How To Live Like an Expert (A.K.A Living in Alignment)

I would like to share something with all of you that took me a long time to discover for myself. You are the one and only expert on your own life; not your doctor, your teacher, your boss, your therapist, your mother, your rabbi, your priest, your life coach, your kids or your spouse, nobody, but you. At the end of the day, you are the only one who knows you best; what you want; what you strive for; what fulfills you and what gives you purpose.

Several, years ago, I went through a personal journey which you may have read about in another writing of mine, “Yoga Saved My Life.” This journey helped me develop a new understanding of anxiety, depression, and general life dissatisfaction. I saw it in my private practice, as a psychologist and I saw it in myself. Through this journey, I came to an understanding that part of the cause of life’s discontent is that we have turned over our power, (our expert rights, if you will), to others. 

We have given over our power to make decisions for ourselves to others that we somehow believe are more knowing or more worthy or capable of making those decisions for us. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t ever seek guidance from those that are expert in their field, but nobody knows you like you do. As I tell my clients, I might be an expert on psychology, but you are the expert on you. Only you are hardwired to take in the information and evaluate how it works in your own life. No one can do that for you. It’s your job and your duty to yourself to do so. Anyone who tells you that their way is the only way to do something, stand up and run in the other direction; Because you are the only one capable of knowing yourself fully and completely. 

We start to lose this ability to choose for ourselves and to know ourselves this deeply when we allow others to do the deciding for us. We do it with our parents, with our teachers, with our doctors, even with our clergy. Sometimes we have good reason to; we feel that they know better. But the truth is that we have lost faith and trust in ourselves. We are a society of doubters. We hear a piece of information, it doesn’t resonate for us, but we do it anyway because we are “told to.” Then we end up unhappy and we don’t know why because we followed the rules. It was supposed to make us happy and fulfilled, but instead we end up sad, alone, empty, anxious and confused.

Living like an expert means learning to know and trust yourself again. It’s looking deep within yourself to know who you truly are, that way when a piece of information comes in, you can truly evaluate if it’s the right thing for you. It’s about living in alignment with your heart, soul, and values.

I’ll give you an example. I knew a woman with a terrible eating disorder. She was miserably unhappy and could hardly focus on anything else, but fixing it. She read every book she could get her hands on, she went to therapy, she tried self-help groups, she went to conferences and the problem just grew and grew. 

Today, she lives happily and healthily at her natural body weight without giving it a second thought. How did this happen? She stopped listening to the experts. She realized that dieting and listening to other people’s advice was killing her, even when it seemed like perfectly sound advice. She had to throw out every external rule she knew and learn how to listen to her body again. It was a process, but she reconnected with herself and her body and naturally lost 30lbs in a year without a single diet and without ever stepping on the scale. It was only until she took the leap of faith to trust in herself and her body again that she healed herself, despite what everyone else had told her. Just like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, the power was within her all along.

This is just one example, but there are many.  Many people who are experiencing less joy and happiness in their life are doing so because they are disconnected from their self. That connection has been replaced with doubt and lack of trust: A loss of one’s natural born intuition or self-knowledge.

Living your life like an expert is a choice. It takes conscious effort and daily practice. It is a practice of returning to yourself each day, of developing your intuitive muscles and your self-awareness. I believe that there are 10 principles that help us reclaim our position as the expert of our lives.

They are

·      Compassion

·      Acceptance

·      Balance

·      Community

·      Daily Practices or Rituals

·      Stress-Relief

·      Mindfulness

·      Action

·      Integration (or working on multiple levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually)

·      Making Spaces (creating the physical, mental, emotional space to do the work)

In future blogs (and hopefully a book), I will be going in-depth with each one of these principles. I will explain each one and discuss how you can use it in your life. While these principles are pathways back to your expert self, since you are the actual expert, you are also the only one who can know what the pathway will look like; how broad or narrow, how long or short. For example, it is up to you to decide what Compassion is in your life, where it exists, what it means, and how you practice it. The same goes for each one of these principles.  I will explain my conception of each principle and the role it plays, but I can’t tell you how exactly each principle should be played out in your life or which ones are most important to you. I can’t and won’t tell you because I honor you as the expert of your life. I am just a joiner on the journey. 

For now, think about each one of these principles. Think about what they mean to you. See if you can spot where they exist in your life already. Increase your awareness of them and...

Be Well!

Donna