So, you’ve done the hard work. You’ve let go.
Now what? So much emphasis is placed on the first part of this equation. Nobody knows how long it takes to get to the second part, though.
Make no mistake. It takes tremendous courage to get to the point of releasing those emotional demons. They’ve had a hold on you for so long. You may not even know what it could feel like to break free.
Where’s the Safety Net?
Here’s the thing, though. No safety nets are guaranteed. Just like Indiana Jones, you need to have that “knowing.” Leap – and the net will appear.
Easier said than done. Along with courage, it takes a lot of faith to make these jumps – whether you’re ending a bad relationship, changing jobs, contemplating a move or setting healthier boundaries around friends or relatives who take advantage of you.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines faith as “a strong belief or trust in someone or something.” The more you practice this strong belief, the stronger you’ll get. Repetition is the key.
No Longer and Not Yet
To paraphrase singer Rod Stewart, “the first jump is the deepest.” After that it becomes easier.
There are entire books devoted to this topic. In “Jump … And Your Life Will Appear,” author Nancy Levin charts a course along the murky waters of deciding to make a change, taking the first step and navigating the challenges. Levin encourages us to honor that space between “no longer and not yet.”
Who Do You Trust?
The person you need to trust first is yourself. “But I’m my worst critic,” you may say. The flip side is that no one can be as consistently supportive of you as you can be.
This may sound like a foreign concept to you, although being kind to yourself increases self-confidence and lessens your need for external approval.
“Everyone in your life has the potential of betraying you,” explains Cynthia Wall, a psychotherapist in private practice in California. “They may leave. They may pass away. They may lie, cheat or treat you rudely. They have the ability to disappoint you in many ways.”
While you can rarely count on anyone else 100 percent, this doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to isolate yourself or harden your heart. It does stress the importance, though, of being able to trust the one person you know you can count on: yourself.
Speak Kindly to Yourself
When you bash yourself, whose voice are you really hearing? A controlling parent, teacher, coach, boss or someone else who sent you the message that you weren’t good enough?
Don’t think you’re the only one. All of us have experienced phases of not feeling good enough. The silver lining is that this is a behavior you can greatly reduce.
The next time you make a mistake and hear an old negative tape in your mind such as “I’ll never get this” or “I’m such a loser,” catch yourself and substitute some healthier tapes. “That’s okay. It was a small slip-up.” Or, for those larger boo-boos, “Yes, that was a big mistake, but I’ve learned from it.”
Give Up the Need/Excuse for Perfection
Self-trust doesn’t mean you can always count on yourself to say the right thing – or to make the right decision.
It’s not about being perfect. It means you can trust yourself to overcome a slip-up and move on.
Honoring the Space
If you’re in that in-between stage, embrace the space between “no longer and not yet.” Reflect on what has brought you this far. Savor the lessons you’ve learned. And trust that the next steps will be revealed.
Cue the singer, Gloria Gaynor: “I will survive.”
Chance are, you just might thrive!