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How to Forge Unshakeable Trust in Yourself

Subhajit Banerjee

June 16, 2024

Do you trust yourself?

Do you have your own back?

Are you there for yourself when you need it?

For many, the honest answer is no.

And they pay a steep price for that lack of trust every day.

It shows up as difficulty in making decisions and second-guessing them. Or it shows up as neglecting their needs and wants while harboring resentments.

They avoid their emotions, doubt their inherent worth, and downplay their contributions.

They become paralyzed by overthinking or stuck ruminating about past events.

They make desperate attempts to control others and their environment. And when they fail, they beat themselves up mercilessly.

They easily break their promises to themselves.

They are quick to defer their decisions to others and value others’ opinions over their own.

Not a very fun existence.

Do you see some of these traits in yourself?

Then, you understand the pain they bring into your everyday life.

This article will teach you how to escape this trap and help you build genuine trust in yourself.

Let’s dive in.

What is “self-trust”?

What does self-trust mean?

Is it the same as self-confidence or self-esteem?

Let’s clarify these concepts.

“Confidence” comes from the Latin fidere, meaning “to trust.” Self-confidence is about believing in your abilities. If you’re self-confident, you’re ready to face new challenges, grab opportunities, handle tough situations, and take responsibility when things don’t go as planned.

“Esteem” originates from the Latin aestimare, meaning “to appraise, value, rate, weigh, estimate.” Self-esteem is your overall appraisal of your worth. It helps you estimate your place in the world.

If you have high self-esteem, you feel good about yourself. You are more likely to tackle challenges and believe in your success.

Self-confidence is easier to build than self-esteem – you put in a lot of reps and get good at something. The world is full of self-confident people with self-esteem down in the gutter (cue the tortured, larger-than-life musician who drowns his misery in drugs and booze).

But self-trust is the most fundamental of them all.

Self-trust is faith in yourself to act in your own best interest. It’s a belief that you are safe with yourself. It’s the conviction that you won’t betray the standards you’ve set for yourself.

With self-trust, you’re sure of your “worth,” which leads to self-esteem.

So, trusting yourself is crucial.

But does that mean you should always trust yourself?

Should you trust yourself?

Wait, but Subhajit, what kind of question is that?

I open an email where you claim to teach how to build self-trust. Yet halfway through, you ask me this?

Of course, I should. This lack of self-trust is hurting me in so many ways.

Heck, even you highlighted how damaging a lack of self-trust can be.

So, what’s the point of such a question?

Fair point. But before you consider deleting this email, think about this:

What is this “self” you want to trust?

Is it your biases and prejudices? Your thoughts and emotions? Your beliefs and conditioning? Your whims and neuroses?

All these are parts of you, right?

If you define yourself by these, you shouldn’t trust yourself.

You struggle with self-trust because you see yourself as a single entity. You don’t recognize the complex ecosystem of various parts that you are.

You have multiple selves or sub-personas, each with its identity, desires, and needs.

Some are conscious, familiar parts you are aware of. Others reside in your unconscious, occasionally surfacing as urges or whims.

When they emerge, you judge them, condemn them, reject them, suppress them, and banish them to the realm of the unconscious.

But it only makes them stronger.

Sometimes, their pull is irresistible, and you give in. But when clarity returns, you find yourself in the ditches, far from the high road of your principles and values.

You experience the vile taste of regret and merciless flagellation of self-criticism. The pain is so unbearable that it stupefies you.

Then, you start the long, painstaking climb back to that high road, promising never to let this happen again.

But it happens again.

There’s no hope for self-trust until you break this cycle.

How do you do that?

You reconcile with these “shadow parts” of yourself (more on this later).

Understanding that you are a composite of many parts is the first step toward building self-trust.

It helps you realize you’re not inherently flawed or beyond redemption.

You and everyone else have a tug-of-war going within you between your various sub-personas. They’re not against you. They don’t want to sabotage you.

But each of them has its view of what’s best for you.

Your job is to mediate, not just go along with the most dominant voice at any moment.

When you understand this truth – it becomes easier for you to be more compassionate of yourself and others.

You stop expecting perfect behavior. You stop judging and setting consequences for not always being conscious.

