4 Exercises for Developing Self Trust

31 Mar

After finishing my first yoga workshop today titled, “Trust Your Gut: An Introduction to Arm Balances and Inversions” I am elated and inspired by my students who showed up and took the leap into trying new, challenging things. Attempting something new and different is never an easy feat because an element of the unknown is always at play. What if I fall? What if I can’t do it? What if people laugh at me? I always tell my students that the mat is an excellent place to get to know yourself. If you do fall (and you will), what is YOUR reaction? How do you respond to even the tiniest mistake or “failure”? Do you dust yourself and get back in the saddle, or do you throw the saddle into a bonfire with a big “F YOU!”?

Attempting something new, challenging and different takes self trust. I believe that deep down inside, every single person knows what is best for them but we are constantly being told by outside sources what to do and how to do it. From a very young age we are told by our parents, our peers and by society how to act, think, feel and look. These messages throw our internal compass out of whack, so it’s no wonder we grow up seeking affirmation, approval and guidance from others when it comes to making decisions, big or small. All of this outward approval seeking alienates us from our internal guide, the one that always knows what is best and what we truly need. Ever had feeling about something but ignored it and did the opposite, only to kick yourself later for not listening to your gut? Call it intuition, call it wisdom, call it your True Self, or even call it God…but whatever you call it, it’s time to start listening and living your life by its guidance instead of others’. Because as Goethe says, “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live”.

Steps to building self trust:

1. Shut out the noise. Turn off the TV, get off the internet (yes, even this blog!), turn off the radio and put down that magazine. In a world where all we see is matchmakers on TV telling us how to attract a mate, voices on the radio telling us we need Botox, and people on the internet telling us how to earn more money (fast!) it’s hard to hear yourself think, let alone hear your internal guide. So turn it all off and take a noise break.

2. Do something that scares you. In my last post, I talked about using fear as your ally. Are you afraid of making a major change in your life, be it a new job, move across the country, leaving a relationship or joining the circus, because you worry about what other people will think? If that’s the case, then it’s almost imperative that you do it anyway. Once you take a risk and realize everything turned out okay (and in many cases, way better than you could have ever imagined), then you learn that listening to your internal voice pays off.

3. Get off the self-improvement train. It’s everyone’s birthright to become fully actualized and reach their maximum potential, but sometimes we just need to take a step back from all of our self improvement efforts and chill. Are you feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to be thinner, greener, happier, calmer, more centered, a better parent/spouse/friend, etc.? The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and often all of our efforts to be the best we can be hinder us from being who we truly are. 

4. Know thyself. Socrates was on to something when he said this. You don’t have to spend your life in a cave mediating to accomplish a certain level of self knowledge. Just take some quiet time to get reacquainted with yourself every now and then (a yoga class is a great place to start!). Knowing what you are good at, what your values are, what inspires and delights  you and what unique spiritual gifts you have is an incredibly empowering practice. Once you do this you realize that your are truly one-of-a-kind and nobody but you can know what is ultimately best for you. Everything you have ever needed to know exists within you.

I once heard someone say that your decisions shape your world. Do you want to live in a world shaped by others or do you want to live in a world that supports and upholds your true self? Only you know what is best for you, so learning to listen to and trust your gut is the best way to fulfill yourself and make your presence known in the world.

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