Not long ago, I was slow poking down a narrow backstreet.
And, as can happen if I decelerate, I got clear on something. I have made 100 rules to better myself: Check phone less and meditate more, only eat when seated, workout first thing. And I have broken 100 rules.
Then, the big whopper, I will not rule myself into a better human being.
I turned onto a little side street with small wooden houses painted in stately olives and creams trimmed with brassy purples and crimsons. I know that if a friend came to me sad over how she treats her body, I wouldn’t pummel her with rules. I would rub her back, listen close, ask gentle questions.
It is time to do that for myself. It is time to reclaim trust in myself, trust which dissolves the need for rules.
We are born with self-trust, I am sure of it. Trust that we can learn to walk, even though last time we tried, we fell more than stepped, and trust that we can learn to talk, even though nobody understood the last words we said.
But there’s little modeling for self-trust and plenty for self-mistrust. I can’t trust myself at that bakery! I can’t be trusted with money in my pocket. I’m the kind of person who starts things and never finishes them. It becomes normal to switch off our faith in ourselves and make harsh rules to keep ourselves in line.
Wait, though! There’s some diamond in this rough. I walk very slowly now, looking like I’ve lost something. I haven’t though; we don’t lose our self trust. It’s still in us, buried under all that crummy modeling and conditioning like beautiful earth buried under plain old pavement.
How, then, to peel back all that separates us from ourselves? I think we can start by rubbing our own back, listening close to our own selves, asking gentle questions. Decelerating.
So on one narrow sidestreet or another, I made not a rule, but a resolution: relearn to trust self.
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