Does this mean I am promoting reckless behavior or irresponsibility?

It might seem so, but here’s the paradox:

The more you try to control and expect perfection, the more you provoke the very behaviors you wish to avoid.

But when you view yourself and others as a powerful, divine entity, you bring out the best in yourself and those around you.

True self-trust arises when you believe in your untarnished, incorruptible connection to the infinite.

It’s about knowing that no matter what, you are whole, sound, and capable of redemption.

You are a part of the divine. You are the universe itself.

Trust → Doubt → Doubt some more → Trust again

Don’t expect to grasp this concept in a day.

It’s been over five years on this journey for me, and only now am I beginning to understand.

How far along you are on your journey will shape how you operate.

If you’ve just begun, then you’re still healing from neglect or abuse. It’s critical to trust everything that emerges from within at this stage. You must build a baseline level of trust and self-worth before moving forward.

Once you’ve established that baseline, start to question everything.

Doubt your biases, prejudices, and defense mechanisms. Question your beliefs, ideologies, and dogmas. Scrutinize your duties, obligations, and cultural norms.

Doubt your emotions—both the negative and positive ones.

Then, dive deeper into the rabbit hole.

Question your doubts, your self-criticism, even logic and rationality itself. Question reality, identity, and existence. Consider nothing sacred or off-limits.

Once you’ve doubted them all, trust what remains.

These are aspects of yourself that you never realized even existed.

Trust your intuition. Unlike emotions, intuition doesn’t come with negativity or nervous energy. It doesn’t stem from past experiences but carries a quiet strength that’s often hard to explain.

Trust your drive for truth and justice. Trust the love, compassion, or gratitude that wells up within you.

Trust your awareness and the deep connections you feel. Trust the beauty or awe you perceive.

Trust your creative muse or moments of inspiration.

These higher truths remain obscured, but sometimes, they shine through in moments of absolute clarity like a blinding ray of sunlight.

Seize them when they appear. Trust them with your life.

Back in 2019, during my morning run, I had this crystal clear idea of sharing my struggles, experiences, and insights with the world.

I knew nothing about writing online or growing an audience back then.

But the strength and clarity of that inspiration were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Since then, it has been the driving force behind my relentless pursuit of that goal.

I have yet to scale my coaching business to the heights I envisioned. But I’m determined to keep working on this until I do.

I trust myself entirely with this.

Should you trust your emotions?

But what about your emotions? Should you trust them?

  1. Emotions are concepts formed based on the state of your body and the stimuli you collect from your senses.
  2. Emotions are predictions of what will happen based on your experience.
  3. Emotions are a plan of action that your brain picks that feels appropriate.

So when I say trust your emotions – limit that trust to the first step above.

Trusting emotions gets a bad rap because people think it also means trusting steps 2 and 3.

That’s the source of all kinds of strife in the world.

But when you stay present, you can focus on step one—when your brain takes in all the external stimuli and shapes them into an appropriate emotional response.

Butt in there, and you will have a picture closer to reality – unfiltered by biases or past experiences.

That’s something you can trust.

A word of caution, though: this is a map that I’ve found helpful.

But still, it’s not the complete truth. It’s someone’s memory of truth.

Use this as a guide. But don’t follow this mindlessly. Experiment with it to find the truth yourself.

Then contact me if you find something that doesn’t work for you.

Then, we both would have a better grasp of reality.

After all, that’s the goal.

If you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire. — Friedrich Nietzsche

What happens when you build this kind of trust in yourself?

You no longer need to prop yourself up with your income or status.

You don’t need to lean on crutches like alcohol, drugs, or sex to feel good.

You treat yourself with respect. You take care of your health, community, and environment. You can invest entirely in projects and people because they do not fear failure or rejection.

You still suffer hurt and disappointment, but these setbacks neither damage nor diminish you.

You are open to growth experiences and meaningful relationships. You become tolerant of risk, quick to joy and delight, and become forgiving of yourself and others.

If reaching a state like this is your goal, I can help. Book a call here to get started.

If you want to do that on your own, then read on.

