Turning inward can feel difficult if you’re not used to it. We’re programmed by systems like diet culture, the patriarchy, capitalism, etc. to focus on everything except what actually matters: our own needs! And when you’ve been on autopilot for years, it can be tricky navigating the road back to yourself. It may feel uncomfortable and downright difficult at first, but recognizing where you are meeting resistance and getting curious about it is at the root of developing self-trust.
Here are five reasons why turning inward might feel difficult for you along with some key reframes to start trusting yourself right now.
1. You have yet to spend time with your inner child…
At the core of inner child work is getting in touch with our own unique needs, at all levels. For now, if you can just start acknowledging that your inner child exists, that’s a major step in the right direction. Let them know they’re safe with you. The rest of the work will come.
“My inner child is safe with me, and I am capable of listening to them and honoring their needs.”
2. External validation is what you’ve been taught to seek…
You’re not alone on this one. And living in a social media age makes it all the more difficult! Letting go of that approval from others can be a challenge. The next time you find yourself asking someone else what they think, just pause. Reflect. Ask yourself that same question and see where it leads.
“I’m learning to believe that the only validation I need comes from me.”
3. You are hyper-focused on other people and their emotions/needs
Oh, the age-old people-pleasing paradox. If you, like so many of us, we’re taught to put everyone else first, it makes sense that focusing on them makes you feel like you’re doing a great job! But what about your needs? Who is taking care of you? You can’t pour from an empty cup.
“When I focus on what I need first, I can show up in life for myself and others in a way that feels good.”
4. You label feelings as positive and negative
I used to do this all the time. I see it in every single coaching client I work with, too. But just because a feeling is uncomfortable, doesn’t mean it’s bad! (Seriously!) And the more you judge yourself, the harder it is to actually let the emotion move through you and teach you something.
“Feelings are neutral and meant to be felt, despite it being uncomfortable.”
5. You fear being wrong or doing things imperfectly
Listen, nobody is perfect. I promise. And there’s no wrong way to do this work, except to not even give it a try. The more you put off doing things for fear of failure, the more you’re missing out on the messy, beautiful, meaningful parts of life. And how will you know what you need/want/desire/value/etc. if you don’t show up and do the thing?!
“I’m allowed to make mistakes and get to know myself through trial and error.”
REMEMBER: You are not selfish for focusing on yourself. And if that feels really confronting right now, that’s okay. Take it in. Breathe in deeply. And start turning inward, ever-so-gently.
The Body Image Bridge is a great place to start with this work. I’ll invite you to check out this self-paced online course that will teach you how to deconstruct your thoughts, rewrite your body story, and ditch diet culture for good.