Welcome to Episode #77. This is your host, Kristi Angevine. Let's talk self-trust. A lack of self-trust is at the heart of so many energy draining habits. If you want to trust yourself more, but don't know how, listen in, and learn a concrete way to start cultivating self-trust today.
Welcome to Habits On Purpose, a podcast for high-achieving women who want to create lifelong habits that give more than they take. You'll get practical strategies for mindset shifts that will help you finally understand the root causes of why you think, feel, and act as you do. Now, here's your host, Physician, and Master Certified Life Coach, Kristi Angevine.
Hello, hello, everybody. I want to start off this podcast with reading one of the reviews I saw for the podcast recently. This review is from Dr. KDT. So, thank you Dr. KDT. It says, “I met Dr. Angevine at a Women Physicians Wellness conference and have been able to continue to reflect on my medical practice and improve my mindset through her practical advice. With her calming voice, she delivers new insights in each episode. Please keep them coming!” Thank you so much.
One of my favorite things about attending conferences, and speaking at conferences, are the connections that I make. Not only the learning and internal connections that I make from seeing content for myself, but I'm talking about the connections with other people. Now, for all of you who are introverts, I am most definitely an introvert at my baseline.
So, for me, these conferences, they do require a lot of energy, and overcoming the inertia of wanting to just retreat to my hotel room for six hours of solitude for every six hours of a conference. But what I've found is that the connection on the other side of that investment of energy is completely worth the investment.
On that note, if you want to connect in real life, there's a couple of places that I'm going to be over the next few months. I'm going to be speaking at the next Women Physicians Wellness Conference in August, on Amelia Island. In October, I'm going to be in Utah at the Institute for Physician Wellness Fall Conference; at the end of October.
Then, I'm going back to another Women Physician Wellness Conference in February of 2024, in the Grand Cayman, which is a place I've never been. So, I just wanted to give a shout out to anybody who's going to those conferences, or considering those conferences, come join me there. When you're there, please come find me and come say hello. I would love to connect. Even if you're an extrovert, I would love to hang out with you.
So, what does this have to do with self-trust? Well, in the past, there's no way I would have attended a conference and know that connection with other people was inevitable. There's absolutely no way I could have fathom ed being a speaker.
I thought connection with other people, in such a setting as a conference or a retreat, and public speaking, those were things that other people could do. People who are born with a public speaking gene or people who knew how to be extroverted, they could go to conferences and come back with connections, and come back with people that they wanted to get to know more.
It's only because I have developed a sense of trusting myself that I now look forward to attending ,and I look forward to speaking at conferences, and I look forward to connection. To be honest, the reason this podcast even exists is because I have a sense of self-trust that was woefully absent in the past.
Now, I've heard people talk about self-trust, and I kind of just blew it off a little bit if I'm honest, because I superficially assumed that I trusted myself. Because I trusted my clinical decision making. I trusted that I knew what I didn't know, and I knew when to ask for help when I reached the line. I trusted my instincts when it came to obstetrical emergencies.
There are a lot of places in my parenting and my relationships and my friendships where I had self-trust. But as I started really looking carefully at my habits and my patterns, if I was really honest, and I looked eyes wide open at some of my patterns, what I discovered is that my self-trust in several areas of my life was really, really wobbly. Really, really flimsy.
This flimsiness drove things like my second guessing. It drove me outsourcing authority to other people. It drove a habit of dismissing my intuition, and not really knowing what I liked, what I thought, or what actually mattered to me.
So, let's talk about self-trust. Let's define things first. What is trust? According to Merriam Webster, trust, as a noun, means assured reliance on the character, ability or strength of someone or something. As a verb, to trust is to rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of someone or something. To place confidence in, to rely on, to extend credit to, and to believe in.
Let's think about what that means when it comes to self-trust. Self-trust is a reliance on your own character. A reliance on your own ability, and your own strength. It means to depend on, or to place confidence in yourself. To extend credit towards yourself. It's having a faith and a confidence in your own abilities, your character, and your strengths.
So, let's take it a step further. Self-trust entails knowing that you're going to be kind and respectful to yourself, even when you mess up. Even when you don't show up how you like. One way I've heard it described, is a reliance on your own integrity.
Now, self-trust doesn't mean that you will always do the right thing, or know the exact best thing to do or the best way to do things. Rather, it means that even when you don't know, you know that you can rely on yourself to figure it out, or rely on yourself to be kind to yourself in the aftermath. So, if you struggle with self-trust, please know that you're not alone.
Now, without going into an entire episode on socialization and patriarchal messaging, suffice it to say, in the western society in which many of us are socialized, many of us have been socialized to question ourselves. Socialized to not trust ourselves. Many of us were socialized that we can't trust that we're cut out for a role unless we can do it perfectly. Unless we know in advance exactly how to do 100% of the job.
