Chances are that you have been doubting and given up trusting yourself several times in your life. To avoid the possibility of misunderstanding I want to make clear upfront that trusting yourself does not imply being stubborn or careless or ignoring warning signals your mind (and your best friends) are sending out. By all means should you inform yourself before you take a decision or be sensitive what effect an action on your side will have on you and your environment. The point is, that most of us shrink away AFTER we have made up our minds, EVEN if we feel it was a balanced decision.
Not trusting yourself will block your way to enjoying life to the fullest
Really trusting yourself means having silenced the voice of self-doubt. Self-doubt is a pattern that might override even the best reasoned actions you want to take. I call it a pattern, because it always originates from the past – often times a distant and forgotten past – and keeps turning up in your life. Everytime you give in to this pattern it is reinforced. Its origins can be manifold, from non-supportive parents, oppressive environment, social patterns and beliefsystems to experiences that you yourself have labeled as “bad lessons”. Self-doubt can simply mean you feel that you will be unable to accomplish your goal or it can be linked to low self-worth. In essence a lack of self-trust is connected to self-judgement.
Do you recognize these examples of not trusting yourself?
It used to happen to me regularly. During the day I had a confrontation with someone I cared for or I spoke up during a management meeting. Or I took steps towards a career change that would allow me to follow my life passion. All seemed fine as long as the day was rolling on. Then it happened. Lying awake at night wondering why I did say this or that, how I could dare do such or such – getting fearful of the outcome. You know how one can keep turning things around in one’s thoughts. Fear by itself is not a sign for lack of trust – it is a natural response of the mind to change or uncertainty. One can have great fear and still know that one will cope with whatever comes up. Self-doubt – lack of self-trust - is where fear freezes our thoughts and actions. We seem unable to reason it away.
Trusting Yourself does begin in the Heart not in the Mind
Lack of trust can be hard to overcome. Often there is an ingrained pattern from past experiences, where other people did not trust you – or where you had deep trust in someone, where that trust was broken, as a result of which you lost trust in yourself when you could or could not trust other people. Trust in this case needs a lot of letting go, releasing of old emotions accepting that past as the past. Trust means understanding that history does not have to repeat itself. Our mind however is thriving on patterns, it is built to recognize them, it is programmed to keep you in the comfort of any pattern you did fall into. The mind wil produce emotions to keep you “safe”.
The Heart however operates on a different level. It is where deep desires originate, where creativity and intuition come from. It is not without reason that we sometimes say that we “feel” something is right or wrong, better or worse. Feelings are not emotions. Feelings are expressions of our true Self. When you are experiencing self-doubt it is of no use to try and argue with your mind.
Learning to trust yourself again
The approach I suggest is to accept the doubt and fear for the moment. Acknowledge that you have them. When you stop reasoning the mind will become silent. Then you can start to connect to that which made you indulge in the plan or situation that is now being questioned by your mind. Get into the feeling deep down that made you endeavour it in the first place.
This “originating” feeling is magically connected to the feeling that you will have once you achieve your goal. It sparks this knowing of “This is what I want”. Putting yourself in the place where you already are where you want to be will allow you to look back as it where. Doing this exercise will also show you if your intention came form the heart or the mind in the first place. When you feel at peace in this future spot it is the heart that is leading you, when your mind is racing, creating images of pros and cons it might well have been the mind that pushed you and it would be wise to revisit your steps and plans. But the latter is for another post.
Once you are connected to your feeling and know where you want to go you will either already have found the strenght to go on or you might work on appeasing your mind. A proven exercise is to note where you really doubt yourself and do not want to continue. Then find out what the doubt is based on and check if it is reasonable. If it is not, find out the beliefs you have about this and let them go or replace them one by one.
Trusting Yourself is an important attribute – it empowers you as it is connecting you to your true self, freeing you from the fear of judgement by others or youself. As stated before – it certainly does not mean that you’ll never need to seek advice or learn from others, on the contrary: trusting yourself means allowing your own judgment and that what is called intuition. With trust you are open to critique of others and avoid going forward on a path that you know is not the best choice.
Please offer us your comments and experiences with trusting yourself! We welcome any in the commentbox below!