5 Ways To Build Self-Trust
It can be hard to trust ourselves, especially when we’ve made the same mistakes over and over. We tend to ignore our gut feelings after awhile because we’ve failed ourselves in the past. We become more and more afraid of doing it again. On an unconscious level, this fear is protecting us. It’s like a warning signal that goes off whenever we come close to making the same mistake. It is keeping us from either physical or emotional danger. However, although there are many benefits and ways in which our fear protects us, we can also get caught up in believing that there’s no way out of our way of thinking, our beliefs, our behavior patterns, especially when it comes to less dangerous (nonphysical or non-life threatening) decisions. We’ve lost so much trust in ourselves that we have difficulty even making the smallest decisions, and when we do, we stress over it.
So how do we begin to trust ourselves, especially after years of not trusting?
I’m a wader, I don’t like to jump directly into the water. I’d rather take one little step at a time, slowly immersing myself deeper. First the toes, then the foot, then ankle, then calf, then knee…you get my point. This technique works well for me because I’m also a wader in life. I tend to check the water first and let my body get used to the temperature, get used to the surroundings. And the more I do this, the deeper I go, the more my body becomes used to the water. And the next thing you know I’m swimming…I might even climb the nearest rock and jump!
The jumping doesn’t feel as scary when I’ve tested the waters and realized for myself that it’s not as scary as I thought.
Our minds hold onto experiences as a reminder of what is good and bad for us. But sometimes our mind needs to be re-trained, we need to re-learn what is REALLY dangerous vs. what is NOT SO dangerous. The mind doesn’t know the difference and it's our job to teach it.
The good news? We don’t have to jump, we can wade.
We can practice and allow our bodies to feel and understand the difference. We can create new thoughts, new beliefs, and new behavior patterns based on what we learn. It may feel uncomfortable at first because our body isn’t used to it. But remember, learning to trust ourselves isn’t anything new…at one time WE DID trust ourselves…before life experiences taught us otherwise.
When faced with uncertainty and self-doubt, below are 5 ways you can learn to trust yourself again (the first 3 steps will require your imagination 😊)
1. Ask a trusted friend. Imagine you are asking a trusted friend or mentor for advice, what would they tell you? Knowing that they have your best interest at heart, what would their response be?
2. Use your magic. Imagine you had a magic wand and you could wave it, changing one area in your life, or giving you the answer/solution, you needed. What would that change or answer/solution be? This helps you to pinpoint what you need or want. When you have the ability to instantly change something, the first thing that comes to mind may be where you want to start. It’s an indicator of where you may need to practice trusting yourself, the most.
3. Work backwards. Imagine everything went according to plan and you have the ideal outcome. Sit with this thought for a moment. Think about what it looks like, what it feels like, sounds like, smells like…use all the senses. Now, thinking about your ideal outcome…what were the steps that brought about that outcome? What was the first step, second step, third step, etc. When you can imagine a desired outcome, you get to the root of what you want...this prompts you to find ways to make it happen.
4. Sit in silence. Listen to your thoughts without judgment…listen as they come and go and how they make your body feel. Which thoughts rise to the top? Which ones make you feel good or expansive. Which ones make you feel not so good or closed off? The point isn’t necessarily to categorize good and bad thoughts…the point is to become aware of how your body feels. No judgement, just awareness. This puts you back in tune with your body, strengthens the mind/body connection and gut instinct. Ultimately, you are learning to hear, feel, and trust your body.
5. Wake up early. Upon waking up, you are still somewhat connected to the unconscious mind. For example, when you first wake up you may remember specific dreams…but throughout the day you tend to forget them. In the early morning, we are more open and in tune to what our unconscious mind is telling us. This is why many writers and artists talk about their best work being produced in the early morning hours. We are less blocked and triggered by the daily rise and grind. We are open to new ideas, new thoughts, new perspectives, and creative solutions. I’ve practiced this for years and when I’m struggling to understand something, make a decision, or need a new way to approach a problem…I get up early and pay attention to my thoughts. I invite any support and new way of thinking and 9/10 I get the answer.
Side note: I sleep with a sticky pad and pen on my bedside table for that specific reason. I will immediately write down what comes to me…so I don’t forget it.
As you continue to practice these steps, just remember it will take time. You are learning to listen, feel, and respond to your body again. You are creating and practicing new thoughts, new beliefs, and new actions.
And most importantly, don't forget to practice compassion and forgiveness toward yourself. You will slip up and find yourself reverting back to your fearful ways, and that’s ok…it’s not easy re-learning new habits and it's not about perfection...it's about consistent progress. Keep wading one foot at a time…and soon you’ll be jumping off rocks!
Sending my Love and Light.
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