I am wildly excited to kick off my monthly challenges with April’s theme, “Trust Yourself”. This is a HUGE challenge area for me, which means it’s exactly what I need to dig into here on calming creative. I’m going to start with this key question: Why is it so difficult to trust ourselves and learn to listen to our inner voice?
In theory, it should be the easiest thing in the world. After all, we’re the ones who spend every moment with ourselves–we know ourselves better than anyone. You’d think we’d be closely in tune with what it is we truly need and want and go after it without hesitation. BUT. We wouldn’t be here if it were that easy, would we?
You might be surprised when you realize how often you don’t listen to yourself. As I continue learning and relearning how to trust myself (I suspect it’s a lifelong process) I’ve realized I need to better listen to the most basic of requests from my body, instead of put them off. For example…
- Something as simple as getting up from the computer to use the bathroom might be something you ignore more than you realize. Think about it–have you ever waited an extra 15, 30, 60 minutes to do something like use the bathroom because “you just want to finish one more thing”?
- How many times have you laid in your bed craving a drink of water but not wanting to get up and get it? When you do this, you’re telling your body that it’s not important to listen to and trust yourself.
- The same goes for when you are hungry, tired, need to move, need to sit, even take a deep breath–these all seem fundamentally simple and yet I could fill 100 journals with entries that say, “I ignored that I needed to drink/eat/use the bathroom/go to bed/etc. for 20 minutes while I continued to work on the computer.”
To trust the more complex and creative callings that pop into our brains, I strongly believe we have to practice listening to our simple, everyday needs first. I’m a big fan of baby steps–we didn’t learn to walk by jumping up and striding across the room on our first try, did we?
CALMING ACTION STEP: Ask yourself what simple needs you might put off on a daily basis and take a moment to write down 3-5. Create a few post-its that you can put somewhere visible that say, “What do I need in this moment?” or “Don’t forget to _______.” Post them in your bathroom, on your computer monitor, next to your bed–anywhere that you frequent. Try this for a day or two, and see how you feel. A tiny reminder like this can start the ball rolling on big change.
I like to think about Little Katie when I think about my inner voice, because, well, she IS my inner voice. Little Me wanted to make something? She made it. She wanted to climb a chair to put a video in the VCR? She did it. She wanted some forbidden fruit snacks? She was going to that pantry, dammit. She wanted to write a full-blown musical and perform it in the living room for her adoring neighbors, cajoling her sister and best friend to take part? That’s a story for another post ;-). Someone told her she couldn’t do something? Ooooh, you better WATCH while she did it.
Your inner child, that silly adventurous voice that told you to play and dream and love with wild abandon, might be quieter than it used to be. After all, as we grow up and find ourselves in more complex social situations (school, college, job, relationships), we learn how to compromise and “behave”. I doubt many of you would currently throw a temper tantrum in an Olive Garden because the menu doesn’t have grilled cheese on it–no comment on if I did that as a 6-year-old (…I did). But sometimes we tamp down too hard on that instinctual playful part of ourselves as we grow, and we lose our inner voice in the process.
The key here is: Listen. Slow down. Take a moment, when you can, to ask yourself what you need, and honor that request. Little You, your inner voice–whatever you’d like to call it–trusts that you can do it, that you are capable of great and amazing things. “Great and amazing” today might mean: I didn’t ignore my body when I needed to rest, I doodled in a notebook, and I emptied the dishwasher. Celebrate those tiny wins, and you are on the road to trusting the bigger and bolder ideas that come along.
Give yourself a few days to try the Calming Action Step above as you explore learning to listen to your inner voice, and let me know how it goes in the comments!
I can’t wait to further explore trusting ourselves in next week’s post, Your Journey 5 Years Ago To Now–and it’s most definitely possible that I will go farther back than 5 years because Little Katie is yelling at me to put her in the post too. We don’t always see or celebrate our growth–but maybe we’d trust ourselves more if we realized how far we’ve come. If you’d like reminders as we go along, make sure to subscribe to calming creative below (and get a fun little “Get Unstuck” list freebie for signing up)!
Until next time,