Self trust is fundamental to life and extremely critical to how we approach everything – it keeps us on our path to our goals, lights a fire under us and is the driving force in tragedy and darkness. Trust is the foundation of all authentic relationships – with yourself and with others. Without trust, there is no intimacy, love or responsibility.
I used to struggled with trusting myself to make decisions. I’d frequently seek out the advice of others – it didn’t matter if the problem was huge or small. I just didn’t know what to do and never felt I had the solutions. Others’ perspectives always seemed superior.
I remembered wanting to take up a job in a foreign country – pre-pandemic – it was a life’s dream, to live in a foreign land, to experience a different sort of life. Yet, I was so crippled with hesitation and anxiety that I asked about 8 to 10 different people what I should do. After all that consulting, I was still very confused. In the end, after all that fretting over whose advice I should follow, guess what? I went with my initial decision, one that I had made myself.
You will learn that, in many situations in life, you already have the answers deep down. Although it may not seem that way at first, we all possess inner wisdom that for many of us, goes untouched and untapped on, for various reasons. But first, let’s back up a little, what exactly could not trusting yourself lead to?
#1 Procrastination and indecisiveness
When we feel incapable of making a decision, it will lead to procrastination, hesitation and indecisiveness. Not being able to commit yourself to one path is a sign that we are unsure if we are able to cope with the consequences and the actions needed to keep on that path. (Just a note, am not talking about choices where we need more time and information to make up our minds, but choices which seem relatively straightforward but we hold back in choosing.)
When I was making a choice as to whether to take on a foreign role previously, the massive hesitation on my part was because I felt I couldn’t rely on myself to see the decision through. I felt ill-equipped to handle the not-so-good bits of living overseas. I had alot of hang ups and fears. In other words, I just wasn’t ready because I had yet to built sufficient self-trust.
#2 Constant self-doubt & keeping oneself small
A lack of self-trust may also manifest in constant self-doubt. One big example of this is if you were to take on a big responsibility, either at your job or at school and you just don’t believe you could do it well. Imposter syndrome is another big way self-doubt plays out, where everyone but you can see your strengths, but you are very much focused on how you will screw things up.
When our minds are constantly preoccupied with fears of doing something or how we are going to mess things up for everything, it can make you avoidant. How this usually plays out is – you keep yourself small and invisible, you dislike drawing attention to yourself for fear of people finding out you were a fraud. So instead of, being proud of and open about the work that you do, you may devote more energy and effort to hiding it.
This was exactly what I did when I started entertaining my calling to be a writer. I put off writing all the time because I was afraid that people would laugh at my work. I gave up alot of dreams along the way – gave up being an athlete because I didn’t trust that I could put myself through the punishing training and be successful, gave up living overseas because I didn’t trust that I could handle any fall-outs. And so much more.
#3 Lacking in resiliency
Another facet of self-trust, or the lack of it is that you don’t feel like you could rely on yourself in tough times. This is part of emotional resiliency. In times of stress, distress and anxiety, in very challenging, uncertain times in life, can you trust yourself to get yourself out of it? To get yourself through the situation, and back out the other side?
Some ways in which we struggle to cope is when we find ourselves over-relying on others to make us feel better – by complaining, ranting, or relying on others as if they were a therapist. We expect them to help us solve our problems. When life hits us badly, we feel helpless, alone, and find it very difficult to climb out of the dark abyss.
Just to be clear – it’s a normal part of the human experience to feel affected when bad things happen to us. What makes a difference and is testament to the amount of self-trust you have is that you know you can rely yourself to get back up again, you can rely on yourself to get you through the challenges.
So if you are still at a level 1 of self-doubt and lacking in self-trust, it can feel immensely difficult to go from that to level 10 complete radical trust in yourself. So how do you do it? I’m a huge fan of taking very, very small steps and being aware of and conscious of your decision making at each step.
It took me a couple of years to get to the level of self-trust I have now, and am always a work in progress! But you can start taking the steps that is necessary right now. Here are some ideas:
#1 Sit with your initial feelings instead of rushing off to seek advice
Whenever a situation comes up or you feel fearful or doubtful about something, instead of doing what you’ve always done and allowing your old habits to dictate what you did – by running off to seek someone’s advice – as a kneejerk reaction… just pause. Pause and hold space for that fear and whatever else is coming up emotionally.
Give yourself some space to be with it, don’t jump into doing anything yet. Just let it be within you for abit. I’d sometimes give myself up to a day. Because when we are feeling emotional, we tend to be rash or jump into old habits, so let’s put some distance from those emotions.
And when you are feeling a little better, you can then decide what to do next. Even if you will be texting someone to ask for their opinion, it will be made from a calmer space.
#2 Feel the fear and do something different
If you are feeling fearful and starting to majorly doubt yourself, take the fear as a sign to do something differently this time. Alot of my work revolves around shifting our beliefs and doing something totally different.
So if you are tasked to take on a big project at work, your kneejerk reaction would be to turn it down or to run to someone to get them to soothe your anxiety. This time, let the emotions wash over, sit with it (like in step one) and then choose a path that you never usually would.
Does that entail saying yes to it? Or does it mean seeking out solutions and strategies on your own first? Choose a path that you’ve never gone down before, that’s how we start to gradually build different habits and comfort levels for ourselves.
#3 Gradually build self-trust by expanding your trust space
Trust is a lot about, relying on yourself to actually come up with the solutions and knowing that no matter what the outcome is, you will always have your back. Once you have calmed down, you may start to get ideas and nudges towards a certain solution. Take note of that.
The question to ask yourself is – What are some things you can do next that feels doable, feels easy, feels accessible and feels bite size for you? If that means searching websites that teach you how to overcome fear or getting onto forums to see how others have solved it – do it! Take it easy at first, but slowly start to ask yourslf – what is the next best step that feels comfortable, achievable and doable from here?
I call this the self-trust space and as you grow more confident and trusting in yourself, this space will grow along with you. Until you hit that point where it’s grown so big that most big decisions feel absolutely okay for you to handle and you know you are going to be okay at the end of it.
So this is how you start building that level 10 radical self trusting yourself. And you’ll find that after awhile, you’ve gotten to this point where you needn’t rely so much on anyone else to make you feel better or to make decisions for you. You just know that you will have your own back and that you will get yourself through this.
Interested in learning more about building self-trust and healing your relationship with you? Keen on strengthening your root chakra?
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