Trust is an essential ingredient in any relationship. When it comes to the relationships in your life, the one with yourself is so important. But do you trust yourself?
Developing trust in yourself allows you to live a life that’s authentically yours. And it frees you from the need to constantly seek reassurance from external sources about your decisions and mistakes. Furthermore, it helps you face your fears and overcome obstacles more confidently.
This article will help you build trust with the most important person in your life- you. Even if you feel like you are the last person you can trust, it’s never too late to turn it around.
What does it mean to trust (yourself)?
We hear the word trust all the time. But when you sit down and think about it, trust can be a hard thing to put into words.
Trust may mean that you can count on someone. Or it may mean that you believe someone has good character and won’t tell a lie.
Even the research has multiple definitions of trust. But each definition seems to come back to the idea that one party has faith in the integrity of the other party.
Now let’s look at trust as it relates to trusting yourself. Do you have faith in your own character? Do you feel like you can count on yourself?
I’ve certainly answered no to these questions many times in my life. I remember not trusting myself to choose the right grad school. And I remember not trusting myself to choose a good romantic partner.
This lack of trust usually stemmed from judging myself on past mistakes. But with self-work, I have come to be able to change my answer to those questions. Now I can emphatically say I trust myself.
Why does it matter if you trust yourself or not?
If you haven’t trusted yourself for most of your life, you may be thinking why change now? But research shows that not trusting yourself affects you more than you think.
One study found that individuals who trusted themselves and didn’t easily shift their personality based on circumstance were trusted by others more. They were also found to have more meaningful relationships.
Another study found that people who trust themselves are more likely to demonstrate professional confidence.
So it seems in order to be trusted and be able to foster relationships, you must first trust yourself.
I can personally attest that the times in life when I didn’t trust myself were some of my darkest. When I lacked faith in myself, it was easy to give into depression.
Because I didn’t believe I was capable of chasing my dreams or worthy of the things I aspired to. So this lack of trust led to a sense of insecurity.
Rebuilding trust in myself was a key step for me in overcoming my battle with depression. And it was a huge stepping stone towards a healthier relationship with my spouse and friends.
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5 ways to trust yourself
It’s time to start putting the work in to trust yourself again. With these 5 tips, we will give you the tools you need to jump-start your journey.
1. Get to know yourself
You are less likely to trust someone you don’t know. The same applies to trusting yourself.
It’s important to have a foundational understanding of who you are. But how do you get to know yourself?
I think the best way is to spend time with yourself. For me, this looks like journaling or taking myself on solo dates.
I will go to lunch with myself and bring a paper and pen to write my thoughts. Having quiet time alone helps you to become aware of who you are at your core.
It doesn’t have to be journaling. You could spend quiet time reflecting with a relaxing bath or exploring nature with a walk.
But you do need to take the time to get to know your wants, desires, and emotions. This will help you begin to believe that you are someone you can trust.
2. Set goals and stick to them
Sometimes the best way to start trusting yourself is to prove to yourself that you’re trustworthy.
A good way to do this is to set good goals and follow through with them. These goals could be big or small.
I remember I was having a hard time trusting that I was capable of doing hard things. I didn’t trust myself to be able to get out of my comfort zone.
So I set a goal that I would run a marathon that year. I had never been much of a runner. But I needed to see that I could do hard things.
I planned and stuck to a training plan. I ended up successfully completing the marathon. Since then, I have run an ultramarathon which is something I never thought I’d be capable of.
But more importantly, I learned to trust that I am capable of doing things I perceive as impossible. It took setting a goal and taking action toward that goal to get there.
3. Try to not always ask others for advice
This is a tough one for me. I tend to always seek advice from people close to me to reassure me about my decision.
And while sometimes this is useful, you shouldn’t rely on it. Sometimes you just need to jump and make the decision independently.
Once you make more decisions on your own, you will see that you are capable of making good decisions in your life.
I remember one of the first big decisions I made on my own. It was regarding breaking up with a boyfriend.
I was really anxious because I didn’t know if it was the right decision. I had been dating this guy for 2 years. I knew in my gut things weren’t healthy, but there was obviously a sense of attachment.
Typically I would consult multiple friends and get their insight. But I knew I needed to trust myself to make the decision.
So I broke up with him. And while it was rough at first, ending that relationship led to me meeting my husband.
If I had consulted all my friends, it would have been easy to get confused and back out. Make more decisions on your own so you can see that you are trustworthy.
4. Make decisions often
This tip goes hand in hand with tip #3. Not only do you need to make your own decisions, but you need to get in a habit of doing it often.
Making one decision on your own probably won’t establish immense trust in yourself. But lots of decisions made using your gut will do the trick.
I try to practice this with small decisions to try to make it easier to do with big decisions.
A prime example of when I practice this is at restaurants. I intentionally trust myself to decide quickly and go with my first choice.
I try to do it with other small things like deciding whether or not to say yes to hanging out with friends.
It may sound simple, but this practice helps you to have more faith in your decisions. And this will translate to when life throws you some bigger curveball decisions.
5. Learn to communicate your feelings
Another big piece of trusting yourself is allowing yourself the space to communicate your feelings.
Sometimes we don’t trust how we’re feeling. Or we think if we do express our feelings the outcome will be negative.
But this leads to internal distress. And you start second-guessing yourself and your actions even more.
I remember with one of my boyfriends I was terrified to express my real feelings. I was afraid that if I said what I really thought that he wouldn’t love me.
So instead, I second-guessed my emotions and always justified his actions instead. As you can imagine, this led to anxiety and stress in the relationship.
One day I finally decided I’m just going to say what I feel. And I was terrified. But afterward, I felt this strange sense of relief.
By speaking my truth, I finally felt free and more like myself. He didn’t understand and things didn’t work out.
But the sensation of finally feeling like myself again was worth it. That relationship taught me to trust myself enough to say what I feel.
So stop holding back. Say what you feel and trust that the outcome will work out in your favor.
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Trust has to be earned in any relationship. Trusting yourself is no different. The tips from this article are designed to help you earn your own trust again to radically change your life. Because when you finally trust yourself, you’ll realize that your gut will always guide you to where you’re meant to be.
Do you fully trust yourself, or are you hoping to improve your confidence in yourself? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!