How to Trust Yourself (When You Don’t)
Maybe you constantly second-guess yourself. Maybe you feel “crazy” and care more what other people think than what YOU think. That everything you want is probably bad for you. That there is something intrinsically flowed in you. That you can’t trust anyone—least of all YOU.
But the thing is, you were born trusting yourself.
You reached for what you wanted. You simply assumed you would walk even as you fell down trying ten thousand times. You took great pleasure from even the simplest things, such as the changing shape of a cloud, your own belly button, or the plain cardboard box that the shiny, blinky toy came in.
Then came “the script.” And then came “the forgetting.”
Even though “the script” and “the forgetting” are powerful forces that can seriously dim your light, and even if you have felt disconnected from your clarity and passion for too long, it is still within your reach to transform even a lifetime of self-doubt into deep self-trust.
You were born to trust yourself.
But first, what’s the script?
Oh, you know “the script” all right; it is that set of harsh rules and conditions, both spoken and unspoken, which demand you give up WHO YOU TRULY ARE in order to play the part of WHO YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.
The script intones: BE GOOD. BE THIN. BE PLEASING. BE PRETTY. BE PERFECT.
And whatever you do, DON’T BE TOO BIG, TOO LOUD, OR TOO MUCH.
While the script may differ from family to family, culture to culture, and nation to nation, it always requires you to second-guess what YOU innately know, and to trade what YOU want for what your family, culture, or nation WANTS FOR YOU.
The script values and rewards what I call your Masculine Genius: your rational, linear, thinking, goal-oriented, will-powered abilities. The script also shames and hobbles your intuitive, cyclical, sensual, feeling, soulful abilities—your Feminine Genius.
While the requirements listed in the script vary, the damage you do to your self-trust while trying to live by the script’s rules is all too familiar.
And “the forgetting?”
When I studied Vedic Tantric philosophy, the guiding principle behind many forms of yoga, I learned that tantra loosely translates as “web” or “weaving.”
Tantrists believe that since all life is interconnected (like a web), humans are not separate from God (or whatever term you choose for All That Is) but are in fact interwoven with God.
Many world religions see humans (and especially women) as inherently separate from God and irreparably flawed, salvageable only if we live precisely by one ordained script or another, getting high enough marks in this lifetime to earn our homecoming with All That Is in some kind of afterlife.
Tantrism, however, like the Buddhism and Hinduism it influenced, sees humans as suffering only from a simple, easily reparable misunderstanding.
We aren’t separate from the Holy One; we have simply FORGOTTEN that the Holy One and we are one.
We aren’t hopelessly messed up; we have simply FORGOTTEN that the Divine is having a messy human experience through us.
We needn’t follow a stringent set of conditions in order to be worthy of love; we have simply FORGOTTEN that the Universe adores us unconditionally.
And whatever it is we have forgotten, we can remember.
1. Antidote for “the script.”
Reconnect with what YOU want, rather than what the script wants for you—and with what YOU know, feel, and love.
Hint: It’s already there in you. It’s your “first guess,” and it is clear and sturdy and arises just before your second-guessing.
The thing is, each impulse and yearning—such as for ice-cream sundaes, calling in sick, or hot sex with the new intern—is an encoded message designed to make you aware of some physical or metaphysical nutrient you need more of, be it healthy fats (rather than ice cream), more rest (rather than calling in sick), and a truer connection with others or yourself (rather than illicit sex).
Realize that what you long for isn’t wrong. It won’t lead you astray. Decoded a bit, it will keep you on your path and is actually key to helping you get where you want to go.
2. Antidote for “the forgetting.”
You are not separate from the Sacred; you are a strand in the web of All That Is.
Which means that no matter how many pounds you gain, rules you break, or relationships you mess up—even if you fall down ten thousand times trying—the Universe will always reach out to meet you with arms flung wide open, saying, “Welcome home, love, welcome home,” and will always kindly remind you, “You have not fallen from grace; you are embodied Grace.”
So, it turns out, you are not crazy; it’s the script that throws things all out of whack.
Your wildness isn’t the problem; it’s the cage you put around yourself that makes you forget how to trust.
Allowing yourself to reach for what you want, to run toward what you love, to simply stand in what you know, and to delight in the clouds or in your own belly button, helps you REMEMBER.