- Merrily Hope
It's all about trust!
“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” -Dr. Benjamin Spock
I have been looking at this sign for 12 years in my private office, but always walk right past it. I hung it as a reminder for my students to trust their knowledge and their studying, but it is really an important reminder for all of us. Spock originally said this to young parents to remind them to trust their instincts…and it started getting me thinking about all of the areas in our lives that we need to expand a little more trust.
It is hard to trust. Not necessarily because we have been hurt or have a history that causes mistrust, although that can be true for some. We are naturally conditioned that if we maintain control, things will be done to our liking. You’ve heard the phrase, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” We make many of our decisions from a place of fear, rather than trust. We fear something won’t be done right, we fear our children are going to screw up their math test, fail tenth grade, not graduate from high school, and live with us forever. We fear that we are going to make the wrong decision and miss out on a better option. Instead, I propose we have a little more trust! Trust in our children, the universe, ourselves, and our intuition. Eckhart Tolle said, “Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life and see how life suddenly starts working for you, rather than against you.”
When you are riding a bike, if you hold on super tight to keep control all the time, your hands will start to hurt. If you loosen up, just a bit, you feel a physical sense of relief. You can start to look around and actually appreciate the ride. You might fall, but if you rely on your sense of balance, and your experience riding...you probably won’t.
When we trust others, specifically our children in this instance, we are giving them a gift that inspires them to step up, because they feel compelled to live up to the expectations we have laid out for them. They rarely disappoint. As our children get older, we enter a shift. When they were little, we had to hover and keep them safe. It is very, very hard for some parents to allow this shift to take place, where we no longer hover, but instead guide.
With each phase of childhood, we are supposed to let go a little bit more. Suddenly we allow them to pour the Cheerios. We teach them how to stop, look, and listen, so they can cross the street alone. Then they become teens and we panic. We forget sometimes that we are supposed to let them learn and take over the control. We helicopter and micromanage. However, when we give them space and trust, they rise up. Imagine your boss comes to you with a dilemma and sets in it your lap to handle. What do you do? You rise up. You certainly don’t throw your hands up...you have been entrusted, so you accel at the task. The same holds true with our kiddos. Remember, you raised them. You have been teaching them all along. Let them rise up! Their confidence then snowballs, and they become more capable.
When they screw up, because they will...you want them to come to you instead of hiding from you. You want them to know you are on their side and you are here to help. They will do this if they know that you want them to succeed; That you will continue to trust them, even if they make a mistake...as long as they learn from it.
Here are some beautiful and empowering phrases that can be used to open up this new level of trust.
Do you want my advice?
How are you going to handle this?
I know you can handle this. I’m here if you need me.
I’m giving you some rope here, don’t hang yourself with it. (Borrowed this one from my dear friend, Lisa.)
When we hold them back is when they struggle to be free and rebel. Think of the butterfly example I’m sure you have heard at one time or the other. If you catch a butterfly and hold it tightly, it will struggle to be free. If however, you open your hand, it will sit there without struggling.
It is also wise to remember that many of our rules and struggle for control comes from fear. If we allow ourselves to be ruled by fear, we would never allow our children to drive, or go off to college, or go on a date. We have to trust at some point. Trust them, trust their judgment of character, and trust the world in which they live. Trust them...they are more capable than you know. This is not a full carte blanche. This is allowing them freedom within boundaries that you feel comfortable with.
What does this have to do with Mom Care? If you are able to allow your children more space, you can focus a little more of your attention and space on yourself. That provides the beautiful opportunity of modeling, which then propels them toward even more greatness.
The second area where we can expand our trust is in the universe. How many times have you simply placed your trust in the universe or God, and kind of thrown your hands up and said, “It’s all you!” and it has worked out?! Or it has taken a turn that then worked itself out in a different way? “Your faith in the universe must be stronger than your fear of not getting what you want.” Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass.
If you think about a time that someone trusted you, you may remember feeling more forthcoming in your effort. This same thing holds true with our trust in the universe. If we say yes to opportunities and challenges, we are trusting ourselves enough to know that we will figure it out! We are trusting the universe to put us in the right place to get what we want/need, or in a place to learn valuable lessons. We say no, often as a knee-jerk reaction, and often out of fear. What if we were to say yes and trust that everything will work out the way it is supposed to? Alternatively, if we are holding on so tightly to control, the vibration surrounding us is that “I’ve got this and don’t need help.” If you change your vibration to one of trust and seeking help, the universe, or God, or your higher vibration will step up. Shonda Rhimes wrote an awesome quick read called The Year of Yes! I highly recommend it as an inspiration to challenge yourself to let go of control and trust that everything will work out.
We often trust others and their experience more than we trust ourselves. I don’t know why that is! Every trip around the sun brings with it immeasurable experience. That is why so many cultures rely on their elders for advice. In seeking their advice, we are leaning into the wisdom of experience. Why are we not leaning into our own decades of wisdom? I love hearing suggestions from others. It is how we learn. It is why you are reading this now. The trick, however, is to take the wisdom from others and turn it over in your mouth like a fine wine. Keep the parts that resonate with you and spit out the rest.
No one knows your kids and yourself better than you do. So rely on that experience. Don’t discount the wisdom from others, but trust what you have learned along the way. As soon as you embrace the fact that you have unlimited access to the one who knows you the best, you can stop searching outwardly for direction, and instead rely on your own inner compass. “If you can learn to hear, trust, and embrace the wisdom that lives within you, you will be able to confidently navigate your life.” Madisyn Taylor, DailyOm.
This may be difficult at first, especially if you were raised in a family where answers were provided for you or you were taught to go look for the answers, rather than come up with them on your own. (This is why trusting your children and allowing them to think for themselves is so important!) If you struggle, think about times that you have listened to your own inner wisdom and it has worked out for you! This is where meditation comes in. You have the answers within...you just have to learn to quiet your mind and listen. A couple of great exercises in listening to your inner wisdom is by first asking yourself what you would tell your best friend to do? Additionally, spend some time compiling a list of your most essential values. Using them as a compass will help you make decisions. If you continue to come back to those values as anchors, you will know that whatever decision you make is in alignment with your values and cannot be wrong.
Finally, we must learn to listen to and trust our intuition. “Our intuitive sense is strongest when we place our trust in it. There are times when it is easy to disregard the messages we get from our intuition -- our minds can talk us out of anything. But, when we feel confident in ourselves, it is often because we have decided to let go of our rationalizations and instead listen to our intuition.” Madisyn Taylor, DailyOm.
Trusting yourself is trusting your mind, your wisdom, and your decision-making ability. Trusting your intuition is trusting your gut... believing that your inner guide will keep you safe and lead you. We have all had an experience where we got a distinct feeling that we should not be in a specific environment. Perhaps it was a tingle or an overwhelming sense that we should turn around. Our intuition talks to us all the time. If we learn to quiet ourselves, stay in the moment, and remain mindful, our intuition will lead us every time. I leave you with one last suggestion. When you are feeling overwhelmed, and you just don’t know what to do, ground yourself (refer to my prior Podcast or newsletter to remember how to do this.) Once you are grounded, be quiet...you will know what to do, every time!