It seems like such a huge concept to think about self-trust.
It’s so easy to betray your own trust. It can happen on a daily basis, and you may not realize that you have violated it.
For example, I read an article that talks about getting an effective workout at 5 a.m. which leads to you being more productive throughout the day.
Inspired by the article, I make a plan that I’m going to get up at 5 a.m. every morning and work out so I can stay in shape.
To be honest, I have never got up at 5 a.m. in my life without a paycheck and a serious dose of caffeine being involved. I have gone to bed at 5 a.m., but if you see me up at 5 a.m., you better check to see if I am sleepwalking.
I set my alarm to 5 a.m. every morning.
But, I hit the snooze button repeatedly, until it’s closer to the time I usually get up. I then feel a heavy sense of disappointment but soothe myself by saying that I will definitely get up on time the next day.
Day-after-day, the same thing happens until I just decide to skip that morning routine. I feel weak-minded and guilty because I can’t follow that workout schedule.
I then make a judgment about my willpower that’s based on my not being able to keep a schedule that goes against my natural sleeping pattern. I then beat myself up for it.
I made two mistakes in this example.
First, I set myself up for failure. I am not someone who can or wants to wake up early in the morning. Thinking that I would magically change my constitution and become a morning person was upstream thinking. I put an obstacle in place that didn’t need to be there, as part of a commitment to myself that was already challenging me to do something out of the norm.
The kinder gentler way would be to accept that I’m a night owl and I am pushing myself to participate in the world at hours before my circadian rhythm would naturally wake me up. I could have planned a workout that better fits in with my natural cycle, making it easier to maintain.
Second, I kept lying to myself that I was going to make it happen. I knew I didn’t feel like getting up when the alarm went off. I kept conning myself with every hit of the snooze button until I split myself into two halves. One half was satisfied we got more sleep, the other was disappointed we didn’t keep our promise.
Self-trust is more than keeping promises to yourself.
It’s acting from a place of self-acceptance. It is an awareness of your thoughts, feelings and emotions. It’s taking care of yourself with standards, boundaries and integrity. It is trusting yourself to survive situations, not giving up on yourself while practicing kindness and compassion towards yourself.
Self-trust also applies when you’re dealing with other people.
Do you protect yourself? You won’t trust yourself if you constantly allow people to use you, kill your dreams or be abusive towards you, emotionally or physically. Can you safely express yourself with this person or are you exposing yourself to harsh criticism?
How can you establish better self-trust?
Work from your strengths and honor your weaknesses. You have to get to know your likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. You have to figure out where you bend and where you break. Then you have to give yourself permission to make decisions that are kind towards yourself.
Think of yourself as someone you care a lot about, like a best friend, how would you make things easier for them if they were going up against something challenging? Be your own best friend.
Commit yourself to what you know you can deliver.
Instead of disappointing yourself, set yourself up for success. Understand that trust is important and that breaking trust with yourself is as harmful as it would be with any relationship. Keep your promises, but make keeping those promises easy, through knowing yourself..
Speak kindly to yourself.
Peggy O’Mara said, “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” That critical inner voice may not be your own. You should double-check that voice to find out if it is being helpful or hurtful.
If it’s calling you names or making you feel bad for what you didn’t do, then it’s not helpful. You need to turn that voice into your compassionate motivator instead of your judge and jury. Otherwise, you won’t be able to trust yourself when things go wrong.
Allow yourself small wins, days off and permission to make mistakes.
Be gentler with yourself. It takes time to rebuild trust after years of ignoring yourself. You build trust with yourself the same way you do with others.
The outcome of establishing self-trust is that you seek less outside approval because you are internally satisfied and validated. You will be kinder towards others because you’ll no longer be projecting your perceived failures onto them.
You may even realize that those failures were the result of chasing dreams and ideals that were projected on to you that you wouldn’t have chosen for yourself.
You will be able to accept people for who they are and not need them to change so you can feel better. You won’t need them to be 100% trustworthy because you depend on yourself and trust that you can handle whatever happens.
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