Men. Can’t trust ‘em. Women. What a crazy breed, can’t trust those cats at all. We all know you can’t trust a teenager, or a politician, or in-laws or Canadians. How about corporations or the government or hipsters? People with little dogs? People with big dogs? Cat people? People with no pets at all? How about neighbors who don’t mow their lawn? Are they more or less trustworthy than people who have animal shaped hedges? Churchgoers? New Agers? Hunters? Marketers? Drinkers? Purists? Strippers? Parents? Boomers? Vegans?
It’s important to know who you can and can’t trust, right? What do you draw on to discern such a thing?
Our judgments and past experiences often get lumped into our future projections. Generalizations can be hard to avoid. Heck, I’ll be wary of someone just because his teeth look like that ex-boyfriend’s of mine who was such a disappointment. But was the problem how untrustworthy he was? Or was I failing to trust myself and stop that train-wreck before it began?
We’ve actually got amazing perception skills. I’m often curious when someone’s surprised by something going sideways when they’ve been sharing their uncertainty the whole time. The girlfriend who’s shocked that her guy cheated on her. But didn’t you bust him lying to you like five million times before that? The friend who’s dumbfounded that his boss is withholding severance. But haven’t you been disgusted about all the ways in which he was unethically billing his clients?
When we’re blindsided or betrayed, when we find that another is not acting in the way we think they should, it’s common to feel victimized by their less than trustworthy ways. It’s easy to metabolize these experiences and conclude that you don’t know who or what you can trust.
But what if we dig a little deeper? What if we dug into our own wisdom? Wouldn’t we find twinges and whispers? Wouldn’t we recall moments that tugged on us and said, something is off here darlin’, pay attention. What are those bits of wisdom?
Our own wisdom can come through in many forms, the little tugs and pokes and urgings to wake up come from more than just what our brains try to discern. Let’s explore…
These are deep body feelings that often don’t come with content. Something is off or it’s on. Someone feels threatening, or safe. Maybe you don’t even have those words for it. Maybe there are no words, just a stirring feeling. I can remember so many significant times in my life when I’ve ignored a deep ‘no’ within me. Because it’s just a feeling, because it has no rationale, because I can’t articulate what’s off, I plow forward. Or I’m moving too quickly, am too attached or dug in. And other times, all rationale points to no. But deep within is a yes and moving towards that yes opens and lines things up in unimaginable ways. Learning to trust our own gut wisdom can often come from the agonizing consequences of failing to do so. Yes, no, maybe so because my body is saying something that needs my attention.
The feelings I’m feeling are an elegant compass I must pay close attention to. It’s amazing how much negation occurs when it comes to how we feel. Similar to the gut, the irrationality of the heart can be so easily dismissed. So many times I have felt that I shouldn’t feel the way I feel. And yet how I feel can be a megaphone for how things are going. Is my heart opening here or closing? Am I feeling excited anticipation or am I contracted with anxiety and fear? Emotions can be confusing and many of us have had the experience of our hearts leading us astray. And yet, and yet, if you listen deeply, beyond the surface fluttering of rising and falling feelings, there’s a depth to heart wisdom, a deep longing that exists and what we’re up to and who we’re engaged with touches that, or not. We know. Deep deep down in the heart beats, we know.
This is where the elegance of the past challenges really comes into play. We’ve been here before. But this time it’s different. Or is it? We draw on the wisdom of our mind by drawing on our experience. Not the generalized, ‘I can’t trust those jerks,’ kind of experience, but the small and clear moves that can protect ourselves and others by bringing clarity, communication, structure and agreements. Our mind respects what it knows, what it’s seen and moves forward with eyes wide open. When we trust our mind’s wisdom, we don’t need to set up a blockade, we just need to draw on the shimmering clarity that’s already there when we can quiet all the nattering and questioning on the surface.
Trusting our own wisdom allows us to move forward
If we can better trust those inner stirrings, if we can trust ourselves to feel them and heed them, we needn’t try to crack the formulas of who we can trust and who we can’t, we could simply wake up to what’s happening in our experience and honor it. That means setting boundaries or asking questions, that means clarifying or testing out the waters or taking a step back or taking a chance or a leap. Whatever it is we do though, our compass is coming from within rather than trying to deconstruct the behavior of another or the circumstance, analyze intention or predict the future or outcome. We’re not striving to be in control because we trust our Self to show up for what’s happening. The more we can rest in the truth of our own knowing, the more we can align ourselves with people and circumstances that support our deepest longing and calling.
Chela Davison is a professional Integral Coach™ with a fierce commitment to abolishing suffering. She’s most interested in a world where we each get to express our deepest purpose for the sake of our collective growth, expanding hearts and ravenous spirits. Her writing and coaching aims to connect deeply and intimately with fellow humans to bring the fullness of who we are forward. Follow her on twitter and like her facebook page!