In this series on self-trust, we have examined many different aspects of what it means. We have also covered how complex post-traumatic stress disorder affects self-trust and vice versa.
This article will focus on how self-trust and how you talk to yourself changes you.
A Description of Self-Trust
Self-trust is when you consistently remain true to yourself and look after your needs and safety. You treat yourself with compassion and never strive for perfection. Deep down, where it counts, you know you can survive and refuse to give up on yourself.
Self-trust affects all aspects of your health and life, including:
Emotionally. With healthy self-trust, you are calm and at peace with yourself. You are confident in your decisions, and your relationships are healthy. You also have a higher level of emotional intelligence.
Without self-trust, you feel you are not good enough and are hard on yourself when criticized, guilty, or ashamed. You find it so difficult to make decisions that you constantly ask others for guidance. You are also afraid of disappointing others.
Relationally. With self-trust ruling your life, you are not easily angered and do not strive for perfectionism. Instead, you love yourself and have healthy relationships with others without using manipulation, guilt-tripping, or oppression to control them.
Without self-trust, you find yourself anxious and ashamed, and these traits get in the way of having a healthy relationship. By not having trust and love for yourself, you prevent yourself from forming healthy relationships and use manipulative behaviors in an attempt to control them.
Mentally. If you have a healthy self-trust, you will experience a mentally healthy outlook on life and others. You will be stable in your relationships and enjoy life.
Those who struggle from low self-trust experience elevated levels of anxiety, depression, and of course, guilt. You will find you do not enjoy life and find it difficult to trust others.
Educationally, Financially, and Occupationally. With good self-trust, you will have enough confidence to finish college. Because of this, you will, because of your education and self-confidence gained from self-trust, seek, obtain, and maintain suitable employment.
Without healthy self-trust, life would be so disrupted that you cannot attend college or a trade school and take the first job you can find. Often, you will stay in that position for years not because it pays well but because you are afraid to leave.
The Inner Critic and Low Self-Trust
Healthy self-trust does not mean you have all the answers, nor will you always do what is correct. Instead, self-trust has faith that you will be kind and respectful of yourself regardless of life’s outcomes.
The worst enemy of healthy self-trust is the negativity of the inner critic. The inner critic is part of your psyche that marries shame and self-hate with perfectionism and the fear of abandonment. It is that little nagging voice in your mind expressing frustration, criticism, and disapproval of your actions. Statements of your inner critic, like “you should have” or “what is wrong with you,” inundate your self-talk and destroy your belief in yourself.
The negative inner critic forms in childhood from environmental factors such as living in a home where your parents were not supportive and might have been abusive. In a family where you felt rejected, asking for everyday needs or expressing preferences, feelings, and boundaries was dangerous. You internalized the messages your parents instilled in you, and now you reflect them onto yourself when judging your words and actions.
You may even hope someday to earn your caregiver’s approval and affection by anxiously driving for the impossible, perfection.
Ideas for Defeating the Negative Inner Critic
Although your inner critic is a type of survival mechanism to identify potential threats in your environment, it can also help you avoid failure and aid you in moving forward to success.
However, as we have seen, your inner critic continually tells you why you are not good enough.
Other statements your inner critic may be feeding you are like the following:
- You are fat
- You are ugly
- You are stupid
- You are not worthy
- Nobody wants to hear your opinion
- You don’t deserve love
- You don’t deserve friends
- You don’t have any friends
- You are an imposter
Do any of the above thoughts happen to you? If so, you are being run over by your inner critic.
There are ways to defeat your inner critic and harness its energy to aid you in developing healthy self-trust.
Begin to practice self-kindness. Stop and think when the inner critic attacks your self-worth. Once you begin to recognize your inner critic and what it is doing to your self-trust, you can begin to push those thoughts aside and show compassion toward yourself. Be empathetic with yourself and with your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Refuse self-judgment, and you will begin to feel real power and acceptance.
Recognize that your inner critic is going nowhere. You must accept that you, like all people, have an ongoing dialogue going on within yourself that is often helpful. However, you must also acknowledge that you can change the way you engage and repeat negative messages given to you by your inner critic. Your inner critic is a part of you that can be very helpful when dealing with specific situations.
Consider using humor to cope. You can imagine your inner critic as a cartoon character whose voice you think is ridiculous. Choose the voice of your inner critic as a cartoon character. It is much harder to be leveled by what your inner critic is saying if it says it in a voice like Scooby-Do.
Consider therapy. The inner critic is often so hostile and loud that it harms your self-trust. Indeed, it can destroy how you see and treat yourself. Some types of psychotherapy can help you gain new insights into where all the negativism is coming from, and you can learn more ways to defeat it at its own game. There are several different kinds of therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. There are many other modalities to choose from.
Mental Health Awareness Month-The Mental Health of the LBGTQ+ Community
Currently, there are 332,000,000 people in the United States, and 4.5% identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community (14,940,000 people). Of the 4.5%, 39% report having a mental illness, or a little over 5.9 million of that population (more than the population of Kentucky!)
Yet, the mental health issues of the LGBTQ+ community were largely ignored until recently due to stigma and prejudice.
It is time for all sane people to rise up and offer hope to those in our LGBTQ+ community by making it possible for them to receive affirming mental health care.
As a society, we should be ashamed of how we have treated our LGBTQ+ neighbors, but it is never too late to begin showing them respect, dignity, and love. You can do so by showing and affirming they have the right to live and to use their chosen pronouns. By correctly identifying your neighbors, you can save lives, especially those who are transgender.
LGBTQ+ folks are four times more likely to die by suicide than heterosexual people, and transgender people are twelve times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
We can end their suffering by acknowledging their right to live as they choose without interference and showing them compassion.
Ending Our Time Together
Self-love is said to be the beginning of all wisdom, and I must agree. When you trust and love yourself, you suddenly become a powerful force to be reckoned with.
No one can defeat you when you trust yourself; no circumstance can bring you so low you cannot recover because you gain tremendous tenacity and strength when you do so.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is full of symptoms, with the most destructive being lacking self-trust. Once you begin to trust yourself, the healing journey becomes much less daunting and more achievable.
Consider working on your self-trust because doing so will increase your ability to overcome any circumstance life throws at you.
“Talk to yourself like someone you love.” — Brene Brown.
“Self-care is a selfish act-it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” — Parker Palmer.
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”-Mark Twain.