Is there something you really want right now – like, to be in a loving partnership, run your dream business, or feel welcomed into a loving circle of friends – BUT you’ve been hurt in the past and are scared to put yourself out there again?
I hear this over and over from clients – they’ve been burned badly and are afraid of winding up back in the same situation.
How will they know the next guy won’t use them and break their heart like the last one? How can they be sure their next creative venture won’t fall flat too and leave them more in debt? Can they know for sure that the friendships they dream of actually do exist?
The problem is that after we’ve been hurt a bunch, it’s easy to stop trusting in ourselves to make the right decisions – to see through a new lover’s lies, to know the next right steps in business, to discern whether people are good company or toxic.
If you’ve lost faith in your own judgment because of one or even a few bad experiences, don’t worry. You can learn to hone your guidance system and regain confidence when it comes to making wise decisions where it counts.
The next time you enter any new, important venture, try these strategies to minimize your risk and ensure the best possible outcome:
1. STAY AWAKE –
It’s easy during the initial excitement of a love affair or creative project to be in a sort of fantasy trance where red flags are overlooked and inner wisdom gets ignored.
So during the beginning stages of a new relationship or other important endeavor, commit to regularly (1-3 times a week minimum) speaking with a friend or therapist, and/or writing in your journal, about how you feel in this new dynamic.
Some questions to explore are: Do I feel a sense of scarcity or desperation in this – like if I don’t do X, Y or Z, it could all fall apart? Do I feel insecure and question my thoughts and feelings after speaking with this person? Is my world becoming unbalanced, where I’m forgetting to spend time with my loved ones or taking care of my body and need for quiet? Am I being my best self in this situation? Is the communication among everyone clear, honest and respectful? Are my boundaries being honored – by me as well as the other person/people involved? Am I being pressured in any way to do something that feels uncomfortable for me?
Your heartfelt answers to these questions can help you discover some potential danger spots, or at least give you indication that it’s important to slow the pace down, which brings us to my next recommendation….
2. SLOW DOWN –
Very few people can make a wise choice with only general information and few details. Moving fast ensures you’ll miss important considerations that are critical to making good decisions.
So slowwwww a new relationship down – wait to sleep together, wait to move in together, wait to get engaged. Or if you’re trying to decide on a business course of action, give yourself as much time as possible before giving an answer.
You need time to gather details and understand the situation at a deeper level. You want to do your research where that is called for, and you need time to watch how the other people involved are going to act during times of stress, how they’ll treat you when you say, “no,” and so on.
I know that slowing things down can be one of the most difficult things to do when excitement is high, but it’s also extremely important in helping you make decisions that will ultimately take you where you want to go.
3. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY –
We often hear advice that tells us to listen to our heart, and that can really be wonderful. The heart has a brilliant intelligence all its own. But when it comes to a new relationship or important business or financial endeavor, listening to our heart can be confusing for some of us and lead us into trouble. This is because our heart is naturally expansive and focused on connection.
Fortunately, we have other intelligent resources as well. It may sound strange, but our other organs have different concerns (like safety, stability, empowerment, etc.) and deserve to be part of the conversation.
A coach taught me this trick years ago when I was dating the man who eventually became my husband. We were in the early stages of exploring our connection, and the attraction was powerful. But I didn’t know him all that well and was concerned that sleeping together too quickly could change the way we felt about each other.
So my coach encouraged me to always check with my less sexy organs whenever things heated up. Was my liver ready to be intimate with this man? Were my kidneys? Whereas my heart always said YES, these other organs let me know when I didn’t quite feel the trust and safety necessary for me to take that step.
Listening to my body in this way helped me move at a pace that kept my sense of self and personal power in tact.
4. CHANGE YOUR TERRAIN –
Do your personal work, especially being sure to address the unconscious patterns that may be running the show underneath your everyday awareness.
Chances are that the last situation(s) that went poorly involved a number of old, buried beliefs and stuck traumas from the past. The best way to make sure similar scenarios don’t recur is by doing the inner work that dissolves the trapped stress from your nervous system.
My client Amie is a perfect example of someone who did this. She deeply longed to “find her tribe,” a circle of friends she’d feel at home with.
Unfortunately, every time she settled into a new group who had the potential to be this community for her, one or two of the women would become threatened by her and start a nasty rumor. Amie had been through this three times by the time we met, and she was super skittish forming new relationships with women.
So we began doing some deep work and discovered that her great grand aunt (great grandmother’s sister) had actually been a courtesan for some of the most powerful men in Philadelphia. She had also been shunned by most of the women in the town – including her own sisters.
Amie was unconsciously carrying that burden for her ancestor, and after we helped her to respectfully and lovingly return the burden to her, Amie’s relationships with everyone felt different. She found it much easier to have a sense of comraderie and sisterhood with the women she met.
Shifting that unconscious dynamic naturally freed her up to have the kind of pleasant experience of friendship she was always wanting.
You are totally capable of having a great life, and that means moving forward and going into some areas that might feel scary. But these practices will help you navigate them in a way that puts you in charge and leaves less up to chance and/or other people’s agendas.
What area do you need to step back into in order to go after your dreams? Leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to encourage you.