If you’re like most people, (and when referring to human behaviour, most of us are like most people), you’d probably say you can trust yourself.
The reality is, however, if you hold yourself accountable for your own truth, most people (myself included), don’t have to look too hard to find small and everyday examples where they haven’t lived up to the promises they’ve made to themselves.
Have you ever over indulged in eating unhealthy food, or snacking on chocolate or sweets (how was your Easter eating regime?), or maybe over indulging in alcohol, despite the fact you promised yourself you wouldn’t?
Have you ever not exercised enough or put something that was a bit more urgent off and did something less urgent, but more enjoyable… despite the fact you promised yourself you wouldn’t?
OK… I think you get my point. While it’s easy to say we can always trust ourselves, perhaps there’s something more to self-trust than simply taking it for granted that we can trust ourselves.
Are you fooling yourself about self-trust?
What we know from positive psychology research is there are a number of associations that have been identified with reported higher levels of wellbeing. Now it’s important to note that the research is not suggesting (at least at this stage) that these associations are the ‘causes’ of higher levels of wellbeing. However, they are nonetheless associated, and for that reason, the extent to which you have some of these elements in your life is well worth considering.
For example, we know that good diet and appropriate physical activity are associated with higher levels of wellbeing… and yet according to international statistics reported by Reuters, Australia ranks #4 in the world’s most obese countries.
So you might not be personally obese, but how’s your self-trust levels when it comes to really looking after your body?
Have you recently caught yourself ‘flying off the handle’ with a loved one, or getting outwardly or inwardly frustrated or angry while being stuck in city traffic? (And just another hint from positive psychology research – the less distance/time you have commuting, the higher reported levels of wellbeing). You’ve probably also promised yourself (or your loved ones) that you will try to be more calm next time… and then next time comes around again, and you just repeat the same response to the situation. Sound familiar?
We also know from positive psychology research of the far reaching benefits of mindfulness meditation – especially for its beneficial impact on dealing with the tough and frustrating aspects of life. And yet despite the association of people who meditate regularly and reported higher levels of wellbeing, I wonder whether you’re personally practicing mindfulness meditation… especially as there are so many practical variations of mindfulness meditation not requiring you to become a practicing Buddhist monk.
So again, let me ask you the question – Can you really trust yourself?
Self-Trust is just one of the triangle of three trusts (trust in others and others trusting in you, are the other two), and while it’s easy to say you can trust yourself, what we know from the research is that self-trust takes confidence and it takes practice, and it takes commitment and accountability.
And as I often report in one way or another here in these posts, sitting at the base of most, if not all that we do in life, including sitting on the base of trust, is your intention.
If you want to increase your own self-trust (and not live under the potential delusion that you can always trust yourself), start with getting clear about your intention for yourself. What do you want for you (not what do you want from you). Get clear on what you want for you, then you can get clear on the promises you’re prepared to make to yourself, the actions you will intend to put into place, and the results you will hold yourself accountable for.
Oh… and by the way, if there’s a question of self-trust, the other two trusts in the triangle of three trusts (trust in others and others trusting in you) are at risk. And, when trust is at risk… everything is at risk.