So, if this is you, and you're scratching your head and wondering, “How the heck is it, that I'm really smart, I'm really qualified and really resourceful, and yet I feel like a fraud who's not going to do as well as somebody else.” If that's you, this is not some random affliction. This is a phenomenon that is baked into messaging that all of us have received since our formative years.
Let's flesh out exactly how not trusting yourself might look and show up in your life, so you can be clear on where this might be showing up for you. A lack of self-trust can show up with difficulty making decisions. Feeling, more often than not, like you need to get other people to weigh in on your decision. Possibly, constantly asking others for advice or input. Or feeling like you need to know what they would do before you can decide.
You might routinely text your friends about what outfit to wear to an event. Or not feel comfortable leaving the house without asking three people, “How's this look?” Lack of self-trust can manifest with worry about making the wrong choice, worry about letting others down, and worry about making a mistake or failing.
Lack of self-trust looks like feeling inadequate, like you're not good enough, or maybe you're too much. It also shows up with harsh self-criticism that can lead to feelings of guilt or shame. A lack of self-trust shows up in constantly looking to others for answers, and seeing other people as authorities. It shows up as a lack of belief that you have something to offer.
So, at a meeting, you're quiet. Maybe you even freeze and have no idea what you could possibly offer. Maybe you self-edit, such that you don't even say what you're thinking. Lack of self-trust shows up as self-indictment. Say you make a mistake, and you automatically jump to, “Oh my gosh, what is my problem?”
It can show up in tolerating situations that are, frankly, awful, but you're pretending that they're fine. A lack of self-trust can sound like ending every single sentence with, “Does that make sense?” When you don't trust yourself, you might have inner self talk that sounds like, “I can't figure this out. This isn't working. Clearly, I'm not cut out for this.”
Now, let me emphasize, if you can relate to any of this, you are in great company. If you hear this, and you think, “Hm, that sounds a little bit familiar, but I'm not sure that's exactly me,” that's okay, too. All of these things can be camouflaged, minimized, and glossed over. Such that you could experience these, but not want other people to know that you're experiencing them so that you put on a good front.
You want to make sure that you look like you know what you're doing. That you do trust yourself, even though under the surface, this is actually what's going on. So, if you listened to this, and you think, “Well, that's not really me,” listen again. Because some of these things can be subtle and even missed completely by ourselves. Ask me how I know.
Let's compare this lack of self-trust with what self-trust might look like. So, self-trust makes it so much easier to make decisions without crowdsourcing and without torturing yourself after you have made a decision. The quintessential self-trust comment or motto is, “I made the best decision I could with the information I had at the time.”
From self-trust, you pick the outfit that you're going to wear to that event, because you'd like it for you. You feel comfortable in your own skin. Self-trust looks like knowing that indeed, you could make a mistake, you could mess up, you could fail, you could let other people down. But there's no ruminating about those possibilities. There's just a matter of fact, execution of a decision, and managing whatever consequences come as they come.
Because you trust yourself to be able to handle whatever comes up. Whether that's other people's reactions, or your own emotions. Self-trust begets a feeling of competence and resourcefulness. Instead of harsh, critical self-talk, self-trust allows you to have self-talk, that is matter of fact, and warm.
Self-trust shows up as you're looking inward to see what answers make sense to you. Taking information that you consume and passing it through your own lens and your own discernment. Self-trust is believing that you matter. That your needs, your wants, your dreams, your ideas, they all matter. Self-trust basically opens the door to you being your own authority.
So, at a meeting, when they're self-trust, even if you don't have all the answers, speaking up, voicing what you notice, is not a big deal. It's more of a matter-of-fact thing that you do at a meeting. When it comes to mistakes, self-trust sounds like this, “I made a mistake. I'm going to learn from it.”
I actually ran into a mom of a soccer player when I was at the soccer tournament recently. It was a mom I didn't know, who was a mom of a kid who I didn't know. Her kid was playing goalie. She was saying that for her kid, when the ball would get past them, and they would miss blocking the ball and a goal would be made, they weren't thinking things like, “Oh my gosh, what's my problem? I suck.”
This kid, who was nine or ten years old, just had a natural default to say, “Oh, bummer. I couldn't get that ball. I'm going to learn from that, so let's focus on the next.” That is such a great demonstration of self-trust. Self-trust looks like being clear on what you like. Being clear on what you want to wear, what you want to do, what matters to you, what restaurant you want to go to, just for you.
