How to trust yourself - the foundation of confidence
There are two distinct layers to confidence – our belief in our own abilities and the trust we have in ourselves.
The top layer is our belief in our own abilities, which grow as we assess what we need to learn, we experiment, we seek opportunities to try out what we are learning and we commit to keep learning. It is like building a house, one brick at a time.
But if we lack confidence in ourselves, then when we exercise an ability and make a mistake or we receive criticism, even that confidence in our ability is knocked because we lack a firm foundation of trust in self.
A lack of trust in yourself can be easy to cover up and ignore for a while. But we can all think of people, maybe ourselves, who are great at what they do, but are riddled with doubts and self-criticism.
If we don’t trust ourselves, we don’t have that firm foundation to build on. When we have built that foundation, we can make a mistake or hear criticism and our confidence remains intact.
That foundation to confidence is trusting in ourselves. So how do we do that?
How to develop trust in yourself
Get to know yourself - Trust grows the more we know someone. You need to know yourself! And here I am talking about your true self, not the roles you might play in life, such as a parent, employee, friend, child, sibling. Learn what you truly love and what you hate. Think back to when you were a child and what you loved to spend time doing.
Make a list of what you are good at and what is important to you. These are all pieces of the puzzle that is you and you need to know them to inform how you feel in any given situation. They will help you make choices that are right for you. They will help you reference yourself more accurately. You will become more in tune with yourself, which will foster greater trust.
Stop listening to everyone else – Your opinion is what matters most. When we are brought up to be seen and not heard, we let others opinions in far too easily. Choose who you want to listen to. You can choose not to listen to the critics in your life. And even when you do listen to comments of someone whose opinion you respect, still slow yourself down and evaluate what is being said before you let it land. Ask yourself what is true.
Turn to yourself as the best source of knowledge about yourself – no one knows you like you do.
Develop self-compassion – Trust takes time to build and is easily broken. We can give ourselves a hard time for years about choices we made in the past that we now view as ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’. Learn to talk to yourself as you would your best friend. Remember that what you knew back then was different to what you know today. Have self-compassion for any mistakes you have made in the past and try not to judge them by who you are and what you know today.
Audit who you hang out with – Are you spending time with people who support you and your decisions and don’t judge you? Or are you hanging out with people who criticise, spread doubts, fear and gossip? We don’t exist in a vacuum and our environment and who we spend a lot of time with, matters. Look to those who are in the same space as you, your tribe if you like. The ones that will encourage you and spur you on, as well as will tell you when you mess up.
There may be points in your life where one-to-one support, from someone who can see and reflect back to you your amazingness, will help you see that for yourself too.
Remember that trust in yourself doesn’t happen overnight. This is something you can build up, starting now, with one of these ideas above. Keep at it and your confidence in yourself will grow and blossom. What will you do to develop trust in yourself a little bit more this week?