They say, trust yourself.
Can you? Do you?
If you have a hard time doing so, it’s understandable. It’s a good advice but not always easy to apply. Here’s why:
The thing you are most aware of is the chatter. The chatterer narrates the stream of consciousness. Except no, it’s not consciousness it’s narrating. It’s immediate reaction to whatever you are perceiving. It doesn’t reflect your values. Nope, you can’t trust it.
Underneath the chatter are the feelings. This we experience as a sensation, a charge, an energy. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what it is, but perhaps you can tell whether it’s good or bad. “Bad” feelings are there for a reason. Fear, for example, warns you of dangers it’s perceiving.
The problem is that most of us are carrying a cache of feelings from our past that we haven’t processed yet. So they get triggered when it sees something similar. Say, you showed up with an outfit you thought was cool and someone laughed at you. You felt embarrassed and ashamed, and now your feelings perceive new outfit as a risk. Nope, you can’t trust it. It is an honest, emotional reaction, yes. You can learn something about yourself, yes. But not the source of truth for assessing your situation and deciding what to do.
Underneath the chatter and the feelings is our core. We call it “heart,” “gut,” “knowing,” or “intuition.” This is the part you trust. It’s ironic, though, because a) it’s the hardest part to get to, and b) it’s hard to make sense of. But there are ways:
- Meditation, or rather, being quiet and focusing on your breathing. Thank the chatter and the feeling for trying to help, but pay attention to your breath for a few minutes. And see what comes up.
- Sleeping on it. Sleep is our daily reset. Wake up and pay attention to the first thing that comes to you.
- Moving your body. Go for a walk, do gentle yoga, or even clean a room. Being in motion helps you connect to the center of your being.
- Talking to a fellow human being who can understand. The experience of talking through and being understood is powerful. Even if the other party doesn’t give you advice, talking through by itself can reveal the truth of the matter.
The good news in all this? If your chatterer and feelings are telling you life is hopeless, you don’t have to believe them. They mean well but they do not tell the truth. The deeper the hardship you are experiencing, the less reliable your mind is.
Trust yourself, if you are feeling good. If you aren’t, then dig deep for the truth, which lies underneath your mind.
I’m sure it will tell you that you will live through this.