Mine Was MIA #123
Once again, I caught myself deferring to the decisions of others, relying on their opinion rather than thinking things through for myself, and telling myself “they” know better than I do.
I suspect it stems from my childhood upbringing and the times - our parents taught my brother and me that children were to be seen and not heard and to do as they told us to - without question.
There was no place for curiosity, thinking critically, or building self-confidence - all attributes which could have allowed me to trust myself more.
I followed the rules, did as my parents said, and relied on instructions rather than experimenting. It was my way of being in the world.
As a young woman with few life skills or self-confidence, I married and deferred to my husband’s wishes even though I often had other ideas.
That decision didn’t allow for building creativity, critical thinking skills, or self-confidence. All of which would have led to a greater trust in myself - my intuition and sense of things. So, here we are.
What would my life be like today - at age 84 - if I had learned those skills as a child? But I didn’t, so even better questions are:
What would my life be like today if I did trust myself?
I could relax and enjoy new situations. I would feel comfortable getting together with others. I would confidently make decisions and listen to my insights and intuition - balancing them with the opinions of others.
In what situations don’t I trust myself?
I don’t trust myself to manage new situations effectively, do something I don’t know how to do, make decisions, and go out alone.
I know how to manage a household, write a newsletter, and have successful relationships with people. So, how can I apply the trust regarding those situations to others?
I can recall situations when I was successful and use similar strategies - reviewing what I knew, making a plan, and rehearsing the result I wanted in mind.
Because as the HealthLine website says
There’s no one more important to trust than yourself. Sometimes we lose trust in ourselves after making mistakes or having someone criticize us harshly or constantly. Making decisions can feel more challenging when you can’t trust yourself because you fear making the wrong choice. Or you might be more prone to criticizing your choices after making them.
Dr. Phil says, “Trust is not about the other person. How much you trust someone else is a function of how much you trust yourself and your ability to handle whatever they do.” Oh- oh!!
When Dan died, there I was. He cared for me faithfully for over 60 years - I trusted him more than I trusted myself - he was my rock. Then I was on my own - no Dan, no self-confidence, and no self-trust.
I’ve been rebuilding for the last few years. I’m more creative, have more practical skills, and feel more confident. Because as Amanda Knox wrote in an earlier article, “there was only my life, this life, unfolding before me.” It is up to me to make something of it.
While there are many suggestions for building self-trust, I liked the ones the HealthLine website offered. For starters, I plan to work on
Being Myself - Acting like a different person than I am is a sign that I lack self-confidence and trust in myself. Other people can sense it.
Setting Reasonable Goals - Instead of setting one big goal, I can make small goals that lead to the bigger one. Doing so can make my big goal more realistic and help me gain confidence and trust.
Being Kind to Me - Eliminating negative thoughts and self-criticism after making a mistake are ways to demonstrate self-love. My inner voice has been harsh and critical.
I want to learn more about Kristen Neff’s work on self-compassion. Here is what she has to say.
Building on my strengths - Everyone is better at some things and worse at others. I have a good idea of what things I excel at and those I don’t.
It’s a start and will undoubtedly help anyone who wishes to age well, given their circumstances. Any thoughts?
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