Next time you have to step off into the unknown, tune into the voice of your intuition. It speaks to you from the purest place, knows the truth of who you are and can lead you to the answer that's right for you. Masters know that no matter what anyone else says, their own best guide is within. Here, how they developed that faith in themselves and exercises to help you tap into yours.
I say the universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers.
What is your life whispering to you now?
My grandmother used to tell me, 'Sister, Mama don't know what she's going to do. Mama is just going to step out on the word.'
Maya Angelou's grandmother relied on her faith to see her through times of uncertainty. When you don't know what to do, what helps you navigate away from that feeling of being stuck?
Oh, denial, denial; it really ain't just a river in Egypt. It's the paradoxical state of knowing something without being conscious of it. Denial evolved to sustain us in impossibly stressful situations—if you've just lost a loved one or a limb, you can keep fighting or running if you don't absorb the enormity of that loss. But denial—like many stress responses—often outgrows its natural function. Many people can live in a state of denial for long periods, even when they're not in danger. Then, denial itself becomes dangerous.
Most of us are in denial about something. We know that we're spending too much, eating too much sugar, letting moodiness strain our relationships. But we ignore that knowledge as we shop, munch or snap at our children. We split into two people: one who knows the truth, and one who pretends not to. The word "integrity" means being one consistent thing. Being two things? That's called "duplicity." It destroys trust and confidence, undermines our good intentions and our health. Wisdom is largely the willingness to be consistent, knowing what we know, feeling what we feel and doing what we believe is right.
We split into two people: one who knows the truth, and one who pretends not to.
Symptoms of Truth-Fearing
Trying to overcome denial can be baffling, since denial hides itself from the conscious mind. To spot it and heal our internal contradictions, we must look for symptoms like these:
If you're bedeviled by negative emotions you can neither control nor understand, or if you consistently do things you consider wrong, you're probably hiding from a truth. The medicine you need is honesty. That's why rehab is all about telling the whole truth and why abuse victims begin healing when they "tell." Even extreme trauma can be healed by honesty, while even small lies are poisonous.
Emerging from denial requires two things: a safe place and a compassionate witness. Therapy offers both, so if you can afford it, get it. A 12-step group, religious leader or trusted friend can also help. You can even provide your own safe place and be your own compassionate witness. To start, answer the following questions in order:
It's crucial that after answering the first three questions, you offer yourself the kindness you identify in the last two. From this compassionate stance, you'll begin to see ways to cope with the truths you've finally accepted, asking for help when you need it. This is the way to move into healing integrity. No matter how scary the truth may be, it really will set you free.
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