Do you have trust issues?
If you answered no, I would love it if you’d reach out because I’d to love to know your secrets.
If you answered yes, you’re most definitely not alone.
One of the most important people you need to learn to trust, then, is yourself.
While you may not have thought about this much before, this will definitely change your life. If you’ve ever gone against your gut instinct only to wish you would’ve listened to it later, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I’ve been there. It’s been a shaky journey learning to trust myself and to be honest, I’m still on it. But that’s ok. The fact that I’m taking strides towards it is what matters. And the same goes to you.
So let’s get into it.
Learning to trust, whether it be yourself or others, is incredibly difficult.
This is even more so for survivors of abuse. You reach a point where it’s safer not to trust anyone than to risk getting hurt.
Even if we find someone awesome, we keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I struggle with this in my own relationships. At 27 years old I’m just now learning how to trust people I’ve been friends with for years.
First and foremost, realize that trust takes time. You’re not broken, you’re not stuck with this forever. But you have to give yourself grace as you go on this journey.
As I was driving home the other day I was at an intersection. The light was green, no crosswalk button had been pressed. In fact it said STOP in bright red letters. But as I was about to go through this intersection at 35 miles an hour, some person just started crossing the street.
She crossed right in front of my car and I slammed on my brakes. All she did was look over at me, completely unfazed. She had trust in all of us drivers. She trusted us to stop.
That woman definitely had more trust in humanity than I do.
But this brings to light a very good point.
We’re so much more apt to put ourselves in physically risky situations than to be emotionally vulnerable.
Because for whatever reason, it is so much easier to process the risk of getting physically hurt than the process the risk of getting emotionally hurt.
Every time you get in your car and drive, you’re trusting that other people are going to abide by the law. When you cross the street and you press the crosswalk button, you are trusting that they’re going to stop. You calculate this risk to success ratio in your mind.
Our brains are more ok with physical danger than emotional risk.
If that woman had just waited and hit the crosswalk button, her risk would’ve lowered but it wouldn’t have disappeared. Because she has to put her trust in the fact that the system is going to work. She has to trust that when that little the white walking sign shows up that you’re allowed to walk across the street. She has to trust that all the other cars are gonna stop.
It made me wonder what I’ve been risking while saying that I don’t trust anyone, myself included?
Then it hit me: trust isn’t the issue. It’s the fear of being vulnerable.
I trust that my neighbors won’t steal my car. I trust that when I buy food, the contents on the inside of the package match the label.
But the risk of those things are so much lower than the risk of getting emotionally hurt.
While this may seem nuanced, it’s an important distinction. Because if we walk around saying “I have trust issues,” that’s not getting to the root of the problem. When we recognize that it’s a fear of being vulnerable, then we can truly pinpoint the issue. Trust is an umbrella word for the real issues.
We can then call out what we need to work on.
Personally, I’m afraid of being vulnerable and then getting hurt. Now that I recognize that, I can focus there until I feel I’ve made substantial progress.
Another issue is that I’m terrified of going back to who I was. I don’t fully trust myself to stay independent and authentic.
That may mean getting more comfortable communicating my boundaries, maybe I need to get better at setting boundaries in the first place.
“Ok, so I recognize now that I have vulnerability issues under the general ‘trust’ umbrella. What now?”
Pull out a journal and begin to write down your thoughts.
When you say that you have trust issues, what does that mean for you? What’s under the umbrella of ‘trust’ that has you feeling stuck?
If you say you don’t trust men, what does that mean? Why?
If you say you don’t trust family, what does that mean? Why?
If this is going to be triggering for you, please don’t do this.
But if you can, this is an incredibly powerful exercise. Breaking down beyond the surface level answers will take you to a part of yourself you didn’t know existed.
After you write these down, pick one thing and write down some things you can do to work on healing that. The first step may be bringing it up with your therapist, your coach. Maybe it’s reading a book on the subject to get yourself more comfortable. It could be a course to introduce you to the topic.
Once you have this list, for example, when I say I have trust issues, I don’t trust myself. I don’t fully trust myself to stick to my boundaries. I don’t fully trust myself to respect myself enough not to fall back into the very unhealthy codependent place I used to be in.
Just being aware of these things is a huge step forward. Awareness is the first step to healing. Awareness will bring you closer to trusting yourself. Because you took the time to pull these out and put them in a place of understanding. When you do that, your brain recognizes that it can trust you to do the work. That’s massive.
It doesn’t mean that this is going to get easier. This is going to take work. It’s going to take time.
But you’ve already come so far and that’s something to be proud of.
When you become self aware, you stop the dizzying cycle of “what’s wrong with me” that your brain loves to put on repeat.
You’ve come an incredibly long way and I want to take a moment to celebrate you. Celebrate how far you’ve come and the commitment you’ve made to your journey.
If this stood out to you and you’re ready to take the next step but you’re not sure where to start, then my Confidence Course is for you. This is a free 5 day crash course in confidence. In it I share the same framework I share with clients that help them not only build confidence, but trust in themselves. In less than a week, you’ll have the skills needed to start a new chapter of your life. Click here to grab yours!