Last week I began the topic of trust as it pertains to relationships https://mindbal.com/how-to-gain-trust-back-in-a-relationship/ In couples counseling, trust is most likely going to be an issue up for discussion. Most couples come in with an idea of what they believe trust is, or better yet how trust should feel. However, trust is not entirely a feeling. For the most part, none of us really learn how to trust. Instead whatever we learned from our parents, our upbringing, then our life experiences, this is what we begin developing and collecting as our definitions of trust as we know them today. However, the most important aspect of trust is rarely taught to us and that is, trusting ourselves.
Trusting ourselves may sound like a given. However, in relationship counseling I have noticed that so much of a person’s power is given to their partner on this topic of trust. We put a great deal of weight on whether or not our partner is trust-worthy. Rarely in couples counseling, do I see individuals trying to work on their personal trust issues (which most people do have). Trusting ourselves is not as easy as one may think, mainly because we never learned how. The good news is it is never too late.
The first step in learning to trust yourself is reflecting and looking back at where and what you learned about trust. For example, what did your family teach you about what trust looks like? How did your family and fiends influence you on this topic of trust? Do you agree with it today and does it fit into your current world? This is important to help you learn to trust yourself because you are now going to be making a choice. Either you will choose to keep these definitions of trust or you can choose to replace them.
Next, when your intuition or gut tells you to do something or not, do you listen to that, or do you ask for others to help you make decisions. Many times clients in relationship counseling will tell me they had a “feeling” that they should have done something different but they instead turned to someone else for advice or opinion and ignored that first intuitive response. While getting advice or a second opinion can be commendable at times, our individual intuitions can become clouded. Listening to others’ opinions or external influencers can impede the ability to listen to our own intuition. Your own intuition is unlike anyone else’s, and can only be right for you. Your intuition is like an internal best friend, that is always with you and willing to help but instead it is ignored.
Teaching yourself to listen to your intuition can be challenging at first. Think about it as an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, it can take time to get to know him again. You may hit some bumps along the road of trusting your intuition but you don’t give up on a good friend. When you are teaching yourself to get to know your intuition again, it most important to know it boils down to making a choice to slow down and really listen. Asking your self some simple questions like “How do I feel about this?”. “What was my initial response/reaction to this idea?”. Learning to listen to your own thoughts and feelings will help guide you closer to that intuition that wants to help you. Building this intuitive muscle is like any other muscle in our body, it will develop muscle memory over time.
Trusting ourselves is the best gift we can give not only to our self but to our partners. Yes, this does not mean we will not make mistakes or that others can still betray our trust. However, knowing ourselves and trusting ourselves leads to more confident decisions that are in our control. We can choose to trust ourselves if we want to.
In the next blog post on trust, I will talk about trusting others and useful steps to help guide your decision into trusting someone else. Having a clear idea of what trusting self is the most important step before we can continue building trust with others. If we can learn to trust ourselves we always have someone to count on because wherever you go there you are.