Trust the Instinct / by Michelle Cowan

Somewhere along the way, I picked up the notion that I should second-guess every inclination. However, life as of late has repeatedly confirmed the validity of my natural instincts. So - why do I resist trusting myself?

It’s difficult to believe in something without outside confirmation. I long for someone or something else to say, “Yes, Michelle, that is the best course of action,” no matter how strongly I already feel that sentiment. How will I know who to trust, what career path to go down, where to live, which shirt to wear, or whether I should run my errands before or after lunch?

Despite my doubts, I have a fantastic track record of predicting which friendships I will want to deepen after only a couple of meetings. I also seem to finish tasks that need to be accomplished on time, without too much stress… except during the process of deciding which task to take on first. I am now trying to remember that, just as I am now attune to when I am hungry and typically what I am hungry for, I know the best actions to take or if there are multiple, equally beneficial courses that present themselves during the day. Somewhere inside me, I contain this wisdom.

Trusting that gift of wisdom is a process. I am continually learning to discern between ego-powered impulse and true, universal intuition. When peace rests beneath the instinct, it’s usually worth following.

Even if I mess up and follow a course that I wish I hadn’t, life has never ended. I approach things with an open, true heart, and if I make a mistake, it can’t keep me down for long. I simply learn. I make the choice and move on. And I must say, Little Miss Indecisive is making some big strides. Who knew I would ever believe that there are no mistakes? Truly.

Now that I trust instinct, I find that my life follows a miraculous sort of rhythm. I end up synching with other people’s schedules and having time for everything. I watch the lives of people who agonize far less about daily decisions and take note of those who seem in tune with something greater. It is possible to follow a natural course, not over-think things, and still live a successful life (though it might not be successful in the way I initially envisioned it).

Growing up, I never conceived that a person could excel and enjoy life without pre-plotting every step. Letting go of my compulsive need to plan and control is difficult, but I’m learning firsthand how healthy and freeing it is to let life take its course rather than remaining chained to the construction of personal forecasts and predictions. If I spend all my time building nets to catch myself in case I should fall, I have no time left to climb the ladders and take the leaps that make living a worthwhile adventure.

Here’s to trusting myself to know when to make healthy preparations and when to release my fears and simply LIVE.