My dear friend, role model, and New Dimensions guest Robyn Posin says, “When others are interpreting, analyzing, advising or directing you – they are really only communicating what they believe would be appropriate for themselves were they in your situation. Remember this if you choose to hear their views… Remember, too, that in the deep knowing place inside of you, you are the world’s best and only authority on you! Practice listening inwardly instead of outwardly!”
I know this is very good advice. There are moments when I’m faced with some choices in my life and often the last place I go to find the answers is to look inside. I go to friends, or the I Ching Book of Changes, or the internet. I go any and everywhere but inside. These places are not bad per se, but if I don’t also use the tremendous power of my own inner knowing then I’m missing a big piece of the puzzle.
I wonder why I avoid looking inside. Is it a habit of my thinking I’m not enough? Is it the deeply grooved assumption that others know more about who I am and what I’m capable of than me? Is it my tendency to go for the quick fix rather than taking time from the cacophony of my life to be quiet enough to listen to my inner voice? Is it lack of practice in this deep listening? Or, all of the above?
One thing I know for sure is that we all know our own bodies better than any doctor. This personal experience helps me to begin to change my habits. We all know what it feels like to be in our own skin and it behooves us to become articulate in describing what that is like to our health practitioners. They have tests they can run, they can take our vitals, they can check our reflexes, but they don’t know what it is like to feel what we are feeling unless we tell them. In years past I would listen and explicitly follow the advice of my doctor no matter whether it made sense to me or not. But now I find myself being a much better advocate for myself. I’m learning to describe my symptoms to my doctor and to insist that he or she take me seriously. Nobody knows me better than me.
And now it is time to apply what I’m learning about my health to other parts of my life. It is time to give up exclusively following the tempting opinions of others and take hold the reins of my own life. I ask the question of you. Where are you on this spectrum? Are you a strong advocate for yourself or do you more easily give in to doubts when others express their opinions? Do you have confidence in some areas of your life but not others? If so, which ones?
—Justine Willis Toms