Focusing Tip #723 – “I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know what to trust”

Focusing Tip #723 – “I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know what to trust”
September 30, 2020 Ann Weiser Cornell
Can you trust your feelings as a reliable guide to action? Read on...

Focusing Tip #723 – “I don’t know what to do, and I don’t know what to trust”

Can you trust your feelings as a reliable guide to action? Read on…


A Reader writes:

Everyone I know is stressed about the [US] election. I feel so overwhelmed about all that’s happening – the virus, the polarization, the fires in the West – that I feel like just staying home and skipping the whole thing. But if I say that to my friends, they yell at me. I really don’t know what to do, and I don’t know what to trust.

Dear Reader:

These are very difficult times. There is a lot of disruption, a lot of uncertainty. What we can usually be sure of is up in the air.

Of course it is hard to know what to trust. I want to say: Good for you for being aware of that, for being aware of your feelings of overwhelm and your urge to stay home and skip the whole thing.

I’m sorry your friends yell at you. I bet they do it because they too are feeling anxious and overwhelmed… but I know it doesn’t help.

Here’s what I would like to say to you: You do have a reliable guide to action. But it’s not your feelings.

It’s hugely important to acknowledge our feelings. We need our feelings. But actions need to be based on something more than our feelings.

In Focusing we talk about an “inner sense of rightness.” You were born with it. It’s part of having a body and being alive.

When we see, for example, a vulnerable person getting hurt, it violates our inner sense of rightness. Another name for this is “organismic valuing process.” We have values that are based on our living bodies. For example, our bodies know that kids are supposed to be loved and cared for when they are born and after.

What we know often doesn’t happen. But that doesn’t make it less true.

Here’s what I’d suggest you do: Take some time. Acknowledge your feelings. Be gentle with yourself.

Now sense under your feelings. This is the place of intuition, of valuing. What do you deeply know?

When you deeply know what is right, you can do even things that are scary or uncomfortable, like stepping up and taking action… because you can trust what you deeply know.

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