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Table of Contents 10th April 2010,
This Month's Article: Let your Instincts Work for You
Tip of the Month
What's New on the Website
Let your Instincts Work for You
Before the brain became the sophisticated organ it is today, humans lived their lives in a much more instinctual and visceral way. Today we marvel at what minds can conceive and achieve, but the wise also pay attention to their instincts which can reliably inform, keep them safe, and perform some tasks more quickly and effectively than mental thought processes.
Anyone who has a hunch or premonition will tend to say ‘I feel…’ rather than ‘I think that….’ Or they may say ‘I just know that…’ Thinking is a cerebral activity associated with the brain in one’s head. Feelings are experienced in a more diffuse, all over way and are more rooted in the body. They can be felt both as physical sensations or emotions.
When you get a gut feeling about something or a flash of instant knowledge, your instincts are working, and they are trying to help you. Let’s say for example, you have plans for a business venture which on paper looks like a sound idea, but you have nagging doubts. Your instincts often pick up information at a subtle level outside of your conscious awareness so they are worth listening to. If you decided to be guided by your feelings and to act on them in this example, and did not go ahead with your business idea, you may find out later that the decision saved you considerable inconvenience or money, or that something even better came along.
People generally think that instincts are a good thing, and desirable to have. Some are curious about this facility. Others love to tell anecdotes about times when they had a gut feeling and it paid off. However, there are two main difficulties that people have with following their instincts. The first one is that many are unaware of having any to follow, and the second is centred around how they can trust them. We will deal with these two issues in this article.
How to get your instincts working and trust them
One of the conditions that makes it difficult for your instincts to make themselves felt is the continuous flow of mind chatter that goes on in most people’s minds. Communications from your instinctual side cannot easily be picked up by you if you are constantly engaged in doing or thinking. So if you want to stimulate your instinctual side, you will need to make some space and introduce stillness so you can become aware of the messages your instincts are giving you.
The easiest thing to do is to set aside five or ten minutes at a regular time each day and sit quietly, or take a peaceful walk alone. Mentally state that you are making yourself available to receive anything your instincts might be wanting to communicate to you. You can use any of the meditative techniques to centre yourself and focus your mind. Simply lighting a candle and focusing on the flame will do. At the end of the time, thank your instincts for being present. Do this even if you didn’t ‘get anything’. When you start to make room for your instincts and honour them, they will respond.
Instincts work in their own time. You may get nothing at first when you sit with the intention to receive. However, you may be in the middle of doing something else when it happens and you get the sudden feeling, the idea or presentiment out of the blue. Your instincts begin working for you because you created time and space for them, but it doesn’t mean they will work on demand or when you choose to sit and be quiet.
Trust in your instincts grows as your relationship with them does. If you ignore what they are saying to you, they will give up and go away again. When you seek to develop a working relationship with your instincts, they will respond in kind. Do use your cerebral powers of discrimination by all means, but as you follow the guidance of your instincts or feelings more and more, and experience the benefits, your trust will grow. As this happens you will be able to live more instinctively and your life will be made easier by this added resource.
You can enhance the process by recognising your own yes/no signals. Once you have got your instincts working, think of people and places that you trust or like and note the feeling this gives you. This might be a sensation in your body, an emotional feeling, or a state of mind. That becomes your ‘yes’ signal. Then think of someone or a place you really don’t’ like or trust. The feelings that arise become your ‘no’ signal.
When you have established your yes and no signals you will be able to consult your feelings and instincts in a more direct way by asking for a yes/no answer. Your instincts are subtle, so don’t expect them to be larger than life in the beginning. With practice you will be able to read them more easily. You may make some mistakes at first, but persevere in the small stuff and as your relationship with your instincts grows, you will be able to tune in even when there is more at stake.
Another tip is to ask yourself several times a day ‘how do I feel?’. To know the answer you must connect with your body and emotions. Asking ‘how do I feel about this?’ creates an opportunity for your instincts to communicate with you.
Having the best of both worlds
We are all born with instincts but society places greater emphasis on rational thinking and learning, so they often become submerged. A parent may find they haven’t lost their instincts when it comes to caring for their child. Critical situations can trigger isolated flashes of instinct. However, in choosing to re-develop your instincts you can experience greater ease and flow in your life and increased empathy in your relationships.
When you learn to use both your conscious mind and your instincts you literally have the best of both worlds. The rational reasoning mind is a superb instrument, but your instincts will warn you and move you faster out of danger. Making choices based on logical thinking can be effective, but if your instincts point in a different direction they may lead you to an even better outcome. Allowing your instincts to have a place in your life can be enriching and extremely beneficial.
This Month's Tip:
When a friend promises to do something for you and then doesn’t, you feel let down. If you have several experiences like this, you may wonder what is so wrong about you that people who are supposed to love and care about you are treating you this way. Whenever you let yourself down by not doing what you decided to do, you produce similar feelings. If you repeatedly fail to honour yourself by following through on your decisions or ideas, you will erode your self esteem and confidence in your power.
The reverse is true also, and so my tip is: honour yourself by doing what you decide to do, and you will build your esteem and confidence. This means taking responsibility for what you decide to do and when. If you are planning on doing something big which might take several days, agree with yourself a goal for each day and keep to it. Keeping your promises to yourself are so important, so treat yourself as you would like to be treated by a good friend, and you will feel the benefits.
What’s New on the Website
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