blog, fear

Latent Lollygagger: Self-Trust

Good morning, blog world. I woke up this morning after a few too many snooze alarms, and it took a moment to remember: oh, it’s Tuesday. Blog day.

And it’s one of those mornings, I come down to my desk, scroll through my list of ideas because I don’t have one immediately on my mind, and spin my wheels wondering what to write about.

I then turn to my notebook, open to a free-writing session I did yesterday. I’m part of an online community led by Jen Louden, which she brilliantly calls the Weekly Oasis. She records an audio of inspiration and prompts, which I’ve been sitting down with every Monday morning as a way to reflect and plan. This week’s theme was self-trust, and I smiled to myself as I read what I wrote, knowing that by trusting myself, I would find the words this morning. I always do, somehow.

One of the prompts was, “The thing about self-trust that feels difficult (challenging) is…” and I’d like to share my response in all it’s unedited, rambling glory

The thing about self-trust that feels difficult, is as soon as I start to think about it, self-doubt creeps in and I second-guess myself – should I even trust myself in this? Who do I think I am, what am I even doing, being creative, speaking my truth?

It’s like a cloud, or a rainbow: as soon as you want to get close enough to touch it, it disappears.

You can’t realize, that you’re in the middle of it.

It’s hard, though, for those of us who are analytical, logical planners. We like to have something more tangible, something we can grasp. We like to have all angles considered and scenarios mapped.

We like to be ready.

When does this planning become second-guessing? Become self-doubt? For me, it’s when I’m convincing myself I need more formal training, more time, more money, I just need to wait until next year, I need another pair of eyes on this, what if there’s a mistake?

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting the rest of our lives,” wrote Lemony Snicket. (The wisest lessons often come from children’s books.)

Self-trust is what lets me stop waiting even though I don’t feel ready.

It’s not a spontaneous, erratic push into the unknown, diving into something blindly.

Nor does self-trust take away the fear of the unknown that I’m always facing, or the chance I might fail.

Instead, self-trust is knowing somewhere in my gut and bones, that I’ve learned what I can, that I have it in me, based on the preparation I’ve done and the life I’ve lived and the resilience I have to face challenges and come out the other side.

It’s standing on a cliff, knowing the jump and the plunge into the water below will be glorious, but my heart pounds, anyway. Because it’s normal to be scared. It’s part of the process. Overcoming that fear—doing it, anyway, in the face of that fear—even makes it more sweet.

Self-trust is knowing that it will be sweet (even in failure) even when my brain is screaming, “Nooooo you’re not ready” and I’ve convinced myself that the leap will be fatal.

And yes, the minute I try to conjure that self-trust in a tangible way, wanting it to be something I can cling to like a parachute, something that I can see and identify, it disappears into self-doubt. The minute I tell myself that I trust myself, I open the floodgates of trying to convince myself I’m not ready.

So it seems there’s also a bit of self-faith that comes with that self-trust: faith that the trust is there, bubbling under the surface, urging us to do scary things and lean into the discomfort, and that we can only be ready once we take that leap—not before.

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