This month we have arrived at the half way point in the 10 Guideposts of Wholehearted living by Dr Brené Brown. If you haven’t read the first 4, take a few minutes to refer back to my earlier posts.
The fifth guidepost outlined By Brené Brown in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” is Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty.
This month I will start with the ‘letting go’ element of this guidepost – ‘letting go of certainty’. Many of us like knowing what ‘is’ and what ‘will be’ – we prefer to be certain about decisions we make and actions we take. Not knowing leaves many of us feeling lost and fearful and if we listen we can hear this often in the words people use to others and to themselves: “Are you sure?”, “is that a definite?” or “can you guarantee that?” We look for assurances in relationships, in work and in life in general while logically we know that nothing is guaranteed.
Navigating through this uncertainty can be better managed with intuition and faith according to Dr Brown. She defines intuition as “not a single way of knowing, it is our ability to hold space for uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we have developed knowledge and insight including instinct, experience, faith and reason.” And faith as “a place of mystery where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.”
As Dr Brown discusses, one of the main reasons many of us struggle to trust our own intuition or gut feelings is because we long for certainty. We want solid answers and proof before forming opinions or making decisions. Rather than following the part of us that already knows what we want or need, we look to others to make or confirm decisions for us. We look for external validation of what feels true within or we look for external validation because we no longer remember what it feels like to trust our inner knowing.
Dr Brown refers to this as ‘polling’ others for their opinions in the hope that this gives us the confirmation or validation we are seeking.
Cultivating intuition requires giving ourselves space to sit with uncertainty. It requires us to slow down and make time for our own thoughtful judgement. Brené also reminds us that sometimes when we slow down, our intuition may say “yes, do this”, however, it may also say: “we need more information” and when this happens it is OK to act on that.
Trusting faith is another way of stepping into uncertainty. It means stepping fully into life and love despite our unknowns and fears.
Take some time to consider the areas in life where you may benefit from using your intuition and trusting your faith. Ask yourself:
- What parts of your life feel most uncertain right now?
- How can embracing intuition and faith change your relationship with that uncertainty?
It’s not about denying the things you just don’t know but rather changing your relationship with how they impact you.
Until next month!