Portrait of Alissa against a tan background.

Do You Have The Audacity To Trust Yourself?

highly sensitive Sep 07, 2020

Years ago, I adopted this idea that other people know better than me, so it’d be wiser of me to trust their judgment instead of my own. I decided that if I just followed the paved path, went along with the majority, and didn’t create waves, I’d be fine.

As all of our deep-seated beliefs do, this idea began for me in childhood.

When I was a kid, I was quiet, imaginative, sensitive, and creative. I think most people would’ve described me as sweet and shy. My family would agree with those describing words, but they’d also throw “high strung” and “passionate” into the mix. My family knew, intimately, that behind closed doors, I wasn’t the easiest to handle at times.

People who don’t me as well will say, “You? Difficult? There’s no way! You’re like the nicest person ever.”

I always sincerely appreciated that feedback, yet it made me feel like a crazy person of sorts because it made me question myself. Am I actually difficult? Am I actually that kind? What’s up with me? I feel like such a contradiction.

Because, while I knew I genuinely, deeply cared about other people, I also knew I could be a handful. In fits of anger as a kid, I’d broken a microwave, nearly slammed my bedroom door off its hinges, and yelled so much I lost my voice. I cried a lot. I felt a lot. I was a lot to handle.

Is anyone perfect? Absolutely not. Was I the worst kid out there? Definitely not! I just wasn’t the perfectly sweet, kind girl people believed me to be which made me feel like an utter contradiction and fraud. It made me really question who I was.

Losing Touch With Ourselves Happens In Sneaky Ways

As a kid in elementary school, I started looking at what other kids were doing– How did the cool kids act? What did they wear? What do they think? I wanted desperately to fit in and feel normal, so I did what I had to do. I made friends, I was social, I was “normal”, but I couldn’t ignore that contradictory side of me; that imperfect side of me.

With my friends, I was happy and caring and connected. Behind closed doors, I often felt sad and lost and at odds with myself. It was confusing and I felt like I was the only person out there who wasn’t always who she said she was. I felt guilty about it.

This is where my lack of self-trust began. I started looking to others instead of looking within. I didn’t really trust myself because I didn’t feel stable, grounded, or solid like other people seemed to be. ‘Everyone tells me I’m so nice, but inside I feel so upset and angry sometimes. I’m totally unstable!’

I think many of us have our own form of this experience. Somewhere along the way, we start losing our connection to our true selves because we feel like the way we are is wrong and imperfect. We assume we’ve got it wrong and other people have it right. We decide we’re better off following what other people are doing because they’ve been accepted and we want to feel accepted, too.

So, I did that. I started using other people’s advice, judgment, and example as the roadmap for my life instead of trusting my inner compass. My inner compass, filled with all of the wisdom I could ever ask for, lay dusty and unused for years because I stopped trusting her.

Why It’s Dangerous To Lack Self-Trust

Lack of self-trust is a dangerous thing. If you don’t trust yourself, you can one day wake up in a life that isn’t your own. It might hit you, at some point, that nothing you’re doing is what you want to be doing. Yet, you don’t even know what you want to be doing because you’ve gotten so far away from yourself.

That’s devastating. And yet, it’s a reality for many.

So many have followed the blueprint of life, neatly laid out for them because they stopped trusting themselves somewhere along the way. They decided that doing what everyone else was doing was the way to go. They quietly determined that their own ideas were silly, wrong, and not realistic.

I’d venture to believe that’s why there’s so much anxiety and depression and substance abuse today. Because so many of us have gotten so far away from who we truly are, yet we don’t even know how to get back home to ourselves. We’d rather numb it than feel it.

We’d rather fill that gnawing gap with too much Pinot Grigio, expensive trips to Target, and perfect family portraits in an attempt to compete with our high school classmates on Facebook. ‘See! My life turned out alright. Do you see how successful I am? Look how perfectly my kids are dressed!’

We want to show everyone else that we’ve got it together perfectly. But we’re scared to actually slow down and check-in with ourselves because that’s when reality hits. ‘Is this what I wanted? Is this who I want to be? Do I even know who I am anymore?

We Can Return Home To Ourselves

On our living room floor, in December 2019, Matt and I created our vision boards for 2020. It was a craft I’d set up for us; I think I enticed him with a beer and snacks if he’d spend an hour or so setting goals and creating vision boards with me. I remember it being such a bonding experience for us.

Anyway, I’d chosen a word for 2020 which was trust. At this point, I knew that I had a dangerous lack of self-trust that was only going to stand in my way in my life. It was my goal for the year — no matter what, I was going to return to trust. I was going to trust myself, the Universe, God, the process… all of it. I was going to trust.

Trust turned out to be an impeccable word for 2020. In December, as I’d sat cross-legged on the living room floor, cutting words out of magazines and gluing them onto card stock, I had no idea how much faith and trust I was going to need to have in the year to come. I was about to experience difficulties greater than I could’ve ever imagined.

Honestly, thank goodness we don’t know what’s about to come sometimes, right?

With trust as my focus this year, it’s given me the opportunity to really see all of the ways I lack trust in myself and how often I abandon myself to appease the needs of others. I’m now so aware of the ways I quickly people-please instead of check in with myself. I see how I assume other people are right instead of assuming I have the correct answer, for me.

For so many years of my life, I practiced not trusting myself. Thankfully, I’m beginning to see all of the ways I can trust this beautifully complex human being I am. I see now that my contradictions are what makes me whole. I understand that my inner compass is more accurate than anyone else’s life map for me.

I’m learning to trust myself and it helps me see a little clearer each day.

With love,