Trust and truth – often talked about, often intellectually understood, but how often can you consistently say you trust yourself and trust in the timing of everything happening in your life? Whether you are working toward a dream, have been hit with something tough, have a million balls in the air, are frustrated that things aren’t happening soon enough, have experienced a lot of success, and / or are simply desiring to not hold on to everything so tightly- this one’s for you.
As a whole, we as human beings tend to not be great with uncertainty. We are conditioned over and over again to believe that growth and change are linear, and that you set a goal / vision a dream, make a plan, pick a deadline, stick to the plan, and then voila! Meet goal. Chances are you’ve experienced times where that has actually been true. I’m guessing you’ve also experienced plenty of times where that has absolutely not been how things happened. Either the goal wasn’t met, the timeline was way off, or things happened in ways you hadn’t even imagined possible.
Regardless of your experiences, I want to acknowledge that it’s one thing to know intellectually that you could trust the timing of it all (maybe while also secretly trying to formulate the perfect plan that can’t possibly fail), and another thing to KNOW it, all the way down into your bones and cells, and to operate from that space of trust and ease in all of your day to day moments.
Trusting in the timing of your life, your goals, your dreams, your experiences is a daily practice and process. Here a few things to be aware of that can sabotage your efforts and the antidotes / practices to try in order to start creating that deep trust within yourself.
1. Hidden Expectations
Trust and surrender aren’t really things we learn how to do growing up. Neither is consistent transparency. Oftentimes when you set a goal, or are going through something and choosing how to respond, there are a whole host of hidden beliefs and expectations at play. These expectations often come from culture, conditioning, and what has become familiar to us.
This totally happened to me when we decided at the beginning of this year that we were going to move to San Diego. I immediately went into “let’s do this as fast as possible” mode, and tried to force the move to happen before we were ready. It created a lot of tension and frustration, and when I actually looked at why I was doing this, the hidden expectation I was working with there was “if I want something badly enough I should be able to get it right away”.
I’ve also had this happen when trying to start new habits. “Of course I’ll just start meditating tomorrow and then do it every day for the rest of my life. That’s what everyone says I can do.” (for example)
Antidote: Name The Source
First is really being able to name the hidden belief or expectation in place. Once you know what that is, it’s time to go a step deeper. Where did this expectation come from?
With my first example, I had read so many books and done so many courses about manifesting and new age principles that I had (unknowingly) taken on the belief that a “good manifestor” can generate what she wants instantaneously. I had absorbed so many stories of miracles and receiving things out of the blue that when that didn’t happen for me all the time I thought I was somehow flawed or a failure.
With the second example, I was subscribing to the idea that habit building is entirely linear and that it’s simply a manner of willpower that I got from the wellness industry, productivity books, mindset trainings, and more places I’m sure.
When you know the source of your hidden expectations, you can re-evaluate and recognize you are free to do it your way on your own timeline.
2. The Trap of the Perfect Plan
While intellectually you may understand that there is no perfect plan, there can be something so seductive about researching, making a plan, researching some more, tweaking the plan, trying to get everything exactly right, attempting to account for every possible jam or detour you may encounter – sometimes even before you get started. This can lead to an all or nothing way of being- either you have to do everything exactly right according to the plan (whether it’s your plan or a program or system you are following), or as soon as you don’t or it doesn’t work out immediately it’s set aside as a fail and you’re on to the next plan. Planning gives us an illusion of control, and can sometimes take so much energy that you forget to actually act on the plan or you end up rigidly sticking to the plan no matter if it’s actually helping or not.
Antidote: Make space for your intuition
Sometimes the answer is “just get started”. Only when you are in action can you tell if something is off or needs adjusting. While in motion and implementation, creating space to check in with your instincts and cultivate a relationship with your intuition is an amazing way to deepen trust in yourself and in what’s happening.
Kind of like when you have your GPS turned on- it will pre-plan a route for you, but you can’t receive next steps until you actually start moving. And while you’re moving, your phone is constantly checking in with a satellite to determine if this is still the right course of action. Sometimes traffic shifts or you make a wrong turn. No big- the GPS recalculates.
That’s like your intuition in action. Consistently checking in and monitoring if this is still the best approach, the best action, the best moment for you. That way you can both keep refining and tuning to what is right for you AND you can be aware of when a shift or change is needed in your plans.
3. Fight, Flight, or Just Control Everything
When stressed or anxious, some people go into fight mode, some run away, some freeze, and others get overly controlling and default to micromanaging and nitpicking (both themselves and others). If uncertainty makes you anxious or not knowing when / if / how something is going to happen brings you stress, really pay attention to if you go into control and hyper-aware management mode. Sometimes the illusion of control can feel soothing, and often it can be a distraction mechanism to try and ease the discomfort of uncertainty, the unexpected, or warding yourself against disappointment (or other feelings).
Antidote: Continuously ask yourself, “what CAN I control?”
Remind yourself what you CAN control. Hint: It isn’t other people, the weather, how fast things will happen, your emotions, or really most of the things we try to control when in stress mode.
