July 1, 2009
How well do you trust yourself, I mean really trust yourself?
For most of us, myself included, self-trust is tough. We have a tendency to second-guess ourselves, not listen to our gut, or hang onto negative memories from the past when we’ve made mistakes or “bad” decisions. These things and others make it difficult for us to trust ourselves and thus create challenges in our relationships, our work, and our lives.
Lack of self-trust, while debilitating in many ways, is quite common. There’s nothing “wrong” with us for not trusting ourselves…it isn’t something we’ve been specifically encouraged or trained to do. Like with appreciation, authenticity, or many other important aspects of our life and growth, the first step in our process of expansion is to notice and tell the truth about why it can be difficult. In the case of self-trust, once we’re able to honestly acknowledge our challenge with it (and have some compassion about it), we can start to consciously choose to trust ourselves in a more real way.
What makes it difficult or challenging for you to fully trust yourself? Take a moment to consider this. The more aware of this we can be, with empathy, the more likely we are to move beyond it and let go of our “story” about why we can’t trust ourselves.
Here are a few things you can do to enhance your ability to trust yourself:
1) Listen to your inner wisdom. We all have inner wisdom. Some of us refer to this as our intuition, others call it our gut, and still others relate to it as our high consciousness. Whether you call it one or all of these things (or something else), I believe that we’re all very intuitive and that we each have a deep sense of what is true and right for us in most situations. As we practice listening to this inner wisdom (through meditation, prayer, quiet time, breath, conscious thought, and more), we begin to trust ourselves on a deeper level.
2) Be willing to take risks, go for it, and make mistakes. So often we don’t try things because we think we might fail. I love Michael Jordan’s quote about this, he said, “I missed 100% of the shots I never took.” While it can be scary for us to take risks in life, one of the greatest ways we can build our capacity for self-trust is to go for it…even if we fail. As we build up our ability to take risks, we also grow our capacity for courage, which in turn expands our ability to trust ourselves.
3) Forgive yourself! This is a life-long process and is vital as it relates to self-trust. One of the main reasons we don’t trust ourselves is that we haven’t forgiven ourselves for mistakes we’ve made, pain we’ve caused, or regrets we have. These “demons” from our past haunt us and we use them as evidence to not go for things and not trust ourselves. As we enhance our capacity to forgive ourselves, we heal from the past and breathe new life into our experience. This creates a genuine sense of enthusiasm for both the present moment and for our future. And, as we’re able to forgive ourselves, we can let go of our attachment to being “perfect” and having to do everything just right…which then allows us to trust ourselves more freely.
Think of something important in your life right now – a decision you’ve been on the fence about because you’re worried about making the wrong choice (i.e. not trusting yourself). Given what we’ve been discussing here, if you fully trusted yourself in this moment, what would you do in regards to this important issue? I bet if you listen to your inner wisdom, allow yourself to take a risk, and know that you can forgive yourself no matter what happens – the answer to the question “what should I do?” in this situation is quite clear.