I believe that on my list of life lessons, one of the most challenging is learning to trust myself. It sounds silly to say it out loud, but I’m not talking about solely the ability to trust that I will get things done or a trust in myself to do the “right” thing according to my moral code; it’s about trusting that when I feel good about something or someone I need to trust that over what anyone else says, and conversely, if someone or something feels bad I need to trust that also.
I used to trust myself implicitly, and as a result, my life was easier than it has been recently. Things ran according to my mental plan and rarely was I disappointed in my experiences. I might choose to do something differently the next time I had the opportunity, but only because I wanted a different experience. Why did I stop trusting myself? Because I disconnected from my heart in order to “get things done.” More on this later, but the short story is; life threw me some curve balls, and I had to become the primary income earner, primary caregiver for my kids and primary CEO (Chief Everything Officer) in my family, and I allowed a change in role to distract me from my intuition — the very thing I needed to stay in touch the most.
As a result of this “feelings blockade,” I’ve come to question my feelings, second guess my knowings and consequently, have a tougher road than I know I could have. The awakening…this week was a tough one with my oldest teenager who is wrapping up her Junior year of high school. Lots of end of year activities with a child who feels old enough and wise enough to be making every decision in her life. Several things happened this week highlighting, again, what happens when I don’t follow my intuitive feelings. But it all came to a head when my daughter was lobbying, again, to drive to the beach the morning after prom with her boyfriend. Not lobbying hard, but stoically waiting for an answer as to why I was saying, “No” (I gave her plenty, by the way) or to just say, “Yes.”
1) You’re not an experienced driver and you have to do all of the driving
2) The closest beach is 1 hour away and it’s yucky, all other beaches are 3+ hours each way.
3) Because I’m the mom and I said, “No!” dammit!
This went on for about 45 minutes before she looked at me and said, “So, all I’m hearing you say is that if I go to the beach I’m as good as dead.” Well, that wasn’t really what I was trying to get across, just that it was one option in a laundry list of reasons that I had — really good reasons, too! But her comment stopped me in my tracks. I was not adequately conveying my message nor was I reaching her with reasoning in spite of my well thought out offensive. All I knew was that since she first brought up the beach a week prior my heart was clenched. I mean, buckled down, can’t breathe, rock in the place where my heart should be clenched. I could think of a list of other things they could do that didn’t make me feel this way.
Through tear filled eyes I looked at her and said, “What have I taught you since you were little?” She replied, “To follow my heart.” I really welled up at that point and said, “Well, if I follow my heart I have to say, ‘No’ to the beach. I cannot give you a reason that will make sense, all I can do is tell you it makes my heart hurt.”
With that, my very wise daughter looked at me and calmly said, “OK, we won’t go to the beach.” I asked her why she was being so obstinate when I was giving her really great logical and parentally sound reasons why I didn’t want her going to beach? She replied, “Because none of those felt like a reason to me.”
Interesting, I thought. I have ignored my intuition far too many times in the past two years, all for making the “sound, right or most logical decision.” Sometimes based on my own past experience, sometimes based on the experience of others, but in the end, none of those divergent paths felt right to me either. Now I’m making some course corrections — when it feels right.