Last Updated on January 15, 2020
Have you ever had a gut feeling that told you something was off? Maybe it didn’t make sense and you couldn’t explain it, but you knew within your core that something wasn’t right.
That was your inner voice talking to you. Whether you call it your intuition or a gut feeling, listening to yourself is a key part of self-development. In fact, one of the most important things you can to build self-trust is to start listening to your intuition.
The trouble is that it’s not always easy to listen to yourself. You might second-guess your intuition or feel like you can’t trust yourself to make good decisions because you’ve made mistakes in the past.
But when you feel comfortable enough to trust your inner voice, you can eliminate a lot of doubt and uncertainty in your life. In this post, I’m sharing how you can trust yourself more to make decisions in life without feeling insecure.
Why We Don’t Trust Ourselves
There’s no doubt that we all want to do things the right way. No one likes to make mistakes, so we try to avoid them at all costs. Because we fear making mistakes, we often seek out advice and answers to help us avoid making the wrong decision.
I’m sure you’ve had those times where you thought you could do something by yourself, but fear starts to kick in and makes you second-guess what you’re capable of. Because of this, you ask around for advice or scour Google searching for a step-by-step guide to help solve your problems.
The problem with seeking advice is that it often pushes away what you already know to be true. Seeking answers can cloud your mind and make you even more confused than when you started.
You might even make a decision knowing fully that it isn’t the right choice (only to regret it afterward). From small mistakes like that Taco Bell I had the other night (yikes) to big mistakes like agreeing to a writing job I knew didn’t feel right, I could have prevented these things if only I’d listened to myself.
Our intuition is something we simply don’t give enough credit to. There are so many times when we get a gut feeling about something, but we don’t listen to it. We try to rationalize it, but there isn’t always a rational explanation. Accepting this is one of the hardest yet most important things to recognize. Not every feeling needs to be rationalized or overanalyzed.
