Why don’t people trust their instincts? They sense something is wrong, someone is walking too close behind them… You knew something was wrong, but you came back into the house. Did I force you, did I drag you? No. All I had to do was offer you a drink. It’s hard to believe the fear of offending can be stronger than the fear of pain but, you know what? It is… – Martin, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Fincher, 2011)
In the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, when he’s tied up in Martin’s basement, Mikael gets asked this by Martin (skip to 1:05 if doesn’t automatically).
This is a damn good question. For most of us the result of not trusting ourselves isn’t being strung up by a murderous rapist, but it’s equally as suffocating.
It’s waking up one day and realizing that we’re way too invested in a relationship we knew from the get go wasn’t right for us. It’s the daily anxiety of going to work for a business whose values we’ve questioned from day one. It’s the disconnection from ourselves that we feel after a lifetime of halfhearted decisions. It’s the disconnection from each other we feel when we feel ashamed for that.
“It’s hard to believe the fear of offending can be stronger than the fear of pain but, you know what?” It doesn’t have to be. With enough practice trusting ourselves, the fear of offending might still rear its head, but it won’t end up suffocating us…
Trusting ourselves will sometimes feel more like a lonely freedom than a reason to party. Regardless, the discomfort associated with going against the grain lasts no longer than the pain of an injection — it’s temporary.
Like the soreness we feel after starting a new workout regimen, we should regard it as the precursor to growth. It might occasionally suck, but at least we’ll know we haven’t let fear push us into any decisions we’ll eventually feel trapped or smothered by.