What does it mean to trust yourself? It's one of those concepts that gets kind of complicated the more you think about it. For the most part, though, if you don't do certain things, then it means you don't truly trust yourself. And getting by without that sense of support from your own self can make everyday life much more complicated.
In general, a person with is secure feels capable of meeting their own needs and caring for themselves. "The person you need to trust first is yourself. No one can be as consistently supportive of you as you can learn to be," said psychotherapist Cynthia Wall, LCSW, in PsychCentral. You trust that you will take care of you.
And if you don't already have a strong sense of self trust, then that's OK, too. For starters, there are plenty of ways to improve your relationship with yourself, such as keeping a journal or learning to meditate, according to Bustle. And if you need more help, don't hesitate to reach out to a friend, counselor, or therapist for advice. No one is born with a perfect sense of self trust, and it's normal for this confidence to waver sometimes. Wherever you are now, it's possible to learn how to trust yourself even more in the future. And identifying these things that people who don't trust themselves do, according to experts, is a good place to start.
1. Maintain A Strong Sense Of Self
Knowing who you are and what you're about is so crucial to understanding yourself. "Strong sense of self is the basis of self-trust," says Joy Osaka-Lu, life purpose coach and founder of One Ripple. For people who base their sense of self on external measures such as a job or material goods, then it's easy to lose self trust if something threatens these measures, as Osaka-Lu further explains.
2. Face Difficult Conversations Or Events
People who avoid confrontation at all costs may struggle with self trust issues. "People who don’t trust themselves question their interpretations, and often they avoid confronting very real problems out of fear that they are 'making a big deal' out of nothing," says Nikolai Diana Blinow, burnout-beating coach, creator of From Burnout to Balance, and licensed mental health counselor. People with a greater sense of trust probably have an easier time confronting difficult situations.
3. Maintain A Positive Outlook
Sure, no one can be a ball of sunshine 100 percent of the time. But a lack of self trust can make it difficult to escape a negative mindset. "When you can’t trust yourself, it creates feelings of shame and sadness, and this contributes to a negative mindset, so I often hear clients complaining in Coaching and therapy about their complaining," says Blinow. "They WANT to be more positive, but struggle with doing so in day-to-day life, and feel bad about how negative they are toward others." The negativity can kind of turn into a habit. If that's the case, then there are many ways to become more positive in your daily life, as explained in Bustle. It is possible to change these patterns of thinking.
4. Trust Gut Instinct
Several experts connected the ability to make decisions with a person's sense of self trust. "People who trust themselves are good decision makers. They need less input from others and they don’t seek approval of their decision from others in advance," says Hans Schumann of Executive Coaching for Masterful Living. "They trust in their gut feeling and their ability to make wise decisions." Even when they make a poor decision from time to time, they're able to bounce back.
5. Make Commitments
How difficult is it to make a commitment to something new? "People who trust themselves find it easy to commit, whether that’s committing to be on time, committing to take an action or committing to achieving a goal," says Schumann. "A person that does not trust themselves will often refrain from commitments to avoid failure. They may use language such as 'I hope to' or 'I will try', words that already allow for failure and do not acknowledge full ownership of their actions." It's a subtle difference, but these sorts of words can say so much.
6. Try New Challenges
Even a person's willingness to step out of their comfort zone may come down to a question of trust. "People who trust themselves seek out new challenges," says Schumann. On an important note, they aren't slowed down by the fear of failure, either, as Schumann explains.
7. Trust Own Perspective
Plus, people who trust themselves also believe in their own decisions and experiences. "Someone who has a high degree of self-trust will feel confident in their own perspective," says Saba Harouni Lurie, licensed marriage and family therapist, the owner and founder of Take Root Therapy. They will likely be able to express their views on a situation in a direct way.
8. Face Setbacks
People who trust themselves don't let the fear of failure rule their lives. "If you trust yourself, you will be able to face setbacks with ease and be willing to jump right in and try again," says Dr. Nicole Issa, PsyD and founder of PVD Psychological Associates. "In contrast, someone who does not trust themselves will often personalize the setback and be reluctant to push forward or try again." In reality, most setbacks don't have to mean the end of a particular project or goal.
9. Celebrate Successes
How often do you celebrate your own achievements? "Individuals who trust themselves are able to give themselves credit where credit is due," says Dr. Issa. "If something goes well due to your hard work, for example, you are able to clearly see your contribution to the outcome and feel proud of yourself." This isn't about bragging or anything. Rather, it's healthy to celebrate whenever you do achieve a goal, so go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back — you deserve it.
10. Be Vulnerable
Vulnerability can be a sign of strength and confidence in yourself. "[A person with self trust] can experience their own emotions and be vulnerable with others," says Rachel Dash-Dougherty, LCSW, the Grounded Therapist. They trust themselves to open up to others. If you're not typically one to open up and acknowledge what you worry about and struggle with, start small and with a small group of people or an individual you trust first — it may be hard, but can be rewarding.
11. Accept Mistakes
For the most part, people who trust themselves understand that mistakes are inevitable. "They can accept being wrong. They know they are not defined by being wrong from time to time," says Dash-Dougherty. Handling mistakes in a positive way can be a strong sign of positive self-esteem. And if anything, you'll learn from them.
12. Make A Big Career Move
Even a person's ability to change jobs or switch careers can have a lot to do with this sense of trust. "Transitioning from one career to another takes a lot of effort, hard work, and persistence," says psychologist and life coach Ana Jovanovic from Parenting Pod, a resource for parents on mental health and well-being. "People who have a high degree of self-trust are ready to make this change even after years of devoted work." The ability to start over in a new industry does take a tremendous amount of faith in yourself.
13. Show Self Compassion & Love
Taking it easy on yourself can be such a positive sign as well. "People with self-trust are unlikely to torment themselves with guilt, shame, or regret, when a decision turns out to have been wrong," says Jovanovic. "They can forgive themselves, learn from their mistakes and move forward." If this and the other signs sound familiar, then you likely do have a strong sense of trust in yourself as an individual.