Oh, the what-ifs…
I’ve received hundreds of queries over the years that reflect some version of 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?”
“What if I turn inward and discover a deep, dark truth about myself that I’ve been in denial about my entire life?”
‘What if I take a course on self-trust and I open a box that I can’t manage or close?”
In short, 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” so that they can grow self-trust – is because they’re afraid of what they’ll find.
My first response is to offer reassurance: I’ve never seen someone in a loving, compatible relationship choose to leave after turning inward and developing self-love and self-trust. 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.
I’ve also never seen people find the courage to turn inward and attend to the next layer of healing and discover a deep, dark truth about themselves that demands that they blow up their entire life. That’s the Hollywood version of inner work; it’s not real life.
These are understandable fears, however. Is it scary to dive down into the dark caves of psyche with one small headlight strapped to your head? Yes! Is it easier to continue along in the safety of an unexamined life? Absolutely. It’s scary because when you turn inward you’re traveling into the unknown, and highly sensitive people prone to anxiety are particularly scared of the unknown. In the absence of known factors, the anxious mind will cast stories about worst-case scenarios if only because grabbing onto something feels more certain than diving into nothing.
When you’re considering the next layer of inner work and these questions arise, the first step is to name them for what they are: defense strategies that are trying to keep you safe. Next, it’s helpful to douse them with a good splash of truth-water, and hang on to what I’ve seen in over twenty years of doing this work, which is this:
When you enter into the next layer of restoring self-trust and self-love, the barriers of protection that prevent real love from flowing naturally start to soften and your 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.
The same is true outside the realm of relationships. When you grow more self-trust and self-love, you become
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 lived somewhere else or with someone at all or living in a different house or at 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. (For more on this subject, see our recent Gathering Gold episode on Escape Hatch Fantasies.)
The more you accept this – that you, and you alone, are responsible for your well-being – the more you learn what real love 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 affects 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.
This is what we’ll be learning in the Trust Yourself course: 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 true safety and freedom live. I teach a gentle yet powerful roadmap in the course, and you’ll be held every step of the read. So if you’re ready to edge self-doubt out of the driver’s seat and experience more safety and freedom, come join us.
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 17th round of this course starts on this Saturday, March 5th, 2022, this is one of my most popular courses, and spaces are filling fast!