A post from our Community Correspondent Marilena Balagianni
‘Trust yourself kid’… Easily said, not easily done though.
I’ve always struggled with taking the ‘right decision’. Am I a perfectionist or a coward? Feeling torn between logic and intuition is overwhelming. Is that an excuse for not being true to yourself? Of course not.
We live in a world where we are conditioned to believe others know better. We grow in a family where certain behaviours are acceptable and others not. One consequence is that we lose trust in ourselves; our behaviour fulfils others’ expectations to gain their approval, against our own wants and needs.
As we lose trust in ourselves, we lose confidence and self-esteem. In the long run, that can only lead to an unfulfilled life of misery.
How can we start trusting ourselves?
Firstly, we can build on ‘the things we believe that we don’t entirely suck at and the things that we like.’ This takes honesty , passion and confidence. It is empowering to work on our semi-developed virtues. We harvest feelings of joy and explore our passions. We reassure ourselves and take credit.
Secondly, we have to stop trusting others to answer our questions. Usually there is no objective answer. Why not answer them ourselves? This requires faith, courage and the ability to make mistakes. Mistakes are progress. Feedback is preparation for success, not failure. This is hard, so we have to be gentle with ourselves.
Thirdly, we must take responsibility for our actions. When we take a decision, even if it right for us, we can still be considered ‘wrong’ by others. We have to defend ourselves even when things don’t go well. This skill empowers us and make us grow and mature as humans. We demonstrate to the world that we are authentic and proud in our own voice.
Lastly, we have to listen to our feelings, to develop a strong relationship with ourselves . A good way to achieve this is to practice mindfulness, to be aware of our feelings and thoughts. When we feel something is causing us bad feelings, we stop. One by-product is setting boundaries. We learn to say no and learn to respect ourselves. Sometimes something may look good on paper, the entire world might support it but we can tell that something is wrong. We have to take responsibility and have the courage to act and say no. If not ,we betray ourselves and the good we could do for others.
Being true to yourself and trusting yourself is not easy. We have to deal with peer pressure and have the courage. As a species, losing our tribe equalled death throughout our evolution. Our 21st century brain is not very different from our ancestors and cannot separate our fears from reality. But even if we are rejected by our “tribe” it might be beneficial in the long run.
We have to listen to our own voice because the payback is huge! Self-trust helps us be authentic, self-fulfilled and happy. It empowers us to become a force of good in the world and make us grow into strong individuals who take responsibility for our actions, unafraid to make mistakes and evolve.