Do you want to trust yourself?
Learn to Trust Yourself
One of the most valuable lessons in human life, in my opinion,
is learning to trust yourself and listen to your inner voice, rather than
anybody else's. By uncritically accepting the beliefs and opinions of other
people (we know how common it is for children to do this and how much of their
true self they can lose), we renounce our own responsibility and power, to the
extent that we cannot even call our successes our own.
You can probably remember an example from your own life, when
you placed a lot of trust in the ideas and opinions of others only to realize
one day, either in an easier or more difficult way, that they don't have all the
answers and that their truth doesn't necessarily have to be yours. This is a
very important lesson and I believe that everybody needs such an experience,
sometimes more than one.
Many people look for spiritual teachers, and if they find
somebody they like or feel impressed with, they might be ready to take his words
for granted. However, not even the wisest spiritual teachers always have a 'clear
channel' or the correct answer. Even if they did, there is always the question
of whether there is such a thing as an absolute truth applicable to any
situation. If such truths exist, then I believe them to be small in number.
Maybe you have experienced a situation when you felt an inner urge to do
something that wasn't quite attuned to your beliefs, only to realize after some
time that this action created much more benefit for both you and other people
than if you had stuck firmly to your principles. Life is endlessly diverse;
people, relationships and circumstances are unique and our inner voice can
access a much more powerful source of information than our rational mind.
Rules, Rules, Rules
Unfortunately, most religions and spiritual approaches require
you to follow a great number of rules, sometimes very detailed ones, in
every aspect of human life; this doesn't allow much space for listening to your
inner voice and personal truth. I believe that while seeking security and trying
to build self-esteem, through following such rules, we emotionally try to please
our spiritual authority in the way we tried (unsuccessfully) to please our
parents during childhood. If this requires suppressing your spontaneous urges
and feelings, sooner or later you will fail.
Not even the most caring parents are always able to fulfill
their child's needs as, at this current stage of human evolution, most parents
do not have nearly enough love and respect for their child as a human being.
Moreover, parents often lack time and skill, and the organization of society
works for the benefit of corporate owners, and not of families and children.
Hence, the child soon learns that love is given to him only conditionally and
starts trying to earn it by striving to be perfect or, if possible, better than
others. Blindly following any rule as an adult is a subtle result of this
Moreover, many children learn not to trust themselves and their own
decisions, thus, as adults they continue to seek advice and direction from other
people, rather than accepting the risk of making a mistake. This creates a more
or less subtle dependency on external authority. For this to occur, another
aspect of the problem must exist - that of the person who places himself in a
position of authority in order to wield power over others.
Most people tend to trust authority as most of us were taught to
do and, in fact, we are often ready to trust a person who seems to be very certain
of his opinions. If something is written in a book or a newspaper, many
people will automatically accept it without question. While some people who have
a great need for power try to present their ideas as an absolute truth, others,
usually those whose feelings of insecurity are closer to the conscious side of
their personality, can easily be swayed just by the other's self-confident
Benefit of Doubt
The greatest damage can be done by people who are subtle
manipulators. You can often find yourself in a situation where everything you
are told sounds reasonable and correct and it's difficult to find a
counter-argument, yet you still feel that something is wrong or missing. My
suggestion in such situations is to take a moment to really listen to that
subtle feeling in your body, to try to put it into words. Information acquired
this way usually will 'disarm' the person who is trying to manipulate you better
than any rationally thought up argument.
We should accept doubt as a useful and friendly feeling.
Without it, it would be easy to get carried away by an idea and we would be much
more vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation. Doubt motivates us to question
and differentiate between what are sometimes very similar ideas and information.
It's quite normal for scientists, who by definition should have firm proof for
their theories, to have very different and conflicting ideas; old theories are
thrown away and new ones are 'proven'… and how much easier it is to create
theories if we substantiate them with proof created in our minds.
Listen to that feeling 'in your stomach' whenever you read a
book or talk to someone. Still, be aware that a feeling of resistance can be
healthy or unhealthy. Healthy resistance is the one when you can find a reason
for your resistance and disagreement when you examine your feelings; the
unhealthy one is typically irrational, often more suppressed and we can feel it
even if we are aware that everything we read or hear is acceptable and without
Unhealthy resistance comes from activating suppressed
infantile rebellion against authority and its demands: for example a child who
was forced to behave unselfishly before he was naturally ready to develop that
quality might easily develop a resistance towards any encouragement to be
unselfish. If you notice feelings of resistance, explore which words and idioms
are the strongest triggers for it. The difference between healthy and unhealthy
resistance can be very subtle and sometimes both of them can appear
simultaneously. Still, it's possible to learn to recognize them through practice
and familiarizing yourself with your emotional reactions.
Don't take anything for granted. Check the information you are
given, notice the words and idioms the other person is using. Try to think up
reasons why some claims might be incomplete or misleading. For example if
someone shows you the result of a research study, ask yourself what could have
influenced that research to make it insufficiently objective and reliable.
It is quite possible to sound very intelligent even if what we say
doesn't really make sense. Sometimes all it takes is to use a lot of unusual
scientific words in a grammatically correct sentence. Some people who are skilful
with words are able to easily create different combinations of words and make them
sound meaningful, even wise. I have met quite a few such people and you probably
have too. Just for practice, try reading some 'highly intellectual' books, or
listen to similar types of radio or TV shows, and then explore within your body
which words sound to you as carrying a certain depth and which sound like hollow
One way of manipulating people is to draw conclusions from
unproven and unreliable statements. Many people will be too blinded by the
apparent logic of the conclusion that they will not pay attention to the
reliability of the facts from which they were deduced. Even if the person is not
lying consciously - how are we to know that the facts he has are correct?
Since we ourselves are not perfect either, it is equally
important to check our own behavior. However, since self-examination is a topic
of many of my articles we will not focus on it here and now.
Manipulators refer to positive ideals and emotional
aspirations through abstract words such as love, light, truth, spirituality, God
… This often covers up a lack of sincere, rational arguments. Most religions use
high ideals as a cover for deep manipulation and control over people. High
ideals are what attracts people, but the core of religion (or a cult) are all
the dogma and rules that come in the package.
A true quote: 'You must let your
High-Self show you I'm right!'
This is an example of low grade
manipulation - skilful manipulators are less direct.
Some good advice that I was given recently was: if somebody
talks in big, abstract words, check what he wants from you! Some might want only
your approval or admiration, while others might want to take advantage of you in
a much more specific way. Even a simple lack of respect for your own personal
choices and beliefs is sufficiently good reason to be cautious, even if you feel
the person might be right.
Actually, in average human communication it is very rare to
hear something that we can accept as the truth without any reservation. Talking
from one's own limitations and convictions, creating conclusions on the basis of
a small number of examples, selectively adjusting ideas or facts to one's own
convictions or to the needs of the situation, embellishing a story for one's own
benefit (or just for effect), accepting ideas only because they sound nice or
help build one's ego…
There are an infinite number of ways in which reality can be
twisted, even if unconsciously and unintentionally. Keep this in mind while
talking to people you trust - people that you know do not wish to manipulate
you. And regardless of how much you appreciate somebody's intelligence,
experience, wisdom, or even spiritual authority, keep in mind that even this
person could make a mistake at any moment. Not in order to criticize that person
- it is completely unrealistic to expect anybody to be perfect - but rather in
order to stay within your own truth and live your own life, instead of somebody
Coaching with Kosjenka
Plagiarism is theft © Kosjenka Muk, 2005-2017