The Anatomy of Self Trust - How to trust yourself more.

Seriously strong self trust.

The three fundamental parts and eight things to implement.

At the core of everything I share about self actualisation there are three key tenets.

  1. Know yourself
  2. Trust yourself
  3. Be yourself

They interlink and are all equally important, but the one thing I hear the most from creative, innovative, intelligent huge hearted misfits is: “I just don’t trust myself to… abc” or  “I just don’t trust myself to not xyz”

  • I just don’t trust myself not to make a bad choice
  • I just don’t trust myself to know what the right choice is
  • I just don’t trust myself if there are biscuits in the house
  • I just don’t just trust myself to say no
  • I just don’t trust myself not to say yes
  • I want to say yes, but I don’t trust myself
If any of these sound familiar, keep reading.

The other ways that self trust issues show themselves are as imposter syndrome, or as a fear of attention seeking, showing off; the belief that sharing of your true self will be perceived as you being too much.

Imposter syndrome = doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud = I don’t trust myself.

Fear of being too much =  Fear of rejection =  I don’t trust myself to be lovable enough

Whether it's about eating healthy food, making good relationship choices, honouring boundaries, saying what you mean, meaning what you say, not spending money, spending money, feeling confident in your opinion or competency or anything in between, all of this is actually a deep seated mistrust of yourself, and there are certain truths about how trust works that once understood will enable you to very simply change your relationship with self trust..

Some of what I am about to share might seem obvious, but knowing this stuff isn't the same as doing it, or being it… so, as well as sharing these three core pillars, I’m also including 8 practical tips; things you can implement to cultivate seriously strong self trust.

The first and most important foundation for trust (of self and of others) is knowing, and living your values.

Values are the measures we use to determine whether our life is turning out as we desire. 

A lot of people talk about Values from a cerebral perspective. In my work I take it one step further and get you to experience what each value actually feels like in your body, so that you can fully embody your values, and so you can also know when they’re missing from your experience. Knowing them in this way allows you to really know if something or someone is a value match, by how it feels in your body, rather than just the written or spoken word.

This leads to greater self trust.

This is particularly important for neurodivergent, HSP’s or people who may have experienced deep levels of betrayal or trust being broken, when they took things at face value and perhaps didn’t understand the non verbal clues.

If you value ‘freedom’ what does freedom feel like in your body? What does it feel like when its not there?

If you value ‘connection’ what does connection feel like in your body? What does it feel like when its not there?

If you value ‘kindness’ what does kindness actually feel like? What does the absence of kindness feel like?

If you value ‘conviction’ what does conviction actually feel like? What does the absence of conviction feel like?

If you want to know more about identifying and experiencing your Values as a compass, check out my Value Filter System. 

The second fundamental piece is understanding and honouring your boundaries.

There has been a lot of chat about boundaries in the personal development and self help space since the mid 1980s. Before then, they weren’t really a thing. I believe that this is because prior to that our culture allowed cis white men to have boundaries and taught everyone else to override theirs. 

Asserting one's boundaries is the practice of openly communicating and asserting your personal values. This means identifying them, and resisting the sometimes autonomic reflex to override the signals in order not to be a fuss, cause conflict, or stay safe.

The important part here is that you first know what your boundaries are. What are the signals that your values are being overridden? What is happening that tells you that they are not being honoured or respected? Becoming more embodied and taking action to counter the socialisation that has us being ‘good girls’ or ‘nice guys’ is a huge part of this.

When you know the early warning signs, you are able to use your voice or your feet if someone chooses not to honour or respect your boundaries before it becomes a big deal.

The issue is that most of us are disconnected from our values and our voices and are scared of not being liked.

The main action here is to get really good and honest about saying yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no. It means getting really good at honouring your intelligence systems, which means listening to their signals and acting on them.

You have 5 brains, or five complex functional adaptive neural networks that are constantly giving you signals. The head brain, heart brain, gut brain, pelvic or sex brain and the autonomic nervous system.

The gut brain is now scientifically recognised as our second brain, after the head brain its the next biggest in size and complexity and is actually our oldest and most primal intelligence. 

Your second brain or “gut-brain” is a neurological, endocrine, and immune organ. It regulates pain perception, influences learning capacity, memory, mood, and emotion. The “gut-brain” may have as much influence on your personality and how you feel as your regular brain!

At its core the gut brain is a filter; its main job is to maintain boundaries by communicating what you will physically or psychologically internalise or reject.

There has also been much research into the body-mind connection, and put simply, our bodies feel tired when we have done a lot of thinking and our minds feel tired when we have done a lot of physical work. It stands to reason then that great gut health plays an integral part in having good boundaries.

