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Broken Trust?

Do you trust yourself? Others? Have disappointments and hurt caused you to doubt? Have you or others let you down? The person you need to trust first is you. Self-trust often waxes and wanes and does so in response to the outcome of your choices. Make a good choice and get the desired result – BAM, trust. Get a result that's miles away from your expectations; self-trust diminishes. But it doesn't have to - just the opposite.

“Self-trust is the essence of heroism.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-trust isn't built from getting it all right all the time; just the opposite. It's the confidence born out of triumphing over mistakes and failures and the ability to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and go on. Self-trust is kindness, compassion and ultimately, self-care. It means that you believe in yourself and your ability to honour your needs, safety, and well-being, no matter what life throws at you. When you doubt your ability to pick yourself up, when you have denied your feelings, when you're fearful of failure, when you harbour shame for your mistakes, self-trust and trust in others erodes.

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Self-trust isn't easy for many, and determining whether you're worthy of your trust is often faulty. False confidence arises when everything goes your way. I was an above-average student, and in grade nine, I was placed in a high-achieving algebra class with whiz kids and a teacher who, for the most part, had a way of explaining things that I didn't understand. Up until this point, I would've said that I trusted myself to do well, get good grades and excel, but, BAM, I almost failed the first exam. I trusted myself as long as I did well. The methods I'd applied in the past had failed, and my experience with this adversity made me doubt if I was as "smart" as I thought and if I belonged with these kids.

I don't remember the exact moment, but I remember thinking that I needed to change the approach, get help and ask more questions. It took courage for me to admit I was struggling, as to me, this was failing, and I didn't want to look silly or like I wasn't as bright. I eventually got the help I needed and learned that I could trust myself to do what I needed to do. This was a helpful lesson and prepared me for more significant challenges in the years ahead.

We don't learn self-trust when things are going well, we earn it when faced with adversity.

You can reliably build self-trust by the willingness to learn from your experiences. When circumstances show up in opposition to your beliefs or expectations, how you interpret these events and manage them will either increase self-trust or erode it.

Self-trust is the choice to see disappointments, mistakes and failures as feedback and information, rather than a defining statement about who you are and what you deserve.

The degree to which you trust yourself will determine how willing you are to take steps to maximize your life. Self-trust is knowing you have a parachute you can count on and a backup should you need it. Building self-trust requires keeping your promises, honouring your needs, speaking to yourself with compassion and staying open to learning.

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