Learn to Trust Yourself: 7 Tips to Strengthening Your Self-Confidence
“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
I don’t trust myself to ___. With what words would you fill in this blank? …make good decisions? …follow through? …just say no? Before you can step forward with confidence, it’s important to learn to trust yourself, to believe you can do it, because it’s easy to get consumed by second-guessing and doubting yourself, which are key reasons for inaction.
Think about it…what leads you to trust another person? Is your trust earned by one grand gesture? No, it’s the consistent, trustworthy moments you experience that build up a pattern of trust. Likewise, each small moment of self-trustworthiness you experience builds a record you can count on.
To have enough self-confidence to begin, and then see an action through, comes from knowing how you will most likely react under adversity, stress and pressure. This self-knowledge takes time and a practice of mindfulness, as you experience each situation, carefully analyzing and assessing how you react and how you can improve. When you do this with curiosity and not judgment, the outcome will be so rewarding. You’ll come to know that you can trust yourself to successfully handle a similar situation in the future.
Be mindful that your confidence and trust in yourself is never dependent on the behavior of others. For example, one of my clients gave a stellar presentation that everyone loved, but her internal talk tore it apart and she put herself down; she shattered her own confidence!
Now put yourself in her shoes, what would you have done, in that situation? Even if you were the speaker whose audience became bored and distracted, could you step back, assess what happened and why, so that you could learn from the experience, without it shaking your confidence? You can if you believe in yourself!
We can’t afford to give our power away by letting other people dictate how we think and feel about ourselves. We can respectfully listen to what they say and then make a conscious decision that their thoughts won’t change who we really are. As Frank Sonnenberg, author of Soul Food: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, says:
“Consider the advice of others, but trust yourself in the end.”
If you’ve lost trust in yourself because you haven’t forgiven yourself for a mistake you made or someone in your life has worn you down with harsh criticism, know that all is not lost!
Please use the following suggestions to learn to trust yourself again…
1. Embrace the whole YOU. Acting like someone you’re not is a sign that you don’t trust yourself. Be mindful of your emotions and avoid the tendency, when hurt, to withdraw and hide your true self. When you start to feel insecure, remind yourself it’s OK to be you. As I tell my clients…
“Stop trying to feel secure and learn to tolerate insecurity. It’s part of our human condition, and it takes a lot less energy navigating through it, than trying to avoid the feeling.”
~ Maria Connolly
2. Hold onto your values. Under pressure, we might cave in. It takes practice to stand up for what you believe in even if that makes you “different”. After all, other people are entitled to their thoughts, beliefs and feelings the same as you are.
3. Keep promises to self and others. Sometimes we make promises we know we can’t keep, because we want to end the pressure being placed upon us. To keep this from happening, build strong boundaries and mindfully choose to say either YES or NO, and mean it! This builds your trustworthy reputation.
4. Be accountable for mistakes. If you mess up, don’t let shame overpower you. Apologizing will bust shame into pieces so you can move forward once again.
5. Practice self-compassion and self-forgiveness. One misstep doesn’t make you a bad person. We’re all weak at times and being judgmental does not help! Stop any negative self-talk, before it becomes set in your brain. Be generous in your assumptions about yourself, choosing to see the best in yourself, while realistically working on the weakness, so it eventually becomes a strength.
6. Build on your strengths. It can be helpful to do more of the things that you’re good at and less of the things that you aren’t great at. When you excel, your self-confidence and self-trust will soar.
7. Firm up your decision-making skills. Break the habit of questioning your decisions. The next time you make a choice, even if it’s not the best choice you’ve ever made, maybe it’s even a disaster, there’s no benefit to beating yourself up. Learn from it and your next decision will be better.
Until you learn to trust yourself, introspection will feel uncomfortable. Recognize what’s happening and embrace the discomfort as a sign that you’re going to learn something new about yourself and you can handle whatever that is.
Realize that avoidance — using external noise from electronics and activities that keep you so busy you can’t think — isn’t the answer to feeling more confident. It works against you learning to trust yourself.
Is it time to break the habit of looking away, by mindfully looking within? The perfect time and place to become comfortable with introspection, as you learn to trust yourself under any situation, is NOW!
I started paying attention to the processes and systems that created the greatest impact in my life. Some are seemingly insignificant; some are major breakthroughs. Combined, they form a road map for Stepping Forward into my life of meaning and fulfillment. I’m confident that this program will work for you! Please download an Introduction to The Stepping Forward Program to get started today.