Leaky gut = leaky boundaries. 

Healthy gut = healthy boundaries. 

*(It isn't always as binary as this, but gut health certainly plays a part in us having a healthy filtration system, and taking aligned action.)

Our gut’s core functions are:

  • Mobilisation 
  • Self preservation
  • Core identity

When we have a healthy gut, and are able to listen to and act on its communication, we are much more able to trust ourselves and honour our boundaries through the actions we take.

The third piece is knowing yourself well enough to take ownership of what you are, and are not.

You are not for everyone. You are not good at everything. You are not meant to be.

In order to trust yourself you need to be really honest with yourself and those around you about who you are, and who you are not. What you are good at (and what you are not.) What you like (and what you do not.)

You get to go on a journey of discovery. This doesn’t have to be set in stone. You get to allow what you find to change over time, with context and because you want it to. But you also get to put down some things. Which is probably a relief. What I am saying is:

Know and own your skills 

Know and own your needs

Know and own your opinions

Know and own your body

Know and own your voice

If there is resistance to this, notice what that is specifically. (This is what is blocking your self trust.)

For most of us there is a fear of not being liked, or of being rejected, or being misunderstood.

Notice your hidden agendas - Are your actions secretly seeking love? Acceptance? Money? Status? Safety? 

Remember, this applies to inaction also. 

Spend some time journaling on these questions:

  • What do I enjoy doing for myself? (Self care)
  • What am I salient to? (What am I actually looking to notice? Am I looking for all the ways things are working out for me? Or are the things that are prominent in my noticing, mostly the ways that they are not?)
  • How do I make decisions? (Do I know my values?)
  • Do I know & share my opinions? 
  • Do I keep promises to myself?
  • What are my secret agendas? Where do they show up the most?

Self-trust means consistently staying true to yourself, even when its uncomfortable.

Self trust means showing up in the world as someone who treats themselves with love and compassion, rather than nit picking or striving for perfection.

Self trust means being someone who you can rely on to follow through with consistency on their yeses and no’s. 

At its very core, trusting yourself means being someone who looks after their own needs and safety, as an automatic default. This doesn’t mean doing so from a place of defensiveness, resentment or with anything to prove. It means valuing yourself and treating yourself as someone you deeply respect, cherish and love.

A word of warning.

Before I share a list of 8 things you can do to build trust I want to reiterate the most common reason that people don’t actually do these things, or actively trust.

You are scared of being rejected.

This might also dress itself up as control.

Are you scared of being out of control?

Most often this is because being out of control might lead to doing or saying something that you can’t trust won’t lead to rejection.

Trusting is not controlling. Controlling isn’t trusting. You need to unlink these things, by living from a softer place, a place of surrender. A place where you trust yourself to roll with whatever comes your way.

Living from a softer place, one of surrender might lead to rejection, but rejection isn’t something you get to control. Not participating gives you an illusion of control. This is a form of self sabotage.

====

Eight practical things you can do today in order to develop your self trust.

 

  1. Spend quality time with yourself. What comes up for you when you spend time alone? Do you enjoy your own company? Do you do things with yourself that you enjoy?
  2. Be in dialogue with yourself. Not just any dialogue, cultivate a kind, resourced, loving inner voice.
  3. Honour and give space to your emotions. Can you be with your uncomfortable emotions? What about them specifically is uncomfortable? What does it mean to you to actually honour your emotions?
  4. Make a list of things that you like about yourself. Not just intellectually. Make a PIES list. Physically. Intellectually. Emotionally. And Spiritually - what do you like or enjoy about yourself?
  5. Be willing to be messy. Experiment, try new things and notice when and where you feel the need to be ‘perfect’ or ‘right’ How often do you allow yourself to be a wally? To be goofy? When did it stop being okay? 
  6. Reward and celebrate yourself. How often and with what do you celebrate and reward yourself? Can you extend your reward and celebration repertoire? What inner voice do you hear when you think about celebrating yourself more?
  7. Practice regular self-care. I don’t mean bubble baths, I mean taking time consistently to care for yourself like you would a prized possession. Again, I mean physically, but also intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. What does caring for yourself in those areas mean or look like to you
  8. Set attainable outcomes. Learning to set yourself outcomes that are easy to follow through on is a big part of building self trust and releasing self sabotage.

 

Lastly, the piece on follow through is really important. Every time you do not follow through, instead of practising self trust you are practising self abandonment. If you are scared of being abandoned or rejected (like most of us) then practise not self abandoning, or self rejecting. The opposite of both is self trust.

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