How I remembered to trust myself

Some graffiti a few blocks down the road from me that now serves as a frequent reminder.

Some graffiti a few blocks down the road from me that now serves as a frequent reminder.

Hi, I’m Lisa, a long time collector of quotes, song lyrics, good metaphors and positively motivating phrases. I’ve always been that way - even before I became a life coach a few years ago. My old journals are crammed with inspirational snippets beginning at about age 12 up until probably yesterday. Sometimes it’s been a challenge to not fall fully down the life coach cliché rabbit hole and have an entire Instagram account full of feel-good quotes. I can’t help it! I love the positivity of it all. 

That said, most of the time when you hear a good aphorism it may feel really right on in the moment but it soon gets filed into the back of your mind whereupon you go about your day, bobbing and weaving around the normal human amount of stress, disgruntlement and negative self-talk. 

But every now and then someone says something inspirational or uplifting to you and it’s like a bell ringing. Even if you’ve heard it a million times before, this one time you hear it and it really resonates. It could be the simplest of things but it pierces the veil or the fog or whatever it is that we armor ourselves with to get through the day and it sticks. This happened to me recently and I’ve been using it as a flashlight every day since.

Those of you who follow my blog may remember that last spring I performed in the musical “Guy and Dolls.” I wrote about it here and reflected that among the many reasons I loved the whole experience was that it got me out of my comfort zone and kept me challenged - especially with the dance numbers. Doing musical theater again was all part of my plan to keep growing and aging “audaciously” so this year I decided to go for it once more with the Woodland Park Players production of “Anything Goes” and it turned out to be another magical experience. First of all it’s Cole Porter so that’s a win right there. The community and camaraderie was the best. The songs were great, the dialogue was funny and overall it was very light-hearted. But goddamn it was a lot of dancing. 

I set an intention to be patient and kind to myself while I tried to learn the choreography but struggled with slipping into old thought patterns. Things like “This is too hard. I’m directionally challenged. Everyone else is picking this up except for me,” were some of the kinder things I said to myself. I would be so focused on watching what everyone else was doing that I was barely even in my own body. During the dance numbers I often found myself in full on “compare and despair” mode and that was no fun at all.

One night at rehearsal a few weeks before opening night I was really having a hard time. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights because our director (the fabulous Harry Turpin who is also the choreographer) decided to employ a different kind of direction with me. He patiently explained the dance moves in terms of how each one metaphorically told a part of the story in the song. This turned out to be an incredibly effective tool in getting me to understand and remember the moves. At the end of his explanation he  looked at me and said, ‘Lisa. Just trust yourself. If you trust yourself you'll be surprised at how much easier this will be.”


For weeks afterwards I couldn’t stop thinking about that simple phrase, “Trust yourself.” It’s one of those things that people say all the time. I say it to my clients regularly and I know I say it to my kids as well. I’m sure there are a couple of quotes hanging around in those old journals journals of mine that are all about trusting oneself. But for whatever reason this time was different. The bell rang. It got through. It became my mantra and within a week I was much more confident. By opening night I pretty much had my moves down.

But the best part of trusting myself was that it allowed me to be fully present which made the whole thing much more fun!

Yes, I’m sure I did make a few mistakes but I didn’t clobber myself over them and I just kept going. Remembering to trust myself was liberating and I remain really grateful for Harry’s words and for the whole experience.

I’ve since been regularly trusting myself in other parts of my life as well. As an eldest child and a long time rule follower, I sometimes forget that trusting myself over all else will always be what guides me best. This includes simple things like listening to my body in yoga class and using blocks or other props to help me in a pose instead of trying to do what everyone else is doing so that I “do it right.” And it also includes life-long issues like having overall trust that I am good enough, lovable enough and just plain “enough” and that I’ll still be ok - even when I do mess things up sometimes. 

Because here's the thing: things do sometimes go wrong when you start trusting yourself more. But they can go more wrong and can even stay wrong when you trust yourself less. So I invite you to take a leap of faith in yourself. You might be surprised and delighted in the result.