Grey areas. You know the ones I mean. They’re so tricky because, well, they’re grey. There’s no definition, no differentiation, no black and white. Just one opaque, perhaps conflicted, even disorientating situation. Where do you go from here?
You’ve exhausted all your external resources. So now it’s just about you and your integrity. It’s about the way you choose to conduct yourself in the world. How you choose to navigate these grey areas that you will, inevitably, encounter.
But, depending on your depth of self-knowledge, looking inwards can be a more daunting task than looking outwards. And your inner landscape might appear more unfamiliar, or even alien, than your outer landscape.
So how do you truly listen to yourself?
And how do you learn to trust yourself?
To begin with, practise tuning in to different sources: your head (intellect), heart (emotion), and gut (intuition). What is your conscious, intellectual, rational, self telling you? What about your emotional, non-rational self? And what can you learn from your vast, unconscious, intuitive self? Be alert to sense perception, movement, and inner sensation as you learn to listen beyond your cognitive thought processes. Explore where your principles and values are rooted. And consider if, and how, you can achieve internal congruence.
Next, start to notice how and when you embody the four attributes which inspire trust: integrity, ability, benevolence, and predictability (Dietz and Hartog, 2006). Just as we (often unknowingly) seek these attributes in others, so they underpin our own trust in ourselves. Trust is a process, and therefore trust in ourselves – and in others – cannot be established overnight. But by recognising and fortifying these attributes you will build confidence in your own knowledge and intuition as well as inspiring trust in others.
Drawing on internal as well as external resources is fundamental to our sense of autonomy and accountability… which in turn allows us to take ownership of our personal and professional integrity, and ownership of our choices. So next time you encounter a grey area, be curious:
If I listen to myself, what will I discover that I didn’t know before?
And, do my choices allow me to live peacefully with myself?