Self-talk to self-trust? What does that even mean?
There are times when you put your trust in a person, situation or project, only to find yourself let-down, disappointed and wary of putting yourself in a similar situation again. This can lead to closing down and withdrawal, as well as a loss of self-trust. When your self-trust wobbles, it can make you question your power to make sensible decisions, to think that you're not as 'world savvy' as you should be.
So, how can you build up self-trust in your decisions and begin to trust your intuition and inner guidance again?
Building self-trust requires a lot of effort and practice. Learning to trust yourself, especially after a relationship break-up, betrayal, trauma or other difficulties in life, is a delicate process that requires patience and time. Just as it takes time to develop a trusting relationship with another person, it also takes time to develop one with yourself.
“If you’re going to trust one person, let it be yourself.” – Robert Tew
One of the key steps to take when you’re trying to build your self-trust is to also build a positive and productive inner dialogue. Your inner dialogue, or the internal voice that runs throughout your mind during the day, speaks to you constantly. The way that voice speaks to you can make or break the trust you have with yourself.
How can you learn what your self-talk is saying to you?
Your inner dialogue takes on many forms depending on what’s happening during the day. It’s not unusual to hear your inner dialogue run through the mundane, such as your agenda for the day or a to-do list of chores around the house.
Besides the chatter of your present activities and routine, your inner dialogue also makes a lot of other statements as you progress through the day. For example, your inner dialogue helps you process your feelings as well as comment on different aspects of yourself. Your inner dialogue can be helpful or harmful in these scenarios, but to understand what’s helping or hurting you, you must learn to understand what’s being said among all the chatter.
One way to begin learning what your inner dialogue is saying to you is to make a more concentrated effort to listen. To do this, begin writing down some of your thoughts to yourself throughout the day.
You’ll likely discover some surprising ones that you didn’t notice as much before, When all that chatter is constantly running through your head, it can be challenging to pull out the thoughts that are harming rather than helping you. At the end of the day, review your notes and look for patterns in your inner dialogue, such as:
● Negative language (geared toward yourself, others, a particular subject, etc.)
● Obsessive or repetitive language, repeated phrases
● Doubtful language (I don’t know, I can’t do that, I won’t like that, etc.)
These language patterns are indicative of negative thinking patterns that fight against building a trusting relationship with yourself. Once you identify some of your common patterns, you can start building healthier dialogue.
How can you turn that negativity into self-talk that promotes self-trust?
For your inner dialogue to be conducive for building self-trust, you must eliminate harmful language. Anything you think to yourself that’s seen as negativity or an attack toward yourself dismantles self-trust. It would feel impossible to trust anyone who told you mean, horrible things about yourself, and the same rule applies when you speak to yourself the same way.
Dismantling harmful inner dialogue takes practice, but with some simple methods, you can begin trading that negativity for better inner dialogue to promote self-trust.
To get started, consider the following methods:
● Focus on the facts of a situation. If your negative inner dialogue is negative, turn your thoughts toward true statements (for example: “I did make a mistake, but I can use what I learned next time this situation arises).
● Incorporate some kindness into your inner dialogue. Give yourself compliments and kudos when you do something well. Recognize it and internalize those successes, even if they’re small.
● Talk to yourself the same way you’d talk to your best friend. Your inner dialogue is the conversation you have with the best friend you’ll ever have–yourself! Speak to yourself with the same empathy and respect you’d use for a person you love.
Don't mentally beat yourself up over perceived mistakes or erroneous decisions. Instead learn to beat the negative self-talk that is sabotaging your efforts to dust yourself down and begin again.
“Never trust your fears, they don’t know your strength.” – Anonymous
Be a person who keeps your word
Another way to build up your self-trust muscles is to demonstrate that you keep your word to yourself. One of the most effective ways to do this, is to write a list of your three MITs (Most Important Tasks) that you set for yourself each day, and make sure you do them. This way, you demonstrate to your mind that you're someone who does what you say you're going to do. You're a person who keeps their word, especially to yourself. When you say you're going to get shit done, you do it!
The secret to making this an effective personal development tool is to ensure that the three MITs are not so massive or time-consuming that you need more than twenty-four hours in a day to do them. Keep them simple and keep them doable, and then tick them off your list as you complete them.
Combining positive self-talk and completing your tasks for the day will not only build-up your self-trust, but also help you feel more positive and get stuff done that will help you feel more back in control. And yes, you'll learn to trust yourself...
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