Lost and Found: Self-Trust

midlife woman reflecting self trust

Many of us as in midlife reflect on patterns and experiences and realise that we have forgotten to trust ourselves.

Call it what you want, intuition, gut feeling, inner wisdom, but somewhere along the way this connection with ourselves has weakened. We might feel that we have lost or need to recalibrate our inner compass that guides us through life’s twists and turns. This loss can be particularly hard at a time of life where there is no real manual or societal expectations, where we may start to think about who we are and what we really want (some common themes from my research with midlife women). Self-trust is an essential foundation to exploring the next new and exciting phase of our lives!

But what happens when we lose self-trust? And, more importantly, how do we get it back?

Let’s unpack it together.

pile of stoness foundations self trust

Why Women Lose Self-Trust:

There are so many reasons why we might lose our connection to our own inner compass. Here are a few of the key ones:

  1. Societal Pressure: From a young age, women are bombarded with societal expectations about how we should look, act, and behave. This constant pressure can chip away at our self-confidence and make us doubt our own instincts. We are also often taught or learn to defer to authority figures, whether it be teachers, doctors, politicians we also affects our willingness to listen to ourselves.
  2. Comparison Trap: Thanks to media and social media, we’re constantly comparing ourselves to others, whether it’s our friends, celebrities, or influencers. This comparison game can lead to feelings of inadequacy and erode our self-trust. Thinking that someone else knows better than us and how to lead our lives, look after our bodies, or whatever.
  3. Past Experiences: Negative experiences, such as rejection, criticism, or failure, can shake our confidence and make us second-guess ourselves in future situations. This can lead us to look to others for solutions and guidance.
  4. Lack of Representation: Historically, women have been underrepresented in positions of power and leadership. When we don’t see people who look like us succeeding, it can be hard to believe in our own abilities too.
I trust you written in scrabble letters

The Importance of Reconnecting to Self-Trust:

Chances are most of us have had an experience where we think, if only I had trusted my intuition or gut on more than one occasion in our lives. By midlife we are more likely to see patterns and are often confronted with a new stage of life to experience whether it be open (I prefer it to empty) nest, considering our purpose, reconnecting to who we are and what we want, etc, etc. Self-trust is obviously even more key at this time, but what else can it bring us?

self trust experience james baldwin quote
  1. Better Decision-Making: When we trust ourselves, we’re more confident in our decisions and less likely to second-guess ourselves. This can lead to us taking responsibility more and better outcomes in both our personal and professional lives.
  2. Increased Resilience: Self-trust acts as a buffer against life’s challenges. When we believe in ourselves, we’re better equipped to bounce back from setbacks and keep pushing forward.
  3. Authenticity: When we trust ourselves, we’re more likely to stay true to who we are, rather than trying to conform to others’ expectations (especially for us people pleasers!). This authenticity is key to living a fulfilling and meaningful life.
  4. Empowerment: Self-trust is empowering. It gives us the confidence to pursue our goals, speak up for ourselves, and advocate for what we believe in, whilst still being connected to our values and who we are.
feeding a bird reconnecting trust

How to Reconnect to Self-Trust:

When we are kids we trust ourselves to know who we are and what we want to do, allowing ourselves to have fun, play, eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full (if we are allowed to!). Over time this all gets eroded by well-meaning caregivers and society. It is empowering to know that we had self-trust at one time, now we just need to reconnect to it, it just takes time and practice.

Here are some ideas on how:

self trust life lessons cherie carter scott quote
  1. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself, especially in moments of self-doubt. Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to a friend. This sounds pretty straight forward, but remembering to do it can be hard. How about having a picture of you as a child visible on your phone, on your bedside table. Remembering who we are as our childlike essence can really help soften our hearts and give ourselves more empathy and compassion. We wouldn´t dare beat up on our child like our adult selves, would we?
  2. Reflect on Past Successes: Take a trip down memory lane, make a list and remind yourself of all the times you’ve overcome challenges and achieved your dreams or goals. Use these past successes as evidence of your abilities to remind yourself of how you have done tough things and moved forward. This really connects us to realising how we are much more capable and strong than we first think.
  3. Listen to Your Inner Voice: Tune out the noise of the outside world and listen to your own intuition. Trust that you know what’s best for you, even if it goes against conventional wisdom. One way to do this I find really powerful is to not check my phone on first waking/before going to sleep, but spending some time connecting to my body and me to see how I feel that day. Maybe spending some time in quiet with a cuppa, meditating, journalling, doing some gentle movement to connect to myself. Doing that before connecting to my phone and the outside world really helps re-establish this connection to self-trust, our bodies and inner wisdom.
  4. Surround Yourself with Supportive People: Surround yourself with friends, family, mentors/coaches who believe in you and uplift you. Their belief in you can help bolster your own self-trust too. It can be pretty uncomfortable to ask, but why not ask them what they see as your biggest strengths and what you have overcome in life – you might be surprised at their answers!
  5. Keep your promises to yourself: If you say you are going to do something then commit to doing it. You would never let someone else down (unless it was unavoidable) so don´t do that to yourself. By sticking to what we say we will do, this builds on our self-trust.

So, there you have it, folks! Self-trust is like a muscle — it requires regular exercise and nurturing to stay strong. But with a little self-compassion, reflection, and support for ourselves and from those around us, we can reclaim our self-trust and inner compass to navigate life’s journey with grace and resilience.

How are you going to reconnect to your self-trust today?

As always, I LOVE to hear your thoughts, experiences, comments, please do share below. If you would also like to find out more about working with me to reconnect to who you are and get unstuck in your life then please email me at ejlees@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

group of midlife women together in landscape menopause konenki renewal

Images: Brett Jordan, Marek Piwnicki, Zdeněk Macháček, Nigel Tadyanehondo

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