Most of today’s stresses and strains in life boil down to one thing: the inability to trust oneself.
When we are young, we automatically learn to imitate others. It is a natural instinct we and every animal on the planet have to rely on in order to survive.
But there comes a point in our lives, when we are adults or once we have mastered a skill, that we need to drop the tools we have and learn to think for ourselves. This is where many people struggle because we have spent so much time imitating others in order to fit in, that we are fearful of diverting from what we have learnt and experimenting with something new.
I have found when I have stepped out and done my own thing, the most amazing things have happened.
Many people thought I was mad when at the age of 27 I decided to leave what many thought of as a “successful” career and move to Thailand to study meditation and Thai boxing. I say ‘successful ’ because although I was very good at what I did, I hated it. I had no idea where my new path was going to take me, but something inside told me to trust myself, not to worry and everything would be OK.
As a result, the most amazing things happened. It is almost as though I unleashed a power from within. My life went from being dull to the most exhilarating adventure ever. Ever since that decision to change, to follow my heart and live life by my own rules, every single day I have woken up in the morning excited and looking forward to what life has to offer.
Another thing that has taken me a long time to trust myself with is the treatments that I do.
I have been working as a massage therapist and acupuncturist for many years.
When you learn these skills, there are a specific set of protocols that you learn and stick by. And this is what I have done. But in the last 12 months or so, despite years of training, I have branched out on my own and started incorporating what I feel is the best way to heal. I have incorporated new ideas into my treatments, experimented and bought new, modern equipment to complement and improve on the structured teaching I had previously stuck to.
The results have been amazing and I have noticed far better result than ever before. Dropping the protocol and trusting my own instincts has really taken my treatments to a new level.
And I think this is what in Zen is often referred to as mastery. Dropping the teachings and learning to trust yourself and your own instincts. Learning to let go of what you believe you should be doing and going on your own personal journey. Because that is what makes us unique.
It is often a hard thing to do. Why? Because we are often programmed in life to follow a set of rules and regulations unconsciously and dare not divert from them.
We try so hard a lot of the time to fit in when in fact we were born to stand out.
Standing out means criticism. Standing out means not worrying about failure but embracing it as a part of success. Standing out means having the strength to trust yourself and not just blindly following others.
It is important to learn a set of skills from a teacher or instructor, but remember that they are are also just following a set of rules that they have been instructed to live by too. And the person that taught them probably did the same.
But I have found the most joy in life has come from learning to think independently and trusting my instincts.
Because at the end of the day, the only person in the world that knows what is right for me is me. Nobody else.
The people all around us like to think that they know what is right for us, but a lot of the time they tell us just so we will fit into their plans.
So play around, experiment with life. Try new things and see what works for you. Try and let go of the protocols and trust yourself.
Maybe you will notice the same magic that I have.