and the feelings. So if you want to hear it, you have to learn how to listen.

Yoga-types connect to this highest and best part in the third eye (in the middle of your forehead behind your eyes). If you do yoga for awhile and focus on this part, you can feel it open. You can also experience deep feelings of peace and acceptance of yourself. As you are. Right now. Messy and all.  So when your thoughts are clear, your emotions have settled, and you’re tuning into what’s highest and best for you, does the quiet answer come back “yes”? That’s that spiritual part that is harder to describe – and has to be a practice all by itself.

Still, you can get all spiritual all you like, and if the rest of you isn’t grounded in reality, things still won’t happen in reality. It all has to work together – thoughts, emotions, Spirit – for you to trust the step you’re taking.

One thing I do tell people is that self-trust is a practice, and like all practices, it’s good to start small and slow. So rather than trying to bring this all together on a big decision like your next big career step or choosing the right house to buy, practice on the daily small decisions where the stakes are lower.

Can you tune into your thoughts, feelings and highest and best Self when choosing to leave work early? Can you tune into these parts of you when deciding to say yes or no to an invitation? (here’s a hint – don’t start meditating whilst your inviter is standing right in front of you – ask for an hour to “think” about it).

Turn small decisions into a practice of tuning in to all the messages coming from you. Learning how to tune out the white noise, give yourself some space and tune into yourself this way will increase your ability to know how the right decision for you feels – so you can recognize it in the big moments.

Hope that helps!

One Response to “The Practice of Self-Trust – For Rida”

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