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From Self-Doubt to Self-Assurance: The Inner Journey of The Fool

Author: Anja Heij

Lack of self-confidence is an unseen enemy for many people. This foe keeps us from doing what we would love to do, from taking decisions that are good for us, and from expressing our uniqueness. Many men and women are flowers that never open up.
I know what I am talking about. Some years ago I felt like a dried flower myself, feeling unworthy and guilty and believing statements like: “You dare not do this, you will never succeed in that, you won’t come any further than making just a small start.” And then the story went on with: “If you would do or act like this for me, than at least you would solve something in my life and you would do something that makes sense.”
This is no special story. It appears in a myriad of variants and it ruins the lust for life for so many persons having received this basic message: “You are no good.” If you hear it often enough you’ll tend to believe it. And if you are no good, than you don’t deserve a good treatment, or attention for yourself, or other forms of love. At least you think so.

I have a suggestion: go through your old photographs and find a picture of yourself as a young child. Look at the openness, the innocence and the sparks of joy in these eyes. Feel the confidence this child has in the goodness of life. Sense the enthusiasm with which it undertakes something new.
This child is not lost; it forms an inseparable part of you. When you are grown up this child is referred to as the ‘inner child’.
If you find it difficult to be a good person for yourself it can be helpful to take care of the child inside you. Through nurturing the needs of this child you can find back the way to yourself. And bit by bit the endless thought machine in your mind slows down; your indecision and procrastination fade away; fatigue, depression and other symptoms leave you; your optimism grows and your physical appearance will look younger.

How do you live a life in accordance with your inner child?
A big difference between adults and children is, that grown-ups are very busy with working and running around after things considered to be of importance, while the child can play for hours with a tiny thing or simply enjoys watching things. So: take time for relaxation, be it a hobby, meditation, a long walk, or a vacation without a goal. Your only goal is enjoyment and its result is increased inner balance.
A second thing is that adults tend to hold on to the old ‘tried and tested’ which will assure that they get what they expect and that their life is in control. True, but the child in you wants to explore something new, challenging and adventurous! Something that makes it really feel alive. Most of the time you know what this is, for it are usually the things you deep down inside want so very much, but never dared to do. The child in you invites you to walk through the walls of impossibility you created yourself and jump into something new.
A huge third step is deciding yourself worthy of receiving love without being perfect. Grown-ups drive each other crazy with the idea that a bigger car or house, a better paid job, or a younger partner, can increase their human value or their happiness. A young child simply expects to be loved.
And a fourth thing is learning to listen to your inner wisdom in the form of your intuition and gut feelings. This will save you an enormous amount of doubt. I know it: adults believe in the rational mind for that is what intelligent human beings divides from animals, they say, but after having tried this for years I can assure you that you desperately need to combine intuitive wisdom with rational knowledge. I agree that your intuition can lead you on very unexpected journeys on which you have no idea of the possible outcome.

This is the journey of the first card of the tarot: the Fool. This card symbolizes the first step we take into a new direction. It shows the self-confidence, adventure, independence and joy of breaking out of an outgrown pattern and the curiosity for the things to come. The Fool does not torture his mind with “can I or can’t I” but simply tries it. He does not care about the judgments or misjudgments of others. He follows the call of his heart and expresses the joy and self-confidence of the inner child. And if something does not turn out the way he wants it, he does not reject himself. He simply accepts that he went wrong and takes another path.
This last sentence is of great importance: the Fool accepts that he went wrong, but does not translate it with “all about me is wrong” as we so often do. Be kind and gentle with yourself and take some steps on this very rewarding path of being content with yourself for no particular reason.

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