How to trust yourself (when you don’t)

Maybe you constantly second-guess yourself.  Maybe you feel “crazy,” that you are your own worst critic.  That you care more what other people think than what YOU think.  That everything you want is probably bad for you.  That there is something intrinsically flawed in you.  That you can’t trust anyone, really, least of all yourself.

But the thing is, you were born trusting yourself.

You reached for what you wanted.  You joyfully 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 yourself, your clarity, and your 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.

So, today I want to speak on how to trust yourself again when the truth is that YOU DON’T — and you are not convinced you should even try.

It comes directly from my forthcoming book, Feminine Genius: The Provocative Path to Waking Up and Turning On the Wisdom of Being a Womanavailable for pre-order for one more week, I’m delighted to say!

First, what is “the script?”

Oh, you know the script alright; 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.

The script is a noose around the neck of your soul.

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?”

One afternoon, I sat in a lecture on Vedic Tantric philosophy, the guiding principle behind many forms of yoga.  The word 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 the holy power that animates all of life), but are in fact interwoven with God.

Many world religions see humans (and often 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.

Regardless of the name you use to call God, Feminine Genius, like her Vedic Tantric cousin, kindly reminds us that 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, with what YOU feel, and with what YOU 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; it will keep you on your path and is actually key to helping you get where you want to go.

No script can ever teach you how to be the woman you are aching to become, but your Feminine Genius — your body, intuition, desires, and soul — can.

2.  Antidote for “the forgetting.”

Just as I realized back in that afternoon lecture on Vedic Tantra, you can REMEMBER that 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, saying, “Welcome home, love, welcome home,” and will always kindly remind you, “You are already home.  You are already holy.  You are already loved, AS you are, BECAUSE of who you are.”

REMEMBER:  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 passing clouds or your own belly button, helps you REMEMBER.

Now your turn. Come tell us about your “first-guess” and your “second-guessing” — what they feel and sound like to you.

To your Feminine Genius,

PS:  Over my 14 years teaching and coaching, I have seen over and over and over again how women in deep mistrust of themselves learn again to truly trust (and even love!) the very parts of themselves they assumed would lead them to ruin — and then the personal fulfillment, meaningful work, sweet love, and everyday courage they experience thereafter.

This is at the heart of my book, Feminine Genius.  I can’t wait to share it with you.  And I can’t wait to see what you look like with the inner light of self-trust (your “Feminine Genius”) shining from of your every pore.

Photos by Wendy K. Yalom Photography