How do you develop self-trust and listen to your inner voice when you are faced with challenges? How do you rise to your most authentic self despite your immediate reality?
The current pandemic is impacting us in different ways, it is a time of uncertainty for many people. Career wise, some people have started to pursue passions that were waiting in the wings, some face the anxiety of what national lockdowns will mean for their financial futures. Though uncertainty reigns, can we let go of these anxieties or fears to develop self trust and perhaps even take a risk and discover who we truly are?
It is imbedded in our socialisation from a young age that trusting ourselves or our intuition should not be primary and that in fact the authority figures in our lives should be reserved that power almost completely, granted that as children we need guidance and support. However, many times this "guidance and support" overlaps to influence our self trust, free will and self image. We learn not to trust our internal reference point and instead we become mirrors of what our parents want us to be and later on what society tells us we should be. Unless you are one of the lucky few who were fortunate enough to have freedom of self expression and self trust positively reinforced.
As any creator will tell you, our work often reflects our experiences, the zeitgeist and whichever situations personally influence us, so during hard times we can either quiver under the fear of the unknown or be empowered to use a situation for self discovery, deeper self-realisation and thus self-expression. There have been many times when I have been confronted with uncertainty, those times taught me time and time again that the answers reside within. Thus developing self-trust during uncertain times is about normalising listening to your intuition and recognizing your needs, a process that comes from quieting external influences to listen to your inner voice. And what is the inner voice? Your higher self, the still, quiet and small voice that is cultivated by practicing inner silence through meditation and other practices.
During this time, for some, listening to your intuition will mean resting and recharging and for some it means pursuing or reigniting a dream you've been waiting to pursue. So how does one begin to develop self-trust?
Fear of change sometimes causes us to lose sight of opportunities presented by challenges, most challenges are a call to grow whether emotionally, spiritually, career wise or in our relationships. But one can only grow or expand if they can recognize the opportunities available for growth and expansion.
Some might need to surrender, at this time and take on the journey of self-discovery. Surrender is a powerful process when dealing with uncertainty, surrender is allowing the moment to be as it is, trusting the universe and knowing that it is okay to not know what the next step is but to also be deeply honest with yourself in terms of what is working and what isn't.
And for some, it might be a time to embrace change and take a risk. Spiritual teacher Teal Swan says, "we like to think that if we don't take risks we don't fail, but the truth is exactly the opposite. If we don't take the risk we've already failed. While, it can be scary for us to take risks in life. It's one of the best ways we can build our capacity for self trust. Taking risks takes courage and courage makes us feel better about ourselves. It allows us to see what we're really capable of, which in turn helps us to trust ourselves. If you don't take a risk to see if you can trust yourself, you'll never know that you can.”
Be Aware of What is Holding You Back
Abandonment of self is defined as "when you reject, suppress or ignore part of yourself in real-time. In other words, you have a need or desire you want to meet, and (often on the spot) you make the decision not to meet it." - nami.org
Self-abandonment occurs as a result of childhood trauma and reoccurs in adulthood until the original wound is healed. The National Institute of Mental Health (nami.org) defines childhood trauma as: “the experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects."
Abandoning yourself can look like; judging yourself, people-pleasing, hiding parts of yourself, perfectionism, making others responsible for you, not speaking up for yourself and ignoring your feelings which can also result in making life choices that are in direct opposition to your personal values.
Abandonment of self can manifest in subtle ways but also in major ways such as unfulfilled career choices, relationships as well as lifestyle choices. Healing self-abandonment is a process but it begins with self confidence and self love.
Develop Self Confidence
Self-trust and self confidence go hand-in-hand. Oxford defines self confidence as "a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment." thus it is knowing that it is okay to be yourself. The process of developing self trust begins with self-awareness, then in cultivating self-awareness, you can develop self confidence and therefore self-trust.
When you have a sufficient level of self confidence it means you are aware of your thoughts and feelings and know how to express them; you follow your personal standards and ethical codes; you know when you need to put yourself first; you know you can survive mistakes, get up and try again; and you pursue what you want without the limitations of others.
Whilst the way forward for all us might present diverse challenges or opportunities, we can only find what works for us by developing self-trust as well as learning to surrender and trusting the universe whilst knowing that the answers reside within, so I hope that since you can't go outside, you go within and cultivate self-love and self-trust, especially during these times.
Photography: Shannon Daniels
Writing: Phendu Kuta
Hats: Studio Lennie
Blueknot.org.au. n.d. Definition Of Childhood Trauma, Which Includes Abuse. [online] Available at: <https://www.blueknot.org.au/Resources/Information/Understanding-abuse-and-trauma/What-is-childhood-trauma> [Accessed 8 April 2020].
Cirino, E., 2018. 6 Ways To Build Trust In Yourself. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/trusting-yourself> [Accessed 8 April 2020].
Gray, J., 2018. 15 Specific Practices To Boost Self-Trust - Jordan Gray Consulting. [online] Jordan Gray Consulting. Available at: <https://www.jordangrayconsulting.com/self-trust/> [Accessed 8 April 2020].
Martin, S., 2019. Why We Abandon Ourselves And How To Stop. [online] Psych Central.com. Available at: <https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imperfect/2018/12/why-we-abandon-ourselves-and-how-to-stop/> [Accessed 8 April 2020].
Swan, T., 2014. How To Trust Yourself. [video] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylZnQnMoLOU> [Accessed 8 April 2020].