How Can I Learn To Trust Myself Again?
It is entirely possible to re-build self-trust.
It’s also entirely important: strong sense of self-trust is a foundation and safe place through which we can explore the world and tasks risks.
Think of self-trust as a safety net- when you have a trusting relationship with yourself, you have your own back
When we trust ourselves, it’s also easier to trust others because we can predict how we will behave in a variety of situations. In other words, the most important factor in any situation is under our control: who we are and how we will act.
In this post we will cover:
How self-trust deteriorates
Ways to cultivate or re-build self-trust (you can do it!)
Let’s get into it.
A Lack Of Self-Trust Looks Like…
When we don’t trust ourselves, it shows up in our life in a variety of ways. Here are a few:
- We question our abilities and competence often
- Harsh, self-critical thoughts follow slip-ups or mistakes
- We struggle to maintain boundaries
- We often defer to others decision-making
- Rely on others to figure out how you feel about a relationship or situation
- Struggle to recognize our strengths and abilities for what they are
- Undermine our contributions and opinions
What Chips Away At Self-Trust?
So how do we get here?
Losing self-trust can be a gradual process, and it often doesn’t come with red flag indicators. This is why it’s important to learn how self-trust can deteriorate.
Here are a few ways:
Self-Abandoning: When we abandon ourselves, we fail to prioritize our needs/desires, judge ourselves harshly, and tend not to act in our best interests. This evolves into a lack of self-trust. The consequence of this is we often fail to recognize what we need from ourselves and lose faith in our ability to get our needs met. Self-abandonment often occurs in real time. This means that we can abandon ourselves in everyday life decisions. We can understand our needs and desires in a given moment, and choose to abandon, or reject them, on the spot.
Not committing to values: Acting in line with our guiding principles creates helps us to know that our internal and external worlds are in sync. When our actions don’t align with our values, it chips away at our
Unreachable goals/expectations: Challenging goals can motivate us- if we can get there. Unreachable goals are often out of touch with reality and our true capacity. When we consistently set goals or expectations out of our reach, we inevitably feel disappointed and lose trust in our ability to succeed or follow-through. The truth is, it was never about our ability- it was the nature of the goal itself.
Our Best Tips On Cultivating Self-Trust
Building self-trust is a gradual process- if you are not sure where to begin, start here 🙂
You are capable of doing difficult things! The challenges you take on do not have to be monumental. In fact, start small but meaningful so you have a greater chance of overcoming them.
Overcoming challenges proves to us that we are capable and competent. It also provides a major confidence boost and creates the momentum we need to begin trusting in our abilities once again.
Practice Being Decisive
Back-tracking and second-guessing ourselves chips away at both our confidence and self-trust. Follow-through with the decisions you make- even if you are not sure about them.
When we follow-through with and handle the decision with confidence, it builds trust in our ability to manage any situation. On the contrary, questioning ourselves constantly undermines our own sense of competence.
Have Reasonable & Achievable Goals And Non-Negotiables
Do you set yourself up to fail? We often set large and daunting goals that increase the likelihood of disappointment. It’s okay to dream big! Try breaking the overall goal into smaller achievable goals that will help you gain trust and confidence in your abilities.
Similarly, try reflecting on whether your non-negotiables are punishing or achievable. If you find yourself consistently negotiating with your non-negotiables, it may be time to re-evaluate how well they fit into your life.
Set yourself up for success/follow-through and a stronger sense of self-trust by making your non-negotiables achievable. For example, instead of 2 hours of exercise a day, bring it down to 30 minutes and gradually increase from there as your confidence builds.
Re-Frame Mistakes As Opportunities
Those of us who lack self-trust can be highly critical when we slip up or make mistakes. This is rooted in the value we are assigning to these mistakes. If we interpret mistakes as a scathing review of our competence or a reflection of who we are, those mistakes can chip away at our self-trust.
However, when we use those very same mistakes as opportunities for growth, we are less judgemental and in a better position to learn from that experience!
Build On Strengths
As we focus on building self-trust, it’s important to do things we are already good at. Yes, go out of your way to do things you know you will succeed in! It helps us recognize and reinforce our strengths and gives us the wins we need to feel confident in ourselves again.
Self-trust is also about appreciating what we are already good at. When we lost self-trust, we tend to undermine and downplay our strengths. If you struggle with this, try asking friends, family, co-workers and peers what they think your greatest strengths are. The answers may pleasantly surprise you!
Building and re-building self-trust is a continuous, life long process. The process of building trust in others applies to self-trust too- and we don’t build trust in people overnight, it takes time and sustained effort. We have to SHOW ourselves that we can be our own safety net!
Remember this- the most important and long-lasting relationship we have in this life is with ourselves. Building self-trust and self-accountability may be the biggest and most worthwhile investment you make in yourself.
Here’s a post to summarize some of the points above:
I want to hear from you: How do you gain (and maintain) trust in yourself?
Until next time!
Sarah Ahmed is the co-founder and a psychotherapist at WellNest Psychotherapy Services. Sarah strongly favors an integrative, trauma-informed, client-centered approach to create a healthy alliance with clients and their loved ones.