Am I Trustworthy?
“I was having a riding lesson with a new trainer that I didn’t really trust. I was an inexperienced rider so I figured I just didn’t know any better. As I was transitioning to the canter, I lost my balance and fell off. The horse stepped on my leg. I’m still riding, but I haven’t been able to canter again.”
A coaching client seeking insight and support around her fear of cantering shared this story with me. I am an avid horse enthusiast, not a riding instructor or a horse trainer, but as a facilitator and coach I frequently work with people who are stuck. As I listened to her story, the word “trust” jumped out at me. “I didn’t really trust him.”
When I asked her what she believed led up to the fall, she got stuck on all the external factors. “He pushed me too fast.” “The horse was too hot for me.” “I wasn’t ready.”
But whom did she not trust? Really?
Yep. You guessed it. She didn’t trust herself. If she had trusted her inner wisdom, the fall would not have occurred. If she had trusted herself fully, she would not have denied her own feelings of uncertainty about the trainer. She would have made an alternative choice. Maybe it would have been to find a new trainer or request a different horse. Maybe it would have been to say, “I’m not ready to canter just yet.” Any of those would have altered the end result.
Trusting ourselves first can be difficult, so instead we tend to override the voice in our head or the feeling in our gut. We hand our power over to others. How often have you said, “I wish I had just listened to my instinct?”
Recently I parked my car on a street in a nice quiet neighborhood for an overnight stay with friends. As I hit the lock button on my car, I got a weird feeling. The thought popped into my head that this was not a safe space for my car. I paused, looked around, and judged myself as being silly. I grabbed my bag and went in for a wonderful evening with friends. In the morning as I was preparing to go lead a workshop, my host came in from outside and said, “Beth, I’m so sorry to tell you your car has been vandalized.”
The police and the neighbors who’ve lived in the area for years all said, “We just don’t see this kind of activity in this neighborhood. This is really rare.”
Meanwhile I was wondering, “Why did I not trust my own inner wisdom?”
If there is one thing that has served me so well in this lifetime, it has been my practice of trusting myself. When others question my moves or my strategies, I am able to be clear about my journey based on the guidance I find within.
I started trusting my inner wisdom when I was raising my daughters and like so many moms, I felt inundated with advice and books and then later, the Internet. All this information fed the “should’s” and “must’s” and “don’t be silly’s” that come up to override inner wisdom. They clouded my confidence to trust myself first. I quickly learned that it was best to not block my inner wisdom, but instead to let the chatter go. And lean into, instead of deny, myself in the role of expert in my own life.
Sometimes this path leaves you open to questioning from others. Sometimes you have to stand your ground in the face of peer pressure. And sometimes you have to set boundaries with others.
How many of us have heard, “You can do it” or “You’re just nervous” or “The only way you’ll learn is to do it” or “You should…”
We especially tend to deny our inner wisdom if we are still holding onto messages from childhood, “You’re a baby”, “ SCAREDY CAT!”, “Sissy!” or at times, “Stupid.” But our body, particularly our heart and our adrenal glands, is there to serve as an internal compass. Our body sends us messages and guidance to help us. Learning to listen and interpret those messages is the smartest thing we can do.
So, the big question of course is, how did I help my client?
I suggested that she stay in her comfort zone, walking and trotting, until she felt the inspiration inside herself to canter. Perhaps it would be soon or perhaps never. It doesn’t matter. It is her journey and experience.
If she lets go of goal or the “should” and listens to her own feelings and internal wisdom, one day she’ll likely realize, “I’d really enjoy cantering right now,” and off she’ll go.
I encourage you not to dismiss, numb or override the messages your body sends you. Instead, sink in, feel them, acknowledge them and embrace them. Become the trusted leader of your own life. It is such a wonderful ride!
P.S. Hey SLO friends and clients, I will be sharing how I learned to tap into and trust my own inner wisdom particularly as it relates to medical pathways. Join me at on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 to speak at Spirit Winds Physical Therapy’s Educational Evening from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for this powerful discussion and strategies to begin trusting yourself. Contact Spirits Winds directly for more information. I will have copies of my newest book, “An Everyday Guide to Joy and Abundance”.