Underdog Is My Spirit Guide: Lessons in Self-Trust

It was a beautiful day on the equator, particularly on this stretch of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and everywhere I looked the flowers were blooming in splendor. It was also hot, and the direct sunlight was intense. Although it was the wet season, it was uncharacteristically dry.

Although our trail leader was forced to return to camp with another hiker, a friend and I decided to complete the 8-mile, arduous hike to a regional waterfall. We were climbing a particularly steep portion of the trail. The incline was so steep in places, that I would scale 5 steps, then rest for 10 breaths. I repeated this sequence several times.

At one point during the climb, a silly quote from Underdog (the movie) popped in my head. “Use all four paws, you’ll go faster.” I laughed, and then I did. I used my hands and feet to scramble up that mountain. I clawed, scratched, and grabbed the trees and shrubs. I felt the warm, rich earth beneath my palms. I used that earth (and my palms) to hoist myself up the canyon, and back onto more level ground.

What does that have to do with self-trust?

That hike was a good reminder that our bodies and our memories hold a great deal of wisdom. Life is hard, and at times, we aren’t sure which way to turn or what to do. But, if we can take a moment to breathe, to reconnect with our inner animal, our natural wisdom will come to us. Our bodies are intelligent, strong beings. And so are we.

Sometimes when experience fear, undergo chronic stress, or face the unknown, we forget our inner strength. We forget to use all the tools at our disposal. Trust yourself. Many times, we know how to take care of ourselves, and how to help ourselves. But we have been programmed to look to others for answers or to expect immediate answers. It takes time, and it takes courage to trust ourselves for the answers.

So, what can you do to build self-trust? The next time that you are plagued by self-doubt, challenges, or fear, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I been in a situation like this before? What did I do to help myself get through it?
  • What would I tell a friend in this situation? Can I use that advice for myself?
  • What is my wise mind telling me? How can I use both my thoughts and feelings in this situation?

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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