I've noticed a theme among the posts recently: people are having a hard time trusting themselves.  I understand this completely, it was not so long ago that I couldn't trust myself either: and with good reason.  But I will say this, it's no fun living in fear of your decisions. For a long time I did. When I was a little girl I was teased for a variety of reasons, most of them stupid. I did not realize they were stupid at the time though. In 5th grade I snapped, and went all crazy-bitch on them. Not that I made a good mean girl, I was too impulsive, but I tried my very hardest. After a year and a half of this I realized that what I had become was not right, not at all. I realized that I was not breaking the cycle of hatred, I was continuing it. I left that school and went to a different one, in order to heal, and get my head back on straight. I did. Even when I had healed, and mostly forgotten about, that year and a half: even then though I didn't trust my own decisions. I didn't trust myself to make decisions about what was right and wrong because I felt that I had no ability to do so: just because I had once made a few wrong decisions.  I felt that I was tainted, that I had sinned. I obsessively sought forgiveness, but it was quite a long time before I found it: not in a God or Goddess, in myself. But forgiveness was only half the equation: I had to make it better or the forgiveness would mean nothing. I had to make sure I was a better person.  But how can you do that when you cannot trust your own judgement? well, I remembered hearing a Chinese folktale, about a peasant who won the hand of a princess. The peasant was not particularly good looking so he decided to go to a mask maker to get a mask that she would like.  the mask maker made him a beautiful mask, which molded to his face so perfectly that no one could tell it wasn't his real face. The King was allowing suitable young men to court the Princess for a year, at the end of the year one would be chosen to marry her. The peasant in disguise went to court the Princess, and spent a year, with the mask on living in the palace and doing just that. He was extraordinarily careful to learn all the ways of the palace, and be extremely polite.  Everyone loved him, not least the Princess and the King and Queen. At the end of the year, the Princess chose him to be her husband, and he was brought before the King. He said "I am an honest man, and so there is something I must tell you before I consent to wed your daughter: I am not who I seem to be." He then reached up and undid the mask, but much to everyone's amusement and his surprise: his face underneath the mask was identical to the mask. By changing who you are on the outside, you change who you are on the inside.  When I forgave myself, and changed my habits: I too changed who I was on the inside.  The anger that had been curled up inside me was gone. I could trust myself to make decisions about what was right and wrong for me, because I was a good person on the inside. I had been pretending to be good on the outside, but all the while I thought I was still the same evil person that I had been.  In reality though, I had been changing little by little for years. I have found a new freedom in this security, that my decisions are right for me, no matter what others may say. When I decided to leave the Church I had been raised in, without any hard feelings mind you, I never needed to second-guess that decision. When I decided to start dating my current boyfriend, I never needed to second-guess myself.  I haven't just forgiven myself for what I did: I have given myself permission not to need forgiveness anymore, the consequences of my actions are reward or punishment enough. I am not telling people to stop posting questions on these boards: I am saying that only you can truly decide what is right for you to do. At the end of the day the rest of us can only give facts and advice: you need to trust yourself to make the decision that is right for you. 

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