What to trust? Always a question. As time goes on, I’m learning more and more to listen to myself and trust my own internal knowing. This morning, I looked at the weather app on my phone and found this:
What to do with this? In this case, an obvious and easy solution-I looked out the window, and found mostly cloudy.
Other times, it’s not so easy. What’s right for me? There are always plenty of external influences weighing in on that from the obvious-someone I know stating their opinion directly or the myriad of media influences. Less obvious, and more insidious are those things that we’ve absorbed without necessarily being conscious of them. In shrink language, these are called introjects. Stuff we’ve swallowed or absorbed from our culture or family of origin, often early in life. That can be a real driver of choices that may or may not actually be what is truly right or good for us. A simple example occurs around foods. My father didn’t like spinach or fish, so we didn’t have much of it growing up, and the mostly unspoken message was that these things weren’t good to eat. Trying them later on, served at school or elsewhere, I discovered that I like both of these just fine. Food is easy, what can be more challenging are social standards, who “we” are and how we behave.
I recognize that over the years, I’ve absorbed a lot of introjects around helping, and adjusting one’s plans to the needs of others. Of course, some of that is right and good, as we do live together, and paying attention to what’s going on matters as does the wellbeing of others. That said, between growing up with parents who did a lot of community volunteering, and then being a physician with all those nights on call, followed by being a trauma therapist, I’ve been well-trained to attend to the needs of others. I haven’t exactly been a doormat, but I haven’t always honored myself over the years. I don’t anticipate ignoring other’s needs, but I do hope that I balance that attention with awareness of my own needs and desires.
Part of what I want to do in my retirement is listen more closely to myself. Do what’s right or interesting for me, whatever it is that “lights me up” on the inside. Doesn’t matter if someone else wouldn’t make that choice, if it harms no one, then its likely right for me. Trusting me. Looking inside for my own path, and outside to check the weather. Always important to used the correct tool for the job. I expect that I have plenty of learning and self-listening to do.
Written for the A to Z blogging challenge “T” and today’s ragtag daily prompt of doormat.