“The relationship with yourself is the foundation of all other relationships. ~ Brene Brown
My nephew was in the fourth grade when my sister received a call from her son’s teacher and immediately wondered, “Oh no, what did he do?” The teacher explained: “A fellow student was being quietly but relentlessly bullied in the back of the classroom. Your son observed what was happening, stood up, and shouted to the front of the room, ‘This isn’t right. They need to leave him alone!’, and I stepped in. I want you to know that your son demonstrated true leadership today. And it isn’t the first time I have seen him challenge something that didn’t seem right to him.”
Fast forward a few decades and my nephew, a Certified Financial Planner, is the first to say that, for him, “integrity” is at the heart of being a good husband, father, and shepherd of other people’s money. It was there all along: a sense of self-trust he knows he can count on.
About Self-Trust ̶ Self-trust can be defined as “the firm reliance on the integrity of yourself.” Or, described more robustly, “the inner conviction that you are enough, your voice matters, your instincts are wise, and you are always worthy and deserving of self-love.”
We notice people who trust themselves. They convey a quiet confidence and are clearly comfortable in their own skin. For them, there is the sense that whatever happens, they will be able to handle it. On the other hand, people with a low level of self-trust often demonstrate the self-defeating habit of going against themselves.
Build Your Self-Trust ̶ Wherever you are on the self-trust continuum, you can, with intention and practice, boost your self-trust. Relationship Coach Jordan Gray explains: “Self-trust is reclaimed by rekindling our relationship to ourselves and treating ourselves as we would our most cherished friend or loved one.” Here‘s how you can get started:
Create “Me Time” ̶ Spend time writing down how you want to spend time with yourself. Make this super-intentional. Think in terms of what brings you a sense of peace, joy, or exhilaration. Consider small daily “me time” joys like 10 minutes of stretching in the morning, or a small square of the best chocolate you can find. But also consider “treats,” like a one-day-a-month solo jaunt to browse a brick-and-mortar store, or to take a drive out of town. This “me time” is just for you, reinforcing that you matter.
Keep your Promises – Now prove to yourself that you matter by doing the “me time” things you identified. If it helps, think in terms of treating yourself as your own best friend. The more you act on your “me time” list, the more your self-trust will build itself up.
Talk to Yourself – From the insightful Jordan Gray: “Journal. Sit and meditate. Lie down on your bed and just breathe for a while and see what comes up. Or…look inwards and ask yourself questions like, “How have I have been feeling lately?”, “Is there anything I need to do to honor myself more fully?”, or “What does my heart need more of?”
Pay Attention to Your Reactions – Notice how you feel when you go against your intuition. Are your palms sweaty? Is your breathing more rapid and shallow? Maybe you get that sick feeling in your stomach. All signs that your body is saying, “You’re not listening!” The next time you are about to go against yourself, remind yourself of your body’s cues and the wisdom it holds. Then make a choice that supports your inner wisdom.
Clean House ̶̶ It can be difficult to move away from, or set new boundaries with, people in your life who subtly undermine your self-trust. They are the naysayers who, based on their own issues or agenda, aren’t cheering you on. As you grow in self-trust, you may begin to recognize these folks more readily. Also look inward by considering behaviors you engage in that aren’t in your best interest: mindless people-pleasing, negative self-talk, and constantly measuring yourself against some external yardstick.
Learn to enjoy trusting yourself because, guess what? You ARE worth it!