Trust is the heartbeat of every significant relationship, with yourself as well as with others. In fact, the relationship with yourself is the foundation of all other relationships.
Therefore, the person you need to trust first is yourself. No one can be as supportive of you as much as you can learn to be. Being kind to yourself increases self-confidence and lessens your need for the approval of others. Loving and caring for yourself not only increases self-trust, it also deepens your connection with the people around you.
To live a life of high achievement, you must fully believe in yourself and your ability.
Stand up to the inner critic.
Self-trust is not trusting yourself to know all the answers, nor is it believing that you will always do the right things. Trusting yourself is having the conviction that you will be kind and respectful to yourself, no matter what the outcome of your efforts is.
When you find yourself in an awkward or difficult situation you listen to the judgement’s reprimands like: I hope you’re satisfied, dummy. You’ve done it now. You are so stupid. You can never do anything right. You are a worthless piece of shit.
This negative, “survive” talk can lead to anxiety and depression and stops you from dealing with the situation in a calm and logical manner.
Positive, “thrive” talk can change the dysfunctional mental state into a healthier state of mind, which allows you to think in clear and creative ways.
The definition of self-trust is the firm belief in your own integrity.
Self-trust means that you can take care of your own needs and safety.
It means that you trust yourself to survive good and bad situations or circumstances.
It means that you practice kindness to yourself, not perfection.
It means you refuse to give up on yourself.
There is a difference between a life that is based on self-trust and one that is not. When we look at examples of people who are self-trusting, we find that they have clarity and confidence in their choices. They are interdependent, which means that they have a healthy dependency but are not overly dependent or hyper-independent. They speak with an authority that comes from this deep place within themselves but they are not arrogant. They are good observers and have cultivated the ability to learn from their experiences, both the successes and failures. They are willing to get up again and again when they fail or experience a setback while in pursuit of creating the life of their dreams.
When you can trust yourself to not punish yourself when you make mistakes, you can look at your experience without fear of self-punishment. When you are supposed to protect yourself from external or internal judgement, you are not going to be able to assess your experience correctly. Your primary intention is then not to learn but to protect yourself.
Avoiding the inner critic undermines self-trust.
People who have not learned to relate to their inner critical voice in a productive way will either argue with it or comply with its indictments. When we buy into the negative voice, we diminish our self-trust. Trying to escape the inner critic and ignoring it by drinking or drugging, or other distractions, will actually empower it. The way to build self-trust is to relate to the inner critic and show it that it is taking a seed of truth and blowing it out of proportion. There are ways to get to know the critic by being curious about its nature:
⦁ What is the inner critic?
⦁ Where does it come from?
⦁ What is its intention?
⦁ What does it want from us?
⦁ What is its agenda?
⦁ What is its job?
⦁ Is it educable?
⦁ Is there any way other than adversarial to relate to it?
⦁ How do we stand up to the inner critic?
When we listen to the inner critic, relate to it, and educate it, we stand up to it. And then a positive shift in our relationship with the inner critic becomes very possible.
Regret undermines self-trust.
Many people live with a lot of regret. Some people have the misguided notion that you should not have regrets. That belief causes them to have more regrets. It is human to have regrets. Only a psychopath or a person who is incapable of learning anything new will have no regrets.
Regret itself is not the problem; what keeps us stuck in regret is the resistance to feeling the full depth of it. It is overwhelming when we don’t have the inner resources to hold the magnitude of the remorse. Fortunately there are plenty of means to learn from regrets and to forgive ourselves.
The bigger the regret, the deeper the shame, and the bigger the opportunity. Just like being compassionate and forgiving towards others, who may have harmed us, we can focus that same attitude towards ourselves. When we realise that something positive came out of that situation, like that we have learned from the mistake, the regret evaporates. Then self-forgiveness and self-trust automatically occur. We produced evidence that reflects the integration of what we have learned.
Being caught in the past or worrying about the future undermines self-trust.
There are so many opportunities all around us that we fail to see. When we live in a consciousness of regret, we live in the past. When we are fearful of the possibility of future suffering, we are living in the future. While bouncing back and forth between the past and the future, we are missing the present. If we are not present, we can’t learn and thus keep recycling through the same mistakes.
As soon as we stop focusing on the future, we will feel anxious and vulnerable. Worry is an expression of an imagined defence to keep trouble away. When we are present, we may feel unprotected. The challenge here is to cultivate a courageous heart that can tolerate longer periods of presence. When we manage to stay longer in the anxiety of the present, our self-trust automatically grows stronger. Then we are no longer enslaved by fear.
In reality, being in the present moment, is the ultimate protection. It may feel dangerous to drop the protection that worry provides, because this puts us at risk. But the paradox is, that the vulnerability of being in pure presence is the ultimate sanctuary.
When we are fully present, there is no fear.
However, our fearful survival mind usually kicks in saying things like: “While you are not paying attention to all those things you should be concerned about, all kinds of dangers are creeping up. All kinds of problems need to be solved. All kinds of people are waiting for you to take care of them. Stop indulging yourself in this childish experiment and get on with real life. If people see that you are not doing what you should be doing and planning for the future, they will have no use of you.”
When we can learn to release the weight of the regret and lack of presence, this can crack us open. We can then no longer sustain our previous self-image and world-view. Learning to manage the inner critic will free up the energy that is necessary to develop self-trust. And learning to stay present while cultivating a healthy and positive relationship with your inner critic in order to work together, will create the breakthrough for our salvation.
These factors in combination are the beginning of an orientation towards a life where we welcome new insights. When we are no longer so fearful of being open and present in our life, the anxiety that robbed us of self-trust can be transformed to eager anticipation of future learning. And this healthy self-trust will then become our constant companion.
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