How can I tell the difference between knowing and fear?
That’s what a client asked me after reading last week’s newsletter.
Ah, what a great question, I thought, because we humans so often confuse the noisy chatter of fear with the wisdom of our inner knowing.
But how to explain it? My first thought was… you just know.
And then I thought about some of the times in my life when I had a knowing and went with it.
Like the night I met my husband, Jerry, almost 35 years ago. I went home that evening and told my mother, “I met the man I’m going to marry.” It was the first time I had ever said anything like that to my mom, and of course, it blew her mind.
But I thought nothing of it. I had absolutely no rationale for the feeling at all. I just knew.
And over the many years together since then, life certainly hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies. There were times that it would have made sense for each of us to end our partnership, yet we both had a knowing that we would make it. And we did.
I also thought about other times in my life when I had a knowing and didn’t go with it.
Like when I stayed in an awful relationship prior to meeting Jerry for far too long. Or when I took jobs that I knew weren’t right for me or passed up business opportunities that I knew would light me up, all because fear directed me to “safer” options.
And as I tuned into these thoughts and feelings, this is what I told my client…
A knowing is a confident, capable, and calm state that points you in a direction that feels “right” and secure, even if the outcome is uncertain. It’s not emotionally charged, instead, it’s kind of neutral. It’s a gentle, fleeting hunch that you feel from a state of presence, and it’s never accompanied by past or future worries. It feels like a lightness in your chest. It’s expansive, open, and confirming.
While fear on the other hand, can feel heavy in your body, like a tightness in your chest. It’s a feeling of dread that can make your heart sink, pulse race, and upset your tummy. Fear is emotionally charged, anxious and uneasy. It’s relentless and loud, always taking you out of the present moment and into the past or future.
You may feel relieved after deciding from a place of fear, as though you narrowly escaped a life-threatening situation. But with that relief comes more anxiety and doubt. It’s like in your heart-of-hearts, you are onto yourself.
And, when you follow your inner knowing, there still may be some anxiety or doubt, but it’s different.
That’s what I told this client who has been working towards a big goal that hasn’t come to fruition yet. She’s been working hard at it, taking some huge, scary steps forward, but still hasn’t seen results.
And I know, this can be frightening. Our brains are wired to not want to rock the boat, and so just as soon as we make some movement, it screams, “Man overboard” (aka: “It’s not working!!!”).
Of course, it’s not always easy to hold onto belief when it appears that we’re not making any headway. Our minds want proof that it’s happening, and we tell ourselves it’s necessary to have this proof to stay steadfast in our belief.
And so, I asked my client, “Do you have a knowing that you will eventually accomplish this goal?”
She replied, “yes” without a moment’s hesitation.
“So, it’s a matter of when, not if, is that right?” I asked.
Again, she replied with another, “yes”.
“And is there any fear in that thought?” I wondered.
“No, not at all,” she answered with certainty.
I then encouraged her to spend time quieting her mind each day, whether with meditation, a morning walk, or just time in the shower, tapping into and trusting her inner knowing.
And I encourage you to do the same.
Relax into the calm, allow in the ease and be light with it.
Rest assured, you do know.