Believe it or not, there is a lot of trust in the world. You have it and so does everyone around you. Much of this trust is so routine and unconscious that you don’t even realize you have it.
You are sure that the sun will rise.
You rely on the seasons changing.
You believe that your house will support its roof; that its floors will support you and your possessions.
You are confident that bridges will support the traffic using them.
You expect your car to operate safely.
More obvious and noticeable is the trust you have – or don’t have – in others.
There is a lot of talk nowadays about the lack of trust people are feeling in government, financial institutions, or large corporations. On a more personal basis, you may trust your colleagues to work together towards a common goal…or the opposite may be true in your situation.
You actively feel trust in those you love.
You trust them to be who they say they are.
You trust your loved ones to be consistent in their attitudes and behaviors.
You trust them to love and support you… or on the other hand, perhaps you trust that they won’t be there to support you.
One of the most important and least discussed aspects of trust is self-trust. Do you trust yourself to make good decisions? Can you rely on yourself to be the person you aspire to be?
Any breakdown of trust causes a reaction of shock. It happens when our trust in physical structures is ill founded, such as when an earthquake shatters homes and highways.
In a similar way, you may feel hurt and chagrined when anyone you trust betrays you, even in a small way.
But the most devastating lack of trust occurs when you fail to trust yourself.
Lack of self-trust often occurs after an external emotional shock: losing one’s job unexpectedly, suffering from a failed relationship, or feeling betrayed. These types of shattering experiences can cause you to doubt yourself, to lose confidence in your judgment.
These haunting emotions can create a downward spiral if you’re not careful: eroding hope, faith, and self-reliance – and even mental health. The external event starts a powerful internal reaction.
So how do you rebuild self-trust in yourself after a major blow to your belief system? The same way you build trust again in any situation: taking one step at a time, making impartial observations, and listening to that small voice inside.
When a physical structure falls, it must be rebuilt from the foundation up. The same is true of trust.
Let’s consider what the strongest foundation would be to begin rebuilding trust in yourself. What are your true values, deep down? Those characteristics and beliefs you adhere to even when no one is looking.
Are they the same as they always have been? If so, why? If not, why not? Each small piece of your beliefs and values that you rebuild is a small step towards self-trust.
Secondly, it is important to gain a very clear picture of your situation with impartial observations.
Many times, you feel betrayed and wounded when a situation shakes your trust: when a marriage ends or when financial institutions fail. This is normal; you need time to lick your wounds, to nurture yourself.
Self-nurturance is different, however, from wallowing in self-pity. Self-pity is another catalyst for that downward spiral of emotions which results in a lack of self-trust.
Instead, take a deep breath and observe the situation from as neutral a place as you can. Sometimes, it is not about you. Instead, it is about the inevitability of change, whether of another person or of the world in general.
Own your responsibility in the situation and learn from it. Recognize what you could control versus what was out of your control. If the situation was not within your control (which is true for almost everything), then you may have no reason to doubt your choices.
Whatever the circumstances, take the time to study the situation in an objective manner, and be fair to yourself. And remember that many devastating situations can actually be blessings in disguise.
Lastly, listen to that still, small voice that whispers to you in your most quiet moments. I’m not referring to the ego that judges and condemns, but instead to your spirit that knows what is best for you.
Paying attention to your instincts or intuition can propel you into the direction that is right for you. You might find that you weren’t listening to your intuition before when it tried to warn you about something being amiss.
It took me many years of ignoring my intuition before I realized what a wealth of personal wisdom it brings me. I thought that if I ignored it, the warning wouldn’t be true.
Now I listen for it and trust it.
We all have times when our trust is shaken. Just as a physical wound needs time to heal, so do emotional wounds.
Give yourself the time and nurturance you need to gain clarity and understanding and pay close attention to your own deep wisdom.
Taken one step at a time, you can build your self-trust to be stronger than ever.
What steps can you take to help yourself heal your self-trust? How can you pay better attention to your own intuition? Share your thoughts about trusting yourself below in the comments.