By: April Yee
There are different ways we learn how to trust (or not trust) ourselves. One of these ways is by doing (or not doing) what we say we’ll do–especially when it comes to ourselves.
Most of the time, we do what we say we’ll do for other people. This is because we know the consequences of not following through: the other person will feel let down and disappointed and possibly change how they think about us, and then we’ll feel guilty for having disappointed them and think we need to make up for it somehow.
But what happens when we say we’ll do something for ourselves and then we don’t do it? Let’s say we put an hour on our calendar to do one of the following things: go to the gym, do a yoga class, take a walk, read for leisure, or cook a healthy meal.
But we end up blowing ourselves off during that hour by using that time to keep working, scroll on social media, go out for drinks instead, or do something else besides what we had planned for ourselves.
When we’re the ones not keeping our commitment to ourselves, we feel a double whammy–we’re the ones who are let down and disappointed AND we’re the ones feeling guilty about letting ourselves down. That feels doubly bad. And yet we might not even feel the need to make up for it.
Knowing this feeling, the next time we go to make a commitment to ourselves, we might avoid disappointing ourselves and feeling guilty about it ahead of time, so we might think, “Why bother? I’m not gonna do it anyway.”
Then nothing moves forward with keeping commitments and building trust with ourselves.
Thus, a defeating mindset begins when we think about making commitments to ourselves. We diminish our trust with ourselves when we don’t follow through on what we say we’re going to do for ourselves.
To build trust with ourselves, we can take small steps. “Today I’m going to get up from my desk at 2pm and drink a glass of water and walk around the office/house for five minutes.”
Then at 2pm, we do what we say. We get up, drink a glass of water, and walk around for five minutes.
When we do this, there’s a sense of empowerment, a sense of accomplishing something and fulfilling a promise to ourselves–no matter how small. “It feels good to do what I said I would!” Celebrate that and remember the feeling.
This is how we start to strengthen the muscle of trusting ourselves more, knowing that we can have our own back. We can continue to make another small commitment to keep each day–it could be the same one!–until it’s just automatic for us to keep our word to ourselves. Until it feels uncomfortable when we don’t keep our word to ourselves.
When we get even better at keeping commitments to ourselves, we build even more trust with ourselves. We start to know what it truly feels like to have our own back–no matter what.
Your turn: You make decisions based on you and what you want for yourself; no one else can make these decisions for you. When you trust yourself to have your back no matter what the outcome is, there is no “wrong” decision. Just an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you want or don’t want. What are you willing to do today to build even more trust with yourself?