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  • Nandhini Lingam & Dr. Gargi Sandilya

Self-Trust Series Part 1 - Do you trust yourself?

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Do you trust yourself completely?

When we asked each other this question, we both admitted that we did not. One of us was beginning to, while the other felt she could only trust herself in certain areas of her life. As we thought about this, we wondered- when we are all born completely trusting ourselves, what makes us develop such a lot of mistrust in ourselves as we grow up?

As we reflected, several situations came to mind- times when we lost our temper, encountered failure, behaved in ways that opposed our values, or fell short of our own expectations of ourselves. As we delved deeper into this, other memories came to mind- of being bullied or negatively compared with others, experiencing heartbreak, the end of close friendships, and times when we felt utterly rejected or humiliated. As we spoke, we realised that many of these are experiences we all face. They are so common and unavoidable, that we may not even notice the extent of their impact on our self-perception and in our lives.

The next question came up naturally- what makes us continue on this path? Is it purely not-knowing how to get off it, or is there something that we get out of this lack of self-trust? As we discussed this, what surfaced for both of us was an old friend- a fear of failure. Trusting ourselves would require us to leave our excuses and take steps towards our biggest and boldest dreams. As exciting as this could be, this brings up one of the core fears- that of the unknown, and the corresponding need to cling to the known- our comfort zone. Not believing in ourselves allows us to remain in the familiar (even if it is not what we truly enjoy). We do not need to take any risks, or any action for that matter. We would not have to change, and we can avoid potential conflicts and misunderstandings with loved ones.

While our experiences and fears lead us to not trusting ourselves, continuing this mistrust leads us into a vicious cycle of tragic comfort. In trying to avoid humiliation and failure (a.k.a suffering), we sit in a pool which cannot lead to anything but suffering, all the while fooling ourselves that we are okay, and that we are happy with our lives.

Today we would like you to ponder over this question: What is the worst that could happen if you trusted yourself?

Do let us know what comes up for you as you think about this and drop them in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.

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