The Hidden Power of Self-Trust
My second life began on the day I left my office at lunchtime, crossed the state line and drove 35 minutes to my husband business to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse. I wanted a divorce.
It was early 2002 when I began to contemplate getting a divorce. I had two children under the age of four, a demanding job, and the shame the size of New York State for being the first in my family to end a marriage with the forbidden “D” word. My mother and most of my friends considered it a good marriage or at least better than theirs, and no one ends a good marriage.
My biggest fear was money. That thing that doesn’t grow on trees and our parents should have it tattooed on their forehead ” don’t ask for it.”
My fears were legit. I just didn’t know if I could keep providing for my children without my husband’s support.
For weeks I added all of the expenses to ensure I made enough money on my own, but I didn’t believe in the math. Fear will do that to you. It will make you doubt what you know.
Fear was my constant companion. It was a mutually beneficial relationship for a year. Fear kept me paralyzed, and I kept it alive.
Until one day I decided I had enough. I could tell you that divine guidance came from heaven and led me to make a decision, but all I remember was an impulse and the strong feeling that I’d rather die broken and trusting myself before I die of unhappiness and financial comfort.
I didn’t care where I would live or how I would provide for my children. I was willing to start from whatever place I would land and change my lifestyle. There was no way back.
It was not easy. It was probably the most challenging thing I had to do.
But I learned that Happiness is non-negotiable. Trust taught me that. And trust is an inside job. It works under the table, behind the scenes, and underneath the smallest actions, and unknown to the most important audience: the Self. And yet, trust is the absolute necessary ingredient for people to honor themselves and who they are becoming.
We are born trusting and being trustworthy. From the early moments in life, babies begin to learn beliefs about trust by the way their parents or caregivers respond to their calls. If the babies needs were reasonably and timely met, they keep the trust; If not, trust erodes.
This means that what most people’s beliefs about trust are not their own, they learned from others who were not necessarily good role models. And yet, this emotion will guide them on every important decision of their lives: to do or not to do; to risk or not to risk; to be or not to be.
Lack of trust in self and life will lead people to play safe, avoiding any pain (real or imaginary), control outcomes, and to compensate in action what they can’t control. It is stressful not to trust. It will lead the overwhelm, exhaustion, worn out and burnout.
The funny part is that people won’t know that the reason for not making a decision or moving forward is rooted in their lack of self-trust. They will blame other people, circumstances or events, and will be able to justify it with the facts they collected.
Self Trust is built gradually with small acts by honoring your commitments. The simplest act, such as getting up at the time we set our alarm in the morning, is growing or reducing your trust level with yourselves and therefore others. The same goes with commitments you make and don’t keep, such as losing weight, stopping smoking, having dinner with a friend, or calling a doctor. No one really cares what you commit to, just that you keep it, change it, or avoid it. Procrastination is just fear, and it reduces our ability to trust ourselves.
As children become adults, they have the right and responsibility of auditing their beliefs. It starts by asking one question: What do you want to do but you have been avoiding? You may want to be a musician and keep working as a mechanic. You may believe that only a few people make it as a musician or that music won’t pay the bills. Your beliefs are the lenses of self-trust. Here are more few questions: If you believe without a doubt that you are a great musician, wouldn’t you find a way to be a musician? If you trusted in your ability to be a great musician, wouldn’t you keep going?
All I am saying is that people need to exam their beliefs and dig deep. Trust is an emotion that manages the risk of failure and success. When is self-trust strong enough to overcome the fear of failure? At the moment you believe it is. You see, there is no magic moment. You just need to decide.