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How to Trust Yourself - Part I

Updated: Sep 4, 2022

Consider that you have an important decision or question present in your life. As an honest, truth-seeking person, you ask the perspectives of people you respect and look up to, you listen to their sincere questioning to empower you, and you write to and pray to your Creator. What do you do when you receive seemingly conflicting opinions from the different sources, and even seemingly from G-d?

This felt like the story of my life growing up - which is the premise of one book I have been writing - and I experienced in another way this week. It feels like on some days doing choice a is aligned and on other days choice b is the sure answer. How can that be?

Growing up, I asked questions and received perspectives from individuals of various backgrounds and professions. I was willing to see the value in everyone, but did not see the value in my own voice, nor understood how to listen to myself. When seemingly more learned individuals inform you of one thing, it’s quite intimidating to consider your own perspective, because this person knows what’s best for me, right?

Towards the end (56:30 min) of segment 7 of Heichaltzu, Rabbi YY Jacobson addressed this exact concept of listening to oneself. “We sometimes live in a culture where people are taught,” he said, “the less you trust yourself the better it is.” Honestly, this really resonated, albeit in a painful way. Often the advice we seek from others come from the best of intentions, but they leave out empowering us to be certain of, or at least trusting of, what our soul is telling us. “The ultimate truth of Yiddishkeit [Judaism],” Rabbi YY continued, “is you have to trust yourself.” We know this because, G-d created us and gave us choice. What does it mean to trust yourself?

There are times when the decision we choose turns out to be a “mistake.” I use quotations because there is a higher truth that ultimately mistakes are lessons that our soul needs to learn; however, did we really need to go through such an experience to learn something?

Yes. Why?

One solution is found in the HaYom Yom [daily teachings] for today, “One must serve G-d by his own efforts. [A person’s service] is higher when he is led by the hand Above, but it is more cherished when it is generated by his own efforts.” In February, I wrote in The Power you were born with, a teaching with a similar theme from the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe based on the teaching, “an oath administered to him [before birth, warning him] be righteous and do not be wicked” (Niddah 30b). G-d grants us the freedom of choice and to seek deep within for what’s truly best for ourselves. We may frequently make decision