Over the last few years I have gone through an enormous stage of personal growth, it has become my passion and my obsession, yet one of the most difficult parts of this for me has been learning to trust myself.
I have always considered myself reasonably intelligent and have a reasonable sense of self belief, if I saw someone else doing something I always knew I could learn to do it as well. Thing is though in the area of personal growth, spirituality even healing there are only parts of it you can learn. A huge part of it is belief in something you can't yet see. It's taking a leap of faith.
I used to work at a chemicals factory as an electrician and during this time I was working predominantly with men, somewhere in here I had to learn to switch off my feelings. There had been a few times I had felt weak because I had allowed myself to be honest or vulnerable. One time I remember being in my bosses office and telling him exactly what I thought!
So for me to start to listen to my feelings, never mind trust them, has been an incredible experience. Extremely difficult yet so rewarding.
1. The first step for me was of course becoming aware that I hid my feelings, they were rarely expressed other than an occasional rant or outburst, or maybe once I'd had a few drinks I would loosen up a bit and open up a bit more. Becoming aware of something has a huge catalytic affect and leads to a chain reaction of different steps. I'm not sure I was fully aware of this at the time, but I must have been on some level as I started to cut back dramatically on alcohol.
2. I also started journalling, for me this was mainly venting at first, I would write in my journal everyday about how I felt, why I felt that way, who was to blame and why. Not the healthiest writing but it was cathartic just being able to express in someway the emotions, feelings and thoughts that had been hidden for so long as they all started coming up to the surface. It was good to get it out on paper, but I was also having to cope with the overwhelm of feelings as they moved through me.
3. I started asking myself 'how do I feel about this' when given a choice to make. I would just take a few minutes to think how would I feel if I made this choice and how would I feel if i made that choice. Easy things to start with like if I should go on a night out, or what I should have for dinner, or what would be next to do on my to do list for the day. That way if I got it wrong, it didn't matter!
4. I was learning that what my heart wanted was actually better for me than what my mind wanted. The mind always kept me safe and for that I am grateful but it also wasn't a true expression of me. During this time I had to go against fears and rewire some beliefs, I would say affirmations like
'I am safe when I follow my heart'
This was not an easy time and you will need support from groups if you can't get it from friends and family. During this time I kept so much of what I was going through a secret as my confidence was low and i was worried people would think i was a mental case :)
5. I finally learned that when I am honest from my heart and you perhaps let people down in a kind way they don't get angry with you. I learned that you have to be completely honest, even though it may hurt people, as you can't live life as a lie. Hiding and lying ends up showing up as some form of illness (physical & emotional) and makes you so incredibly unhappy.
I am by no means perfect at all of this yet, but I am getting better each day. I was never very good at making decisions in the past, but I am getting better.
This isn't a goal I am ticking off, this is a lifestyle change, a new habit I am cultivating. I am not rushing it as through all of this I have also learned not to put pressure on outcomes.
These steps are a great place to start though and please also read my previous blog on Self Care as this is essential for helping you move through this.