I am often surprised by myself—though usually only in retrospect. Earlier today I wrote a blog post for my Love Beauty Peace personal blog about playing hokey and going to the horse races with my mom as a young girl. What struck me was that I have always known when I really needed a day off from work (or school). I call them mental health days now that I am an adult, but low and behold, even as a girl I knew to take mental health days off from school. I trusted that I knew myself well enough to decide on those mornings when I woke up not looking forward to school, when to play hokey and when to push myself to go.
I was fortunate that my mom trusted that I knew myself well enough to discern between days of light aversion vs. days when I really needed of a break. And throughout the years I have continued to trust myself to know what’s best for me. I have changed jobs, I have moved, I have taken days off and I have made many decisions on my own that turned out to be the right thing for me because I trusted myself. This morning I woke up with the realization that after a few months of feeling low and out of sorts that it was time for me to get re-focused. I wanted to feel that way—ready to re-engage—each day over the past month. But I trusted myself that I wasn’t yet ready to push myself and that I would be when the time was right. I just intuitively knew that I was ready when I woke up this morning.
It reminds me of Eckhart Tolle’s description in the Power of Now when all of a sudden one day he just drops into a place where he understands profoundly why being present in this moment is his cure for anguish about past and future. You can read as much as you want and try to push yourself to get into a state of readiness for whatever you are working on in this life, but until your mind and body are ready, it just won’t work. Sure, over this past month I did enough to get by—just what was minimally needed—but I lost touch temporarily with my grace and gratitude for life. I wrote only to keep my wedding blog schedule. I ate healthy foods, but I also consumed a whole lot of yummy sugary things even though sugar does not make me feel good.
I had danced around writing my personal blog for over a month and I avoided acknowledging that the ramification of the sugar consumption was that I was feeling physically sluggish. That is, until I woke up this morning and knew without hesitation that it was time to re-engage with work and healthy eating. It would have been no use to guess which day I would emerge and no use to push it to happen sooner than when I was ready. I needed to trust myself that I would know what was best for me.
One of the problems with trusting yourself is knowing which self to trust. We are all faced with our own inner selves some of which are gremlins or inner demons in disguise as your knowing self. Those nasty selves aren’t trying to help you; they are trying to sabotage you though they might tell you they are trying to help you by playing it safe. Learning to trust yourself means leaning to distinguish between the helpful inner voice from the noisy gremlins. And we all have lots of noise in our heads. For me, meditating and reading books that encourage self-reflection help to loosen the grip of the noise from the true inner knowing voice. Getting outside in nature helps me to navigate my inner thoughts. And getting lots of sleep is critical.
So in honor of your well-knowing self, I ask you to ask yourself what you need to do in your life today. Don’t judge. Don’t be too quick to decide—unless being quick to decide is what you need. Try to get under and behind the reason why you hesitate to do something. Is it because you shouldn’t be doing it? Is it because you aren’t ready to do it? Is it because it just isn’t the right time to do it? Is it because you are supposed to do it? Just trust that you know yourself well enough to know what is best for you. And if it isn’t what is best for others in your life, listen to yourself anyway. Because ultimately, if it is best for you, it will be best for others in your life, even if your decision requires negotiating with others. Trust yourself.