My loves - welcome to day 4 of my dry January journaling series, here is our prompt for you:
"Do you feel like you can trust yourself? Why or why not?"
This question came to me because of a friend of mine actually. She was struggling with trusting herself after a relationship had ended pretty badly. She felt like she could never trust her judgment in the future because this had turned out the way that it had. It really put into perspective just how badly our sadness can become our shame. I told her that the work she was doing to heal from this hurt would help her discover what she wanted and needed out of relationship. I told her that just because this was devastating today didn't mean that she didn't deserve joy later. That's the thing about the pain that come with mistakes, it feels like it is our fault. Like if only had we made a better decision or been smarter, we would have avoided this terrible pain.
I've also struggled to trust myself after making mistakes. For a lot of my life I was told that any good thought I had belonged to god and that any bad thought I had was mine because I was sinful.
The last year or so I've let myself heal the part of myself that was so scared of mistakes. Because mistakes are at the root of my lack of self trust. I used to feel like if I mess up, I can't trust myself. I used to think that those mistakes were a sign of a fault line in me and that if only I hadn't of messed up, I would have gotten what I was "supposed" to achieve.
I've only recently learned that mistakes are not something we should avoid but something we should embrace. Run towards. Fucking high five if you want. Mistakes are literally the only way we learn. If you do things perfect on the first try, I am so happy for you but that has been my experience with exactly zero things. Normalize sucking at things when you first do them because that's literally how everything happens.
Becoming a mom and having a toddler has helped me so much with this. Because before I had a kid, I could pretend my life was capable of being "perfect." Perfect house, perfect wardrobe, perfect instagram, you know how it goes. Now that I have lived through the hell that is postpartum and parenthood in general (lol) - I know that perfect is impossible and the only people who want to sell you on perfection, are stuck believing that lie too.
You will never be able to trust yourself if you are obsessed with perfection. Because the belief in a need for perfection is the belief that your flaws and your life doesn't have value just the way it is. That you are somehow lacking because of something external you don't have.
Healing isn't an achievement, it's an acceptance.
I've finally learned that I can't build self trust by making 20 right and perfect decisions in a row. I build self trust by listening to my gut and following through with the decision either way. If I make a mistake, I allow myself the freedom to learn because learning is a gift and I am so lucky to get to do it. If I make a decision that yields me positive consequences, I say thank you to the part of myself that made that choice. I remember the choice and I ruminate on how I can cultivate more of that in my life.
I'm learning to accept both outcomes equally. I am not promising to have joy when I make mistakes but I am working (key word here: working) on allowing myself the freedom to sit with a mistake and learn from it instead of stuffing it into a shame filled box that I ignore and never return to later.
I am also building self trust in the tiniest, sweetest ways. I am treating my relationship with myself so delicately because I used to feel rather unkind about who I was and what I wanted. So now, I make small promises to myself that are possible for me to accomplish instead of gigantic goals that I can't control (like weight loss, gigantic career success, etc.).
Promises like making myself coffee the night before for the next morning, or a 10 minute yoga session a few times a week (easy, possible, and fun!), or sometimes I'll buy myself some paints to use when I'm feeling creative.
I am creating low pressure self trust building opportunities with myself. Allowing myself the freedom to move forward, even if it's slow, into the world of big decisions with my self trust. Right now they are small and easy and calculated but so far, so good.
With anything, start small. I build trust with myself the exact same way I would with anyone else. By spending time with myself, by learning about what I like, and by trying new things.
It's not about making perfect decisions so you can have a perfect life that avoids pain. Pain is a guarantee in this life. There is no amount of money, beauty, or power that can ensure you avoid pain. Pain is a part of the process but it is not your fault or yours to carry around forever. Pain comes and it feels so deep and so heavy but it is temporary. It will leave.
Honor your pain by being kind to yourself, you deserve compassion - not shame. That compassion helps foster self-trust too, my loves. I know it's scary but I think we can do it. I think we can trust ourselves so much more than we believe, maybe even more than anyone else.