“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” -Lucille Ball
We forget about ourselves.
When you read that title, Learning to Trust Again, I wonder if you thought about someone in particular, in your life, a past hurt or trauma.
The trust I’m referring to is between you and yourself and it is, by far, the most important relationship and level of trust in your entire life. If there is one person in life you intend on trusting, let it be YOU.
Now that I’ve said that, let me double down - without self-trust - you will never fully trust anyone else. Without that foundational, internal trust, building anything solid externally is difficult and often fleeting. The good news is that trust is something you can grow and build throughout your life, and it might not be as difficult as you think.
We all know trust well and can easily say whether we have it or not. That grandmother who lives in the condo a few doors down, when she brings you baked goodies, you eat them without thinking twice. The neighbor who spies on your Amazon deliveries - you probably wouldn’t eat your last meal with. We know. We know who we trust, we know who we don’t trust, and we usually know why. Sometimes it's because of something that happened, and sometimes it's just a gut feeling. But trust is different when it's personal, right?
Drop The Tally
How many times have you made mistakes in your life? How often have you replayed scenarios and conversations over and over again in your mind, wishing you had said something different or reacted in a better way? How many times, at night when you’re supposed to be sleeping, does your brain go into overdrive reminding you of every single misstep, misquote, mistake? Why do we do this to ourselves? And why do we hold ourselves to such an impossible level of accountability? And why in the world do we overlook the fact that every moment in life is teaching us, growing us, resting us, or showing us?
Self-trust begins when you make an agreement with yourself to drop the tally. When you choose to stop punishing yourself for moments that most likely bolstered up your resilience, there is (finally) space for trust.
Let’s Get Real
In no way does this mean that you retreat to a made-up land of unicorns and perfection. Quite the opposite actually. It means you lean into radical honesty. Radical honesty is about facing life head on, and acknowledging what isn’t working. That also doesn’t mean you fix everything in a day or you beat yourself up over every single misalignment. That’s usually what we do and when we become exhausted by always trying to have the right answers, we fall right back into the routine of looking the other way while our self-trust fades out.
Radical honesty, which builds trust within ourselves, is about moving from fear, denial or tallying - to making conscious choices for yourself about your industry, your job, your goals and your life.
Honesty is a word we can sometimes turn away from, just like trust. These words get attached to events and emotions with negative connotations. I’ve lied to myself many times. Perhaps you can relate to that. And we do this because we want to feel safe. It’s not easy to admit when things aren’t going the way we want, or expected.
But why do we want it to be easy or predictable? (deep breath) Let’s talk about your childhood. Belief systems stem from our childhood, and not only our own childhood but also upbringings we witnessed. Lack of exposure to ‘lack’ tells us that person had an easy upbringing. They had what they needed on basic human levels, they experienced minimal challenges, and our brain fills in the blanks with picture perfect ideas of what their life must have been like. On the other hand, adversity or lack of any kind creates a deep sense of wanting that we carry with us into adulthood.
The number of people who experienced a perfect upbringing is actually less than the hairs on my very shiny noggin. So we begin life by comparing external witnessing to our own internal suffering. Much like social media today and the anxiety and unhappiness these platforms create for millions of people, unrealistic views of how life should or could or might be, messes with our ability to be honest or trust ourselves. Because, as adults, when we meet adversity, we blame ourselves - longing for that perfection we thought we saw - wondering where we went wrong or why we aren’t good enough.
This only adds to our lack of self-trust, oftentimes leaving us stuck in life, unable to pivot because we aren’t sure if we’re sure about next steps. This is where radical honesty comes into the picture, and I promise it's much less scary than it sounds.
Gimme 3 Steps
You know how I love to break things down into tangible, manageable steps and why would this be any different? You can learn to trust again and it starts here:
Step one: Self-Love. Your heart is your home base. It’s the place you belong more than any other place in the world. It’s the place you have the most potential to ‘score’, to move the game in the right direction. It’s the place you can go anytime, where the lights are always on for you, to refill your own cup. When we make time to love ourselves, love flows easily into every other area of life.
Step Two: Radical Honesty. This is what ultimately frees you and the hardest place to start on the path to honesty is with ourselves. Because it is so much easier to tell ourselves what we want to hear than to face what is happening. And when we choose this benevolent path, we choose stagnation too. Honesty creates opportunities for growth. And the more we tell the truth, the more we live the truth. When love is the foundation for this radical honesty, you will find yourself conquering fear and liberating your own power without apology.
Step Three: Self-Trust. Here we are, looking into the abyss of possibility. Weighing whether we’re willing to love ourselves enough, to be honest enough, that we end up trusting ourselves. That trust becomes a guide in life, turn left here, pause, jump in, and so on. And this is one of the most powerful gifts you can offer yourself.
Actually Getting There
This all sounds great on paper but where do you begin? This process saved my life and the more I trusted myself, the more I understood my purpose in life was to teach these messages to other people seeking growth. And long story short, that’s how I became the ‘I Love My Life!’ guy. There’s a book, there’s a workbook, there’s a Facebook group… I mean, I am committed, all in at this point. All of that to say this, please join me, accept my ILML (I love my life) challenge, connect with amazing people learning to trust themselves and love themselves. What have you got to lose? The literal answer is nothing. But there’s so much to gain. Are you ready to learn to trust again? Let’s start with YOU.
- Adam Markel, author of The I Love My Life Challenge