What you CAN control is how well you set yourself up for resilience and how supported you feel in the process of receiving, feeling, going after, or dealing with whatever is up in your life. Ask yourself action-oriented questions that will help create a sustainable, rooted foundation for you, even during uncertainty and stress. Some example questions:
What will create ease in your body? What activities and actions restore you and fulfill you? How can you use your energy toward something creative or generative? How much sleep are you getting? If you’re having trouble sleeping, how can you move your body to release excess energy? How are you eating? Are you getting enough water? What have you been putting off that’s adding to your stress? What can you take off your plate – either delegate or let go? Where can you add 5% more space?
What you can control always comes down to what you are aware of, how you approach any given moment, and how you take care of yourself throughout everything.
4. Stuck on an Image
Our culture is very image-focused. Industries try to sell you an image, and it can get really easy to get caught up in it. From losing 10 pounds so you can feel confident at your office holiday party to certain types of cars or homes that prove you’ve “made it”, even if you know these aren’t really what’s going to create confidence or happiness, sometimes we fall into this way of thinking without even realizing what we are doing.
One thing I find that really trips people up around trusting themselves is getting caught up in what something is supposed to look like- whether that is an emotional process (grieving, for example), an Instagram-worthy snapshot in your mind, or how you think you’re going to feel and experience yourself when you hit a certain goal. If you’ve gotten attached to a projection or image of how something is supposed to be, it can feel like a betrayal or at the very least feel jarring and out of sync when it doesn’t show up in that way. Or, you may hit your goal and it looks “right” on the outside, but it didn’t actually give you what you want.
Antidote: Be clear on what you’re REALLY seeking and experiencing
No one thing is going to give you what you want. And often when you have the image, it comes with more complexities than a vision or a promise. When you get clear on what you really want from something, or allow yourself to be really clear of what’s present in your experience, it creates so much space to both allow things to happen and to help you deal with the complexities and nuances that arrive.
One thing I’ve been clear on for a long time is that I wanted a little white fluffy dog as a companion (a bichon frise, to be specific). I just love them. They are so freaking cute, cuddly, and playful, and I wanted a buddy to hang out with me during the day while working from home. I also in full transparency wanted a creature to take care of and to love to help me with some of my grief and sadness.
A month ago we adopted a rescue bichon frise mix who’s a little over a year old (and a brown tabby kitten, because, why not?). She is everything I was hoping for – cuddly, cute, playful, loving, something to take care of, providing companionship – AND she has trauma from wherever she was before, which adds layers of difficulty to things like potty training, leash training, socialization, leaving her at home, etc.
Does she provide adorable Instagram stories and hours of entertainment? Absolutely. But in certain moments I’ve felt completely overwhelmed and wondering if we made a terrible mistake. I’ve had to ask myself many times if having her is truly going to create the future we are desiring. Being able to honor the love and magic while also honoring the “wtf are we doing” has helped to both make the choice to keep her and to relax into knowing that everything is working out in the right time.
5. Getting Roped into Drama
Sometimes if things feel a little stuck, uncertain, or overwhelming, it can be really easy to direct that energy elsewhere and worry about other people or things, getting caught up in other people’s energy and drama. Conversely, sometimes when things are going really well, you’re accomplishing and receiving your dreams, nothing is “bad”- if you’re used to stress / anxiety / drama, it can feel a little boring not to have it and it can be easy to get distracted by either other people’s drama or to unconsciously seek out something to worry about.
This often happens when you are either really out of trust and seeking a certain type of energy hit, or you are starting to feel trust and in flow and it feels unfamiliar (whereas the drama actually feels familiar, even if you don’t like it). Drama and worry and creating stress can obviously derail efforts and throw you off track with trusting timing and trusting yourself.
Antidote: Get present and pivot
When you notice yourself stuck in a cycle of worry / drama / anxiety, whether that is constant fretting or stirring up trouble or something similar, as soon as you are aware of what you’re doing pause. This is an invitation to get present with what’s really going on – in your body, mind, energy, and habits – so you can step out of the drama and make a choice for what you really need. When you get present, you can be aware of everything that’s there to take you out of your body, take you out of trust, take you out of the path you are creating. Sometimes we don’t even know there’s something hidden until we take a step back. That step back plus awareness is key, and provides feedback on what action is required next from you so you can be back in the flow of trust, intuition, feeling, and consistent movement forward.
Trusting in the timing of everything happening in your life is a daily practice and a process. It’s a continual choice to be present, to connect with what’s true for you, and to work on ultimately trusting yourself no matter what. Be on the lookout for these things and practice the antidotes as often as possible in order to move from conceptually understanding trust to actually living it and being in it.
By the way: This is exactly the kind of thing we get into extensively when you work with me privately. If bone deep self-trust is something you’d like to create in your life and you’d love some support in becoming a master of these practices and antidotes, along with really stepping up and claiming what you desire, let’s chat about about the possibilities.