It also looks like trusting that your feelings are valid, and not pretending like something is okay when it's not. Self-trust is very much at the core of a growth mindset. So, instead of saying things like, “I can't do it,” self-trust drives you to say, “I can't do it, yet. I can't figure this out, yet.” Instead of, “This isn't working,” it's, “This isn't working so I wonder what I could be missing? Wow, that was really hard. I learned a lot and I've grown a ton.”
Now, I have a caveat. To those of us who have not had sturdy, consistent self-trust, learning to trust yourself can seem like it's a slippery slope, where the risk is becoming some arrogant asshole who is self-absorbed. Or becoming somebody who is totally reckless, and has a sense of careless bravado. This is a very black and white way of thinking, but it's very real and very common.
It can seem like there are two choices. Either you don't trust yourself, or you're arrogant and careless. Now, this concern makes sense. But trust me, it's not one that you need to worry about. Because self-trust happens on a spectrum. The truth is, instead of causing self-absorbed obliviousness or arrogance, self-trust actually helps you with ownership and accountability.
Let's talk about what creates self-trust. My take is that self-trust arises from your beliefs about yourself in the world. Your beliefs are the thoughts that you have thought over and over and over and over, such that they have turned into your core assumptions.
So, what are the kinds of core beliefs that underpin self-trust? The core beliefs of somebody who has trust in themselves are as follows: I matter. My point of view matters. What I like, what I enjoy, what I want, that matters. My thoughts matter. My opinion is valid. My emotions are important. What I have to offer is valuable. I trust myself to figure things out. Life isn't all rainbows and daisies, and I will screw up sometimes. I trust myself to work through whatever I need to work through.
The way to cultivate a habit of self-trust starts with cultivating these types of beliefs. The way to cultivate a new belief starts with articulating the new belief that you want to have. But what's often overlooked in pop psychology, and what I refer to as the positive thinking tabloids, is that to really believe something new means you have to look at what's in the way.
The identity that you have today it's made up of all of your beliefs about yourself in the world. So, to shift your identity, to one where you trust yourself more, means that you need to see what you're currently believing about yourself in the world that is blocking your self-trust. The big question to answer for yourself is: What's in the way of trusting myself completely?
Don't rush this question. This is not a five-minute question that is going to completely revolutionize your sense of self-trust in 10 minutes. Take some time with this this week. What's in the way of self-trust for you? Then, to pair this deeper reflection with a concrete action, I want you to think about what you could do today, literally, right when this podcast ends, that would come from you trusting yourself 1% more?
If you trusted yourself 1% more than you do in this moment, what is one thing that you would do differently today? I want you to ask yourself that, and then go do that thing. It might be, when you trust yourself just 1% more that you trust your desire to get some sleep, you trust your bodily cues that you're tired, and so, you don't stay up and read the article you said you're going to read, or the book you said you're going to read, and you go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
It might be that you press send on an email after you proofread it twice, instead of proofreading it 10 times and asking your friend and your partner and your colleagues at work if it sounds okay. It might be that when you trust yourself 1% more, you let yourself really sit with a meaningful question like, what do I really want? Instead of just brushing it aside and not giving it the time it deserves.
When you trust yourself just a little bit extra, you might decide to initiate a hard conversation that you've been putting off. You might realize that you're grinning and baring something that you do not want to deal with anymore. What is the one thing that you would do differently today, if you trusted yourself 1% more? Answer that, and then go execute on that. Go do that thing.
Now, for fun, you can also tag on some bigger questions. These are questions, I think, to just let them sort of marinate in your mind. If you want to journal on them, you can do that. But you can also think about them before you go to bed ,and just sort of let your subconscious noodle on them for a little bit. Have fun with them.
So here they are: What would be different in my life if I trusted myself completely? What would I stop doing immediately if I trusted myself completely? What would I start doing or say yes to if I trusted myself completely? What would it mean to me, what would it mean to my family, what would it mean for my legacy, if I stepped into the identity of someone who totally trusted myself?
That's what I have you on self-trust, today. Self-trust is a multi-dimensional, multifaceted topic, and I really plan on digging into it more in the future. So, if you liked this episode, stay tuned for more.
It would mean so much to me, if in addition to contemplating what you would do if you trusted yourself 1% more if you would take a second and leave a review of the podcast and a rating. The ratings and reviews are instrumental for people finding this podcast when they search for things like “habits,” when they look in podcasts.
So, it helps it be discoverable, which it helps other people listen to the podcast when they're looking for something like this. If you feel called to share this podcast with a friend or a colleague, that will just totally make my day.
Thank you so much for listening. Have a beautiful week, and I'll talk to you next time.
Thanks for listening to Habits On Purpose. If you want more information on Kristi Angevine or the resources from the podcast, visit HabitsOnPurpose.com. Tune in next week for another episode.