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6 Times When You Must Trust Yourself

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There are times when one is wise to ask for a second opinion. Then, there are these times, when no one knows the answer but you.

By Amy Shearn

  • When You're 87 Percent Sure You Might Blow It
    PETER DRESSEL VIA GETTY IMAGES
    How many of us have a seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time, thrift-store find in our garage? For example: the table we've been trying to get gutsy enough to refinish. We know what we want to do, but we're afraid. Afraid of varnish.

    Why You Should Trust Yourself Now: You might well screw it up. You really might. But what do you have to lose? Unfinished creative projects are the teratomas of the soul. And what creative work ever got completed by saying, "I don't want to start because I'm afraid to mess up"?
  • When You Look at Your Fiancé's Photo
    IMAGES BY TANG MING TUNG VIA GETTY IMAGES
    He's a great guy. Everybody—including your mom—thinks so. And so you do. Except, when you look at his picture, you feel a tingle of dread. Is that how you really feel about him—or is that the pre-wedding jitters?

    Why You Should Trust Yourself Now: A Florida State University study finds that newlyweds' gut instincts about their partners and the future of their marriages are usually right. When it comes to love, sometimes your body knows what your brain can't articulate.
  • When You Have Been Completely Humiliated
    Getty Images
    Maybe you weren't asked to leave your high-profile job 137 days after taking it, but you've been completely, utterly, how-will-I-ever-recover-from-this, flooded-with-self-doubt humiliated.

    Why You Should Trust Yourself Now: Remember that classic 70's photo of the Knicks' locker room after they won the championship, with the sign that read, "Hard Work Beats Mistakes"? It's a motto that's been proven now; as Robert J. Sternberg wrote for The Chronicle of Higher Education, "The main characteristic that makes people successful is not their IQ, emotional intelligence, or even creativity. It is their resilience in the face of what seem to be insurmountable obstacles." Your resilience will save you.
  • When You're 41 Years and 9 Months Old
    VLADIMIR GODNIK VIA GETTY IMAGES
    I recently met a woman who has been working on her ukulele opus for 20 years. Not that she's written a note. In fact, she only just learned how to play the instrument. But she's had it in mind that she would create this piece of music for decades...only to falter now, because it somehow feels too late to begin.

    Why You Should Trust Yourself Now: Research from the Erasmus School of Economics in the Netherlands shows we reach our creative peak at 41 years and 9 months, or when we reach 62 percent of our lifespan (based on studying the top works of 221 major artists).
  • If You've Been Meditating
    Getty Images
    You finally took your blissed-out, preternaturally calm aunt's advice and started meditating every day.

    Why You Should Trust Yourself Now: Research finds that meditation actually increases the brain's gray matter in regions associated with sensitivity to the body's signals. When you meditate regularly, your brain is actually more in tune with your body.
  • When You're 74 Percent Sick with 100 Percent of the Flu
    Image Source via Getty Images
    You're sick. But you might be able to work. If you could just get out of bed and drag yourself over there. So when you're talking to your boss, should you feel okay -- or not -- taking that sick day.

    Why You Should Trust Yourself Now: We all get that it's complicated, but you know when you're sick and when you're just feeling tired. You have work to do, of course you do, that's why you usually go to work every day. But infecting the entire office with your plague is not going get any more work done, now, is it?



Amy Shearn is the author of The Mermaid of Brooklyn and How Far Is the Ocean from Here.

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