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The Challenge to Trust Yourself

Learning to trust yourself is not part of our classroom offerings. If you're lucky, someone in your life has pointed out the importance of self-trust and perhaps you've acquired it. But it can frequently become an uphill battle against so much of what we're taught.

I just read a blog-post from one of my marketing coaches about how confusing it can be to get conflicting advice from experts. Although he was talking about affiliate marketing guidelines, the situation is more universal, isn't it? You can take any subject at random and find many points of view, many of them conflicting. This can be something as simple as what's the best breakfast you can eat to a larger question such as what brings you success in life.

We all start out in life pretty naive. So we naturally become receivers of millions if not billions bits of "how to-s" about living on this planet. Much of this socializes or acculturates you so that you become a good child/student/employee/citizen, etc. In other words, much of our first two decades or so of life is about learning how to behave. The question is: when do you stop listening to advice from the outside?

You'd be correct to point out that we don't all become "good" people. In fact, there are traces of rebellion in all of us. For some, this negativity pretty much defines their personality. Examples are the delinquents and criminals. But the point is the focus is the same: you either comply or deny those rules of behavior. It's unusual to disregard them entirely and walk the "road less traveled."

My question is: when in life do you have the sense or courage to begin to trust yourself rather than the experts outside you? You might respond by thinking I always trust myself. I usually do what I think and not what others think. Then, how do you come to your decisions? I suspect that even if you think you trust yourself, your values and beliefs by which you decide on anything doesn't originate with you but reflect your upbringing. In short, when you are making decisions you are probably relying on what you've been taught is "right" or "best."

On the other hand, if you hear and move to a different drumbeat, you must trust yourself. By not moving along the traditional paths of life you're removing yourself from influences that determine the choices of others.

When I read about Steve Jobs' life yesterday I realized that he was certainly a traveler along his own path. By doing so, he changed our world in so many ways as countless have acknowledged in the last 24 hours.

I know that most of us don't see ourselves as someone like Steve Jobs. But that doesn't mean that we can't follow important principles from his life. One of them, I'm suggesting, is trust of self. If he didn't have this, he wouldn't have traveled his unusual unique path.

When we veer away from conventional wisdom we may fear making mistakes. But how many times have you heard successful people say that you need to make mistakes? Why? Because if you're not making mistakes, you're not making choices or taking action. Importantly, you learn from making what you judge as mistakes. And if you have the attitude that everything is about learning rather than not making mistakes, you'd be moving along in your own journey.

What is more, if you're not trusting yourself, you are probably governed by fear. If you're not making mistakes, it's fear that stops you from acting. It's not a pretty picture, is it, to think about living a life defined by fear.

Somehow we need to find the courage to strike out on our own and learn about self-trust. Have you ever heard someone tell you that this is one of life's lessons? I haven't been told and I think that we spend a lot of time avoiding this challenge. Now that you've heard it by reading this, what will you do? As Lao-tzu said: "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." In this case, it's not ever knowing self-trust.

I've been on the professional track for most of my life as a teacher, psychologist, healer, life coach and author. Recently I veered off into internet marketing for the different landscape it offers. My first project has been launched: Who knows how this journey will continue? For me what is important is that I'm learning to trust myself more and more, and that has been gratifying.

Anne K. UemuraFeature Articles, Ph.D.

Article Tags: Trust Yourself, Making Mistakes

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Anne's experiences as a psychologist, life coach, healer, teacher and author provide the background for how she's chosen to write to the Internet world. She invites you to learn about what veering off her traditional path has resulted in at

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