Do You Trust Yourself?
By Lori Radun
How many times do you sit on the fence when you need to make a decision? You feel ambivalent and afraid to make a choice for fear of making the wrong choice. When you get that funny feeling in your stomach that tells you something is not right, do you trust your intuition or do you ignore that little voice inside of you? At our core, we know what is best for us. Learning to trust that can sometimes be challenging.
Sometimes we learn as children that we can't trust ourselves. The ability to trust our caregivers and vice versa is learned at a very early age and sometimes this developmental stage is thwarted. Maybe your trust in yourself was shattered when you thought you were making a good decision, but the decision turned out to be disastrous and painful. The inability to trust oneself can also come from not knowing who we truly are. And even when we do know ourselves, we still sometimes make the wrong choices because we let fear, external pressure or low self-esteem get in the way.
We all make decisions that don't turn out as planned. When I was a child, I always envied girls that could tap dance. So as an adult, I thought for sure I would love taking a tap dance class. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was actually quite bored, not to mention extremely challenged. I decided I wasn't as thrilled about tap dancing as I had originally thought.
I'm sure you've made a wrong decision before, even though you saw all the warning signs. We all have, including myself. The red flags were present when I married my ex-husband. I saw them and I ignored them because I convinced myself it was the best option for our little boy, who was only one at the time. I wasn't really surprised when, within one year, we were separated.
I'm also sure there have been times you made the best decision you could possibly make. Maybe you got out a piece of paper and wrote down all the pros and cons for each choice. As educated and informed as the decision was it still didn't turn out as planned. Does that mean you can't trust yourself in the future to make the right choices? The answer is no. Life changes; people change and we don't have control over that.
To love yourself is to trust yourself. How can you trust other people if you can't trust yourself? The bottom line is that you must feel comfortable with yourself because you know yourself better than anyone does. Let me give you an example. For a long period of time, my husband did not like his hairstyle. Every morning, he would ask me how his hair looked and I would tell him it looked fine. Even people at work told him his hair looked good. One day he said to me, "I don't know if I can believe people when they say my hair looks good." Why would he think people would lie to him? He was not able to trust me or people at work because he did not trust himself. Until he became comfortable with his own hair, he would not believe that others were making genuine comments about his hair.
When people don't trust themselves, they normally seek guidance from everyone else. It's okay to listen to other people's opinions, as long as you don't allow them to make the final decision for you. What matters is what's most important to you or what works best for you. If you're feeling ambivalent, take the time to listen to your intuition. That little voice inside of you will guide you if you're quiet enough to hear it.
An essential part of my coaching training was learning to listen to my intuition. We were instructed as coaches to listen deeply and then blurt out whatever that little voice was telling us. Then we would ask the client to confirm the truth of our intuition. Sometimes we were wrong, but more often than not, we were correct. So how do you know if you can trust your intuition? You won't until you start testing it out. The more you find that little voice to be accurate, the more you will begin to trust yourself.
Put that little voice to some tests. When you feel unsure about a decision, listen to what your intuition is saying. Do not let your fears or other defense mechanisms get in the way. Go with your gut and see how things turn out. Every time your intuition is accurate, record the decision in a journal so you can begin to see that you can indeed trust yourself. Do not get discouraged if sometimes you are wrong. Learn from your mistake and move forward. Isn't it better to trust yourself and be wrong than not trust yourself at all?
Lori Radun, CEC is a certified life coach for moms.