Improve Your Relationship by Trusting Yourself
Trust is key in any successful relationship, but we often think about it as the trust only between partners. But I’m curious, do you trust yourself? Just as we need to learn to open ourselves to trust between each other, you can improve your relationship by trusting yourself. When you learn to trust your abilities, boundaries, and actions, you become empowered to create the relationship that you want.
What is Self Trust?
In an article in Psychology Today, the authors Linda and Charlie Blook of “Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truths from Real Couples About Lasting Love, in write:
Self-trust is not trusting yourself to know all the answers, nor is it believing that you will always do the right things. It’s having the conviction that you will be kind and respectful to yourself regardless of the outcome of your efforts.
Self trust is the reliance on the integrity of the self. When you can be present to your inner knowing, your confidence builds. You’re able to make choices and get out of the hemming and hawing over what you should do. You listen to yourself, and trust that you have the answers within.
Does self-awareness sound scary or even a little too “woo-woo” for you? In today’s world, it makes sense that you might feel that way. It is easy to be pulled away from listening to ourselves when we have access to all of the information we want literally in the palm of our hand. We can ask Siri or Google to answer our questions, and have become trained to want that instant gratification.
There have been many times when I am lying in bed at night, and a thought comes up. I grab my phone to make a note, or research a book, or look up information. My kids think it’s crazy that we even had to wait for a certain day of the week and a specific time to watch our favorite tv shows. Our expectations of instant gratification mean we need to relearn to wait, to tune in, and listen to our inner voice. It is a practice.
“Self-trust is the first secret of success.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Benefits of Building Self Trust
The more you build up your self trust, the more empowered you will become in your own life and relationships. You will feel more comfortable in your ability to make decisions, take action, and be a creator. As a creator, you take action to build the life and relationships that you want! No more sitting back worrying, hoping, and wishing for things to change.
Rather, you align yourself to your wish (perhaps a closer relationship with your partner), and decide to move forward with it. You get resources, take action, and become the person you need to be in order to have what you want. A creator doesn’t fall victim to circumstance, but instead takes life into their own hands. It isn’t a power over others, but an empowerment from within.
To learn more about self empowerment, I encourage you to read Brene Brown’s work on power, taken from her book "Dare to Lead".
A Self Trust Story
A sure sign that you need to work on your self trust is when you begin to feel resentful within your relationship. Take my client Suzy, for example. When she came to me, she was sure things were over with her husband, Bob. She kept trying to talk to him about how she was feeling, but felt that nothing would ever change. She was tired of feeling like she was the only one trying. She was unhappy and resentful.
She was also frustrated with her husband and herself. Her inner critic was speaking up, shouting that “this isn’t the life you want! This isn’t who you want to be!” As a result, her confidence was down the drain. She was out of alignment, and had fallen into a mindset of hopelessness and victimhood.
From the outside, I could see that Suzy had lost trust in herself. She needed to befriend her inner critic, and welcome her presence as an opportunity to grow. In our time together, we worked on answering questions such as:
Why is your inner critic showing up at this moment?
What does she want you to see in the situation?
Are you being clear about what you want and need, and what it takes to satisfy those needs?
Who have you given responsibility for your needs? Yourself, or Bob?
Of course, Bob has responsibilities to Suzy in their relationship. But as individuals, we are responsible for ourselves and ensuring our needs get met. Thus, I supported Suzy to help her find clarity on what she really wanted, and get the resources within and around her to meet those needs.
Soon, Suzy was taking actions to create the life she wanted, and was no longer waiting for Bob to make that happen. She also realized that she didn’t want her marriage to end, and had the confidence that she’d know what to do in order to take care of herself and the relationship.
It just so happened that Bob began to respond more as Suzy was becoming more confident and open. An empowered woman is sexy and creates attraction, so it made sense that Bob was feeling a renewed draw toward her. Suzy was acting how she wanted to be in her marriage, and her modeling started to rub off on Bob. The positive feedback from Bob only fueled her playfulness more! Suzy felt confident and trusted in her ability to handle whatever came up, and her relationship improved as a result.
Build Your Self Trust
Are you wanting to build your self-trust? Start with these tips and connect with your inner voice to build your confidence that you know what to do.
1. Be present. Learn to catch yourself when you are looking to the past or worrying about the future. Stop and take deep breaths to bring yourself back to the present moment and home to yourself.
One way to do this is to imagine yourself connected to all the things, people and situations around you by ribbons. Slowly imagine those ribbons releasing what is tethered to you, until only you are left. Sit with this feeling. What is left? What feels true for you?
2. Raise your standards for yourself. A standard is a quality that you value and want for yourself. For example, to become more kind, loving, open, and curious. This is a vision of who you want to become, not an expectation of what will happen. When you have expectations, you are giving power to passive desires, instead of believing in your power to create what you want.
3. Activate yourself. Are you being passive or active in the vision of the life and relationships you want? This goes back to raising your standards versus having expectations. When you are being active, you take action and do the things that are hard or uncomfortable. You work to become the person you want to be, and to create the life and relationships you want.
4. Be kind to yourself. If you tend to allow your inner critic to show up without boundaries then you might be creating more hurt than growth. Befriend your inner critic and ask yourself the same questions posed to Suzy: Why is your inner critic showing up at this moment? What are you needing to see in this situation? Are you being clear about what you need? What do you have to have to get your needs met? Are you putting the responsibility on someone else to meet them?
5. Be S.M.A.R.T. When communicating your needs, remember the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. Be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely in your requests. Before you attempt to talk with your partner, check in and make sure you are clear about what is coming up for you, the experience it is triggering, and that your request is S.M.A.R.T.
It isn’t a coincidence that when you do the inner work with yourself, your relationships will improve. As you learn self trust, you will become clearer in your needs, and more confident in your ability to get those needs met. This translates to your relationship as clear communication, boundaries, and taking responsibility for what is yours.