Trust can help bring us closer to other people. Trusting others, such as family members and friends, can reassure us that we’ll be helped when we need it. It’s the foundation of any healthy relationship — including the relationship you have with yourself.
Trusting yourself can build up your confidence, make it easier for you to make decisions, and reduce your stress levels. And the good news is that even if you don’t trust yourself now, with some effort you can build up that trust over time.
Tips for building trust in yourself
There’s no one more important to trust than yourself. Sometimes we lose trust in ourselves after we make a mistake or after someone criticizes us harshly or constantly. It can feel more difficult to make decisions when you can’t trust yourself because you fear you’ll make the wrong choice. Or you might be more prone to criticizing your own decisions after you make them.
Building trust in yourself can help boost your decision-making skills and self-confidence. This can make life feel a little easier and much more enjoyable. Here are some tips to help you learn how to trust yourself:
1. Be yourself
If you fear how others will look at you or judge you, you might find it difficult to be yourself around other people. Acting like a different person than who you really are is a sign that you’re lacking self-confidence and trust in yourself. Other people will be able to sense that.
So how do you build up your trust enough to be yourself around others? When you start to feel insecure around others, remind yourself that it’s OK to be you. Start by practicing around the people you feel most comfortable with, like your friends and close family. Take note if you feel vulnerable or uncomfortable and keep spending time with these people until your insecure feelings start to disappear.
Once you can be yourself around other people, they’ll treat you with more trust. This can help you build up your trust in yourself.
2. Set reasonable goals
Often, we aim high with our goals. Instead of aiming to make $50,000 a year from our job, we aim to make $100,000. Instead of trying to complete a project in two weeks, we try to do it in one week. And setting our goals high can be a good thing, because it motivates us to work hard for what we want.
Unfortunately, setting goals that are too ambitious has a major downside. When we don’t reach our big goals, we experience failure. Failing often can reduce your self-confidence and ability to trust yourself.
Instead of setting one big goal, try setting many little goals that put you in the direction of your big goal. Doing so will make your big goal more realistic. You’ll also gain confidence and trust in yourself while accomplishing the smaller goals along the way.
3. Be kind to yourself
You’ve probably heard the term “unconditional love.” Maybe it’s been mentioned in relation to the connection a parent has with their child, or the love that exists between siblings, friends, or even romantic partners. But did you know that it’s also very important to love yourself unconditionally?
Loving yourself unconditionally means getting rid of negative thoughts about yourself and any self-criticism after you make a mistake. Start by keeping a close eye on your inner voice, and how it reacts to your actions. Is it kind or mean? Is it accepting or critical? When you can love yourself unconditionally, you can trust yourself unconditionally. And that builds confidence.
4. Build on your strengths
Everyone is better at some things and worse at others. You probably have a good idea of what things you excel at and which things you don’t do as well with. Trusting yourself means being able to attempt to do all kinds of things without judging yourself too harshly.
However, if you’re looking to build trust in yourself, it can be helpful to do more of the things that you’re good at and less of the things that you aren’t great at. If you’re not sure what you’re good at, ask those people closest to you. Spend more time doing those things and building your trust knowing you’ll excel at those things. Be accepting of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.
5. Spend time with yourself
When you don’t trust yourself, you might feel uncomfortable spending time looking inward. You might try to keep busy all day by constantly getting involved in activities or thinking about small things outside of yourself. Break the habit of looking away from yourself by patiently looking inward.
You can look in with meditation. Try sitting with yourself in a quiet place for 5 to 15 minutes each day. Pay close attention to your breath and body. As any thoughts or self-criticisms pass by, acknowledge them and then let them go. Allowing time for this important one-on-one with yourself can build up your self-trust.
6. Be decisive
We lack trust in ourselves when we question our actions or decisions. Sometimes we might even question who we are. That can hurt.
Build trust in yourself by breaking your habit of questioning your decisions. Next time you make a choice, stick with it. Even if it turns out not to be the best choice, there’s no use beating yourself up over the decision you made.
The best you can do is to learn from your mistake. Believe that you’ll make a better choice next time, and move on. Doing so will help you learn to be more trusting of yourself and your decision-making skills.