How to Build Unshakeable Self-Trust

Here are a few steps you can follow to build trust in yourself:

Bet on Yourself – Whatever the Odds

The first step to building trust is a solemn promise—a promise that you will have your back no matter what. You will never betray or abandon yourself, come what may.

How do you do that?

Acknowledge your abilities and strengths. Focus on what you’re good at instead of always trying to improve at something you’re not.

Trust your own opinions and perspective instead of seeking validation from others.

Trust yourself to make decisions aligned with your values. Own your decisions, both good and bad, to learn and grow.

Embrace mistakes as part of the learning process and trust yourself moving forward.

Stand firm in them even if others disagree.

Establish personal boundaries to feel safe, secure, and respected.

When you’re uncomfortable, resolve to change something. If that comes with consequences, so be it.

Never doubt your inherent worth. Choose a method that constantly renews your trust in your divine origin.

Vedantic teachings have become that source for me. Find any source that works for you.

This is how you start to place the building blocks of trust.

Bank on Faith and Courage

I used to deride faith.

I thought it was synonymous with dogma.

But now I have understood that faith is discernment.

It’s separating the wheat from the chaff—winnowing out the low vibrations, nervous energy, neuroses, and ego machinations.

It’s identifying the divine guidance and the things of a higher order.

In a crude way – it depicts the cartoonish angel and devil perching on your shoulder.

Faith is putting your wholehearted belief and surrendering to the voice of that symbolic angel.

Faith stops you from going into a shell after a setback. It gives you a belief in positive outcomes despite past failures.

It becomes a source of courage, even when you don’t feel confident while facing the unknown.

Faith and courage can make you scale mountains you once thought impossible.

Figure out Your North Star

Where does this faith and courage come from?

From having absolute clarity of who you are, what you stand for, what you value, what motivates and drives you

Figure out what brings purpose and meaning to your life.

Self-trust is impossible without knowing who you really are.

Integrate your Shadow Self

We talked about the need for integrating your shadow self earlier.

You lose self-trust when certain sub-personas within you do not act in the best interests of other parts.

So, to rebuild it, all the sub-personas must learn to act in harmony.

Start by befriending the parts of you that you don’t trust and often abandon – the uncontrollable rages, the jealousies, the inconvenient lust – and try to understand what they want.

Make them understand that there is no win or lose. One part cannot triumph over others just by bulldozing other parts’ needs.

Then, find win-win solutions aligned with your values and principles.

Befriend Calm and Solitude

Finding your guiding principles and integrating your shadow self is not easy.

You can never hope to achieve them with the daily chatter of your busy life.

The antidote?

Befriend peace and calm. Embrace solitude. Meditate.

It will connect you to your divine wisdom.

Modern life—the parties, the constant drip of mindless entertainment—is a trap that keeps you distracted and numb.

Reject that.

You will never regret that.

Hold Yourself Accountable

If you lack self-trust, a fundamental struggle in your life is keeping promises to yourself.

Here’s a quick hack:

Treat promises to yourself like promises to others.

Hold yourself accountable. When you mess up, fix it, just like you would expect from others.

If you can’t repair a situation immediately, soak in the lessons for the future.

Act in line with your goals and desires. Prioritize and work towards what you want.

Don’t let yourself off the hook just because it feels uncomfortable.

If you have already spent the time and energy to figure out your guiding principles, then this would be easy.

You just have to put them above everything – even your life.

Self-trust will follow.

Practice Self-Compassion:

Walking the high road in your life is not an easy path.

You will take false steps. You will mess up. Sometimes, you will even regress.

But never stop being kind to yourself.

Forgive yourself for your past mistakes.

Silence your inner critic and rephrase negative thoughts.

Acknowledge your flaws while recognizing your accomplishments.

Accept that making mistakes is normal and part of being human.

Don’t make it any more complicated than it already is.

Practice these steps daily.

Make them a routine of your life – a part of who you are.

Soon, you will start to see the results.

You will stop doubting your worth.

Decisions will become a piece of cake – since you will stop attaching undue weight to them.

You will start putting value on your opinions and preferences.

Others will also start valuing them, and you will start getting the respect and recognition you have always craved.

You will become more generous and start giving freely without any strings attached.

A life of fulfillment will find you.

Your first step starts today.