Do You Struggle to Trust Your Own Judgment?

Do you find decision making difficult?

Do you find yourself saying, “But what do you think?” over and over?

Do you assume someone else in your life will have a better or more knowledgeable answer?

It's easy to lose confidence in our ability to decide things about our own lives and to relegate decision making to someone else. This could be because we've lost self-confidence, we've lost the ability to trust our intuition, we've had one or more bad experiences in making a decision and having it turn out badly, or any number of other reasons we've stopped trusting ourselves.

So instead we make lists, talk to people we respect, consult Google repeatedly, or delay making a decision at all.

There's nothing wrong with seeking knowledge or relying on logic. Both are useful and appropriate.

But in that seeking, we so often forget about our own internal guidance system – the one Forbes called the highest form of intelligence: Intuition, the inner voice, or gut instinct. It's tricky to hear with all the noise; even trickier to put much stock in it given the messaging around its utility in a modern world.

We know it's useful though, because we curse ourselves when we don't listen. 

So, here's a few tips for tuning in more:

1. Allow more quiet into your life. 

Become intentional about creating that space. And don't just listen for a voice. Notice your physical symptoms too. Nausea, anxiety or tension may mean that you're uncomfortable with a decision you're about to make, but it could also mean your body is reacting to a consistent pattern of ignoring your inner voice. Start noticing.

2. Allow the resistance. 

Because we're used to so much noise, so much clutter, so much fear, so much second guessing, it takes a while. Work with where you are. This is the core of mindfulness. Acknowledge whatever you're feeling and allow it. Breathe through or into the feeling (allowing it to dissipate), and allow yourself space to uncover (or re-cover) intuition.

3. Build the muscle. 

This doesn't mean you have to act on every big idea that comes to you, but at least pay attention, write it down, or allow yourself to be inspired. Every time you use it and trust your instinct it becomes stronger, just like a muscle. Intuition doesn't have to be a foreboding or warning system, although it can be a literal life-saver. It can also be for great ideas and fun – it's all purpose.

4. Stop trying to force the answer. 

When you allow yourself to get quiet and put yourself in a place in which you allow the answers to flow, they are more likely to. And if they don't, you'll be in a better space to either keep waiting patiently or to trust that you're going to make the right decision, either way.

Turn off the inner critic. It's easy to rationalize the inner voice away because we fear being ridiculed for listening to a hunch or because we've learned that our instinct or inner voice is not as valuable as rationale or logic. Knowledge is valuable and instinct is valuable. Both/and. Let the thoughts that it's not “as good” pass by.

Blog Image: Photo by mahdis mousavi on Unsplash