“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1. Honor Your Emotions
To develop self-trust, stop seeking the opinions of others and recognize the guidance within you.
Self-trust is harnessed when we follow our sacred wisdom instead of looking outside ourselves to provide inner peace.
We develop self-trust by honoring our emotions instead of hiding behind them. As you honor your feelings, you develop trust in your capacity to deal with what arises.
Equally, we must distance ourselves from people who undermine our self-trust. Some people push your pain buttons because it pleases them to see you suffer. Whilst they can help us to identify our disowned parts, we are better to distance ourselves from them rather than become embroiled in their deceitful ways.
Self-trust is developed by nurturing our innermost thoughts. Whilst we cannot control external circumstances, we become curious to what is going on inside us instead of retaliate in anger.
“As we learn to recognize and understand the body’s subtle sensations, and then act on them, our self-trust will grow tremendously. To me it is rather amazing that the body has this innate sense of the truth, as if the body is hardwired for it,” states psychotherapist John Prendergast Ph.D.
The subtleties of the human body point to what is going on beneath the surface, so we become attuned to the minor fluctuations and our true needs.
2. Follow the Inner Guidance
It’s vital we honor our commitment to ourselves, whether it be in the goals we set or pursuing our dreams. To dishonor them diminishes our self-trust because we fail to follow through on our plans.
Fostering self-trust involves developing a compassionate dialogue with ourselves. In times of turmoil, we should cultivate compassionate thoughts rather than be ruled by the unfolding drama. We plant the seed of equanimity and nurture it with kindness so it grows strong.
Self-trust arises when we make time to honor the child within us. This means devoting time to be with ourselves, instead of declaring how busy we are, in the midst of craving emotional compassion.
John Prendergast states, “As we learn to slow down, tune in to our inner guidance, and act on it, our self-trust grows. We increasingly get the feel for when something resonates as being true or false for us, in or out of accord. This sense of inner resonance becomes our inner authority.”
Our inner authority is the pillar of a stable emotional life. We take the time to connect with our emotional wellbeing and attend to any disturbances that show up.
3. Understand the Power of Silence
How do you recognize when you need time alone?
Whenever you notice internal unrest, it is a call to spend time in silence to examine the emotions.
It is no surprise our lives are hectic. We are more likely to pay attention to external events instead of meet our personal needs. We spend our waking life fixed on the world “out there” instead of within. Yet, if we continue down this path we neglect our inner life, which influences how we relate to the world.
A practice I mention in my upcoming book, Reconstructing the Past to Create a Remarkable Future involves a simple question to see how we relate to the world.
“How am I doing?”
This simple question allows us to distinguish what is going on inside us, instead of dismissing the emotional disturbances as unjustified.
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” — Golda Meir
Eckhart Tolle states that whenever emotional chaos is apparent, we invite an earlier Pain-Body experience into the present moment. This is obvious when others trigger our Pain-Body, such as being cut off in traffic or someone taking our line in the queue whilst shopping.
If we don’t take the time to examine what is going on beneath the surface, we react instead of interact with our core emotions.
“Most of us have not tried just sitting in and through a feeling experience. We have not trusted ourselves enough to let our feelings take their full course. So we never find out that a feeling is not so tough on us as we imagine it will be. We miss out on how much better we feel when we let go instead of hold back. Nothing is so hard to handle as the fear of facing it,” affirms author David Richo.
Building self-trust does not mean we will always say or do the right thing. Irrespective of our words or actions, whatever arises is there to guide our personal evolution.
4. Develop Mindfulness
A well-known practice for developing self-trust is to be mindful of your body moments before you react to external events. So, with someone taking your place in the shopping queue, move into your body and note any tension or tightness. Become curious toward these sensations and observe them non-judgmentally.
For example, you might be aware of a constricting sensation in your chest moments before retaliating with the person who took your place in the queue at the supermarket.
Be with the emotion and simply notice it without an agenda. Silently repeat the phrase, “I’m aware of you” or as Daniel Goleman suggests, label the emotion. So we affirm to ourselves, anger or fear instead of act on it.
This simple action puts the brakes on deferring our emotions and draws our awareness to what is going on inside us.
In this way we become aware and awake, instead of unconscious to the emotional drivers in our life.
We develop self-trust by honoring every facet of our being irrespective of whether we approve or disapprove of that part of us.
For example, those with a diminished self-esteem might criticize themselves for reacting angrily to a situation. In contrast, those with an empowered self-esteem see it as an opportunity to become inquisitive and a teaching point from which to grow.
5. Work On Heart-Centered Awareness
To develop self-trust is to listen to our heart’s guidance, rather than be dictated by the incessant thoughts.
Our thoughts are saboteurs since they cannot be trusted. Given their volatility from moment to moment, we cannot rely on them to make sense of our environment.
For example, at the end of a working day your thoughts are scattered, while mid-morning after you’ve had a cup of coffee they’re less likely to be reactive.
However, the heart is not influenced by fluctuating mood changes. There is a stillness that longs for you to connect with, even during your darkest hour. Practice moving your awareness into your heart in the midst of the commotion and observe the silence.
Be with the sensations that arise and meet them with openness. You’ll soon realize the habitual and stressful thoughts melt away, leaving a sea of expansiveness that permeates your mind and body.
Self-trust is an invitation to develop a relationship with your core self. We learn to become our own best friend and appreciate the interplay between our thoughts and emotions, instead of remaining unconscious to them.
In doing so, we learn to trust the guidance from our deepest wisdom.
Ultimately, if we continue to place our trust in others’ opinions, we will disengage from our sense of authority and diminish our self-confidence over time.