What if I Learn to Trust Myself and Then...?

IMG_3867Oh, the what-ifs…

I’ve received dozens of emails this past week inquiring about my upcoming Trust Yourself program with the same question: “What if I learn to trust myself and then I realize that my truth is that I have to leave my partner?” I’ve heard this exact question in other forms literally thousands of times over the years, as it’s the number one reason why people are afraid to turn inward: afraid to journal, afraid to meditate, afraid to connect to a source of personal guidance and wisdom, afraid to “do the work.”

My response is, first, to offer reassurance: I’ve never seen someone in a loving, compatible relationship choose to leave after choosing to turn inward and develop self-love and self-trust. It just doesn’t happen. It doesn’t happen because people who find their way to my work almost invariably are blessed to be involved with caring, honest, wonderful partners. It doesn’t happen because you already know that your truth is that you don’t want to leave otherwise you wouldn’t feel terrified of discovering that your truth is that you want to leave! And it doesn’t happen because your anxiety isn’t a warning sign; it’s a defense mechanism.

Yes, that’s the million dollar question: What if my anxiety is telling me to leave? What if, after learning to trust myself, I learn that I have to trust that my anxiety is delivering a very clear message that I’m in the wrong relationship? A scary question, yes. But it’s not what ends up happening. I can say now, after doing this work for fifteen years and coming into contact with thousands of people suffering from anxiety and self-doubt, that I don’t see people leaving loving, healthy relationships after doing the work.

What does happen is quite the opposite: once the process of restoring self-trust and self-love are underway (and it’s always an ongoing process; not a magic pill or quick fix), the barriers of protection that prevent real love from flowing naturally start to soften and the relationship palpably improves. As you shift from self-doubt to self-trust and see your own essence through loving eyes, the film of fear that distorts perception clears away and you can see your partner for who he or she truly is. In other words, once you choose to stop projecting and take responsibility for your internal reactions, the barriers that block love come down and the beauty that lives between you can flourish.

So herein lies the real question: Are you ready to take responsibility for your well-being and let go of the pernicious and convincing belief that if you were with someone else or somewhere else or with someone at all or living in a different house or in a different job or career you wouldn’t be experiencing anxiety or self-doubt? The illusion is compelling, I know. We are primed to believe that if we changed outer circumstances our inner realm would transform and the doubts would quell. But it doesn’t work that way. It’s both our greatest head-bang as humans and our greatest liberation when we realize that we hold the keys to our freedom, and that one of the cornerstone portals to this freedom is restoring self-trust.

The more you accept this – that you, and you alone, are responsible for your well-being – the more you learn what real love, real attraction, and real trust are all about. And the more you learn to trust yourself, the more you can trust partners, friends, and life itself. It can be said that the antidote to self-doubt is trust in every sense of the word. At the core of lack of self-trust lies a profound need to control others and outcomes – the belief that if you could only control how others perceived you and the outcomes of all of your decisions, you would be happy. This mindset naturally leads to an internal tightness and rigidity that effects every aspect of your well-being. In other words, it’s hard to flow with the river of life when you’re trying to control the depth and pace and temperature of the water.

And that’s what we’ll be learning in this program: how to love yourself and how to let go. How to accept how you’re wired and begin or deepen the process of knowing yourself, seeing yourself, and loving yourself. How to allow life to hold you. Because in the end, that’s where it all begins. Are you ready to learn?

Click here to learn more about Trust Yourself: A 30-day program to help you overcome your fear of failure, caring what others think, perfectionism, addiction to approval, difficulty making decisions, and self-doubt. The program starts on this Saturday, July 26th, 2014 and spaces are filling fast!

Life Is Not A Popularity Contest

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We’re born intrinsically worthy. Every person on the planet – every single baby – is born deserving of love. When we gaze upon the miracle of a newborn, we don’t say, “I’ll only love you if you’re the smartest, most popular person in your school and you attend Harvard one day and become a doctor and marry another doctor and live in a fancy house and drive fancy cars.” No, we love a baby because she exists. We pour love into the perfection of a baby because he’s here. I love you because I love you. And the baby feels loved for no reason at all.

But somewhere along the way, the baby learns that the loving is conditional. Perhaps it’s when he sees his mother’s eyes brighten when he reads his first words at age three. Or perhaps it’s when she hears her father bragging to his friends that … Click here to continue reading…

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The Timeless Spot of Grace

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Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry; an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by god. It is this spot of grace that issues peace. Psychologists call this spot the Psyche, Theologians call it the Soul, Jung calls it the Seat of Unconscious, Hindu masters call it Atman, Buddhists call it Dharma, Rilke calls it Inwardness, Sufis call it Qalb, And Jesus calls it the Center of our Love.

To know this spot of Inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the infinite and by inhabiting it. This is a hard lifelong task, for the nature of becoming is a Click here to continue reading…

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The Gift of Intrusive Thoughts

I like to start every article that I write about anxiety, worry, or intrusive thoughts by saying that I hold a different view than most people about the function of anxiety in that I see it as a gift. I know firsthand how miserable it is to suffer from anxiety, but I also know that when you turn toward the anxiety and view it as a messenger delivering vital information from your inner world that can help you heal and transform your life, you shift from hating the anxiety and trying to make it go away to being able to turn toward it and learn from it. Then, and only then, can the healing begin.

If you’re struggling with intrusive thoughts you’re in a hell-realm of mental agony. A thought arrives, you hook in, and you’re in for the nightmare ride of your lifetime: descending into the underworld of a … Click here to continue reading…

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Travel Anxiety

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In our culture that upholds the extrovert ideal as the pinnacle of a life fully lived, I often hear from clients who share that they often feel shame when they don’t fit the mold. I hear from clients in their 20s who feel like they “should” enjoy going to parties and drinking alcohol; clients in their 30s who feel like they “should” have unequivocal clarity about wanting to have a child; and clients of all ages who fall into the belief that they “should” enjoy traveling.

While traveling can be exciting and eye-opening, it can also be quite grueling, especially for the highly sensitive and introverted temperaments. One of the hallmarks of highly sensitive people is having difficulty with change, and there are few experiences more disruptive than leaving the comfort zone of home, the familiarity of your bed and routines, the place where your roots extend down into the … Click here to continue reading…

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