I had a conversation with a client recently who asked me if I had any quick tips for things she can do to improve her self-trust, right now. She felt she didn’t believe in her voice and wanted to start working to find a way to feel more comfortable in herself and her opinions.
So, I wanted to share with you today the things I said to her in case they are useful for you also.
When embarking on the process of learning to trust yourself it is so important that you give yourself the time and space needed to let your mind quiet. Especially if you have been struggling with this for a while. You need space and time to allow your voice and your thoughts to come through without the noise of the outside world impacting that.
This can come in a variety of ways but for me, the most significant are meditation, journaling or taking a walk on your own. The key thing is to give yourself the space to think without the opinions and thoughts of the outside world (easier said than done I know!) but so important. For example, when making decisions allow yourself to think about what you want and what feels right to you before seeking the help, advice or thoughts of others. You might not have the answer right away but starting the practice of giving yourself a moment to think “what do I think is right for me”, or, “what is the right direction for me?”, or “what is best for me” can be so so helpful.
Learn about your strengths
It is so easy to look at the world around you, your friends, family or those you see on social media and think their way of living life is better than yours if only you could be good at what they are good at or, I need to do things in the way they do them. But, their entire being and life is so different to yours and how they thrive may be entirely different to you also. For example, a strength of theirs may be they are great leaders, however, yours may be you thrive in a team environment. No strength is better than another but figuring out what yours are can have a brilliant impact on all aspects of how you live your life.
When we learn and understand what our strengths are we can apply them to different parts of our lives and it allows us to understand more about ourselves and our personalities. Putting time and effort into your strengths not only allows you to understand yourself on a deeper level but it also helps you to feel at home in yourself and who you are too; developing your self-trust muscle bit by bit, day by day.
My favourite strengths finder is the VIA Character Strengths, the link below will take you to the questionnaire you can fill in yourself to find out what yours are.
Often clients have told me their strengths are different to what they expected. What do you find? Are your strengths different to what you would have predicted? If so how does this make you feel? If this makes you feel uncomfortable I encourage you to explore and sit with this, why do you not want this as a strength? Do you perceive yourself differently? What do this strength mean about you?
Once you know your top strengths are you can start to make small changes in your daily life to utilise them. Research shows that doing so leads to greater happiness, well-being and reduced stress.
I talk about the practice of self-kindness a lot but only because I think it is so important. It is so easy to become accustomed to our negative and critical inner voices but they do not have to be the only tape playing in our minds. It is possible to pierce the bitchy inner chat with drops of kindness and care. Even if just for a fleeting moment each day. It is a practice and it is not easy, especially if your nasty inner voice is the norm but it can have significant and far-reaching effects on how you relate to yourself.
One of my favourite teachers and researchers in the area of self-kindness and self-compassion is Dr Kristin Neff. If you are highly critical of yourself or struggle in these areas I highly encourage you to look her up. Below is a link to a loving-kindness meditation that is wonderful for improving self-compassion. Research has shown continued use of meditations such as this one to be significant in improving peoples self-kindness.
If you feel like you don’t trust yourself or your voice at the moment it is ok, it will not happen overnight but I promise it is something you can improve. The path to self-acceptance is not linear, its a journey and it ebbs and flows. The aim is that you are moving in the right direction not that you will not suddenly wake up one-day and pouffe you now trust yourself. It is about introducing small actions or moments into your daily life and slowly, gently allowing your internal intuition and voice to become louder than the voice of those around you. It is a slow but rewarding process, it is day-to-day and it is about finding the joy in who you are and trusting what your voice wants to say.