One of the biggest obstacles to having the life you want and deserve is your lack of self-trust. Call it intuition, your gut, or confidence, but the ability to deeply trust your own decisions, feelings and beliefs is the key to living a full and authentic life.
Self-doubt is corrosive to your happiness and fulfillment. It will eat away at your dreams and fantasies until you find yourself paralyzed and unable to get what you really desire.
Self-doubt can be both insidious and sudden. The loss can happen incrementally over the life span as you learn how to have this relationship with yourself through interactions with others, or it can be ripped out of you by deception and betrayal.
It only takes a few disheartening experiences or critical remarks for you to develop the inability to trust your own thoughts, feelings, capability and voice.
You may have been taught that in order to trust others you have to trust yourself. While this is true, that’s not how your story of self-trust began. As a baby you had to fully trust others to keep you alive. Then you developed trust in yourself (or not) as you grew to realize that you actually have the ability to influence your environment. That level of self-trust was completely dependent on how much you could trust others.
Self-trust takes shape when you feel or “intuit” something about yourself, others or the world. Then the next natural step is to receive validation from the external environment as to whether you’re knowledge or experience is accurate. If you’re challenged in your thinking or feeling, you will do one of two things:
1. Question yourself
2. Question the other
When you were small the natural inclination would have been to question yourself because you were dealing with people that were (supposed to be) wiser and stronger.
In a healthy and adaptive environment you would have been challenged, but also validated for having your own thoughts and ideas even if they were wrong. In a toxic environment you would have been made to feel “stupid”, “wrong” or even “crazy”, which in turn would make you doubt your own ability to “know” on both a practical and intuitive level.
In the adult world your self trust will become challenged when you have been blatantly lied to or betrayed. This is particularly true when the deceiving party won’t admit to their dishonesty leaving you wondering about what you “know”. It’s the ultimate maddening dilemma of “what’s real?”
Establishing or rebuilding self-trust, like most other personal development skills is a practice. It requires risking being wrong, imperfect, and flawed. In order to (re)build trust in yourself you have to be willing to make mistakes and trust that it will all work out.
Self-trust also comes from challenging what you don’t believe. If you question something, or if your intuition is not aligned with what you’re being told, you need to inquire. Shrinking away and not using your voice to get answers is a tell tale sign of eroded self-trust. “They must be right” or “I don’t’ want to be difficult” are not acceptable responses.
Overall, listen to yourself and trust what you hear. Start asking the one person you can believe in for the most important answers…you.
Dr. Andra Brosh July 4th, 2014
Posted In: Andra Brosh