I’ve met many people in life whose attitude toward trust is “it has to be earned first”. I’ve also met people who give their trust freely until it is abused and then they become bitter about it. Or they wonder why they were abused, but don’t learn anything from the situation and then go on to repeat the scenario. Me, I prefer the middle ground.
I believe that you should trust until shown you shouldn’t. But don’t wait to be hit by a truck to figure it out. Stay aware and alert. Don’t be paranoid by any means, but don’t be a doormat either. Knowing when you should and shouldn’t trust others requires that you trust yourself enough to make the distinction.
But trusting in yourself is more than knowing if someone is trying to rip you off. Trusting yourself requires knowing yourself. What you need, what you want, what you believe in, why you believe in it and staying true to your values. It means having the courage of your convictions. Because trusting yourself in theory is one thing but you also have to put it into practice.
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. -Anonymous
Trusting yourself then means action. Once you decide something, move forward. Don’t second guess yourself. Change when the evidence says you should. And pay attention to the signposts along the way.
How do you learn to trust yourself? My personal belief, your mileage may vary, is that to trust yourself you have to learn to NOT take things personally. You have to know, really truly understand, at a cellular level that other people’s emotions are about them – not you. Their words and actions, thoughts and opinions do not define you.
People are responsible for their own feelings. Taking on their opinions and feelings and letting them define you sets you up to suffer, and more importantly, undermines your trust in yourself. Circumstance can often times be arbitrary and coincidental, and they usually have nothing to do with you. So don’t jump to conclusions or draw specious correlations. All things evolve and change.
Stay true to yourself and don’t let others sway you. I believe that being able to separate out the noise of other peoples fears, opinions, and know-it-all tendencies from true advice is probably the biggest hurdle in learning to trust yourself. Remember people will always have their opinion but at the end of the day what do they really know? They are not you. So, don’t take it personally.
The rest is trial and error. You will never know how far you can go and to what extent you can trust and rely on yourself if you don’t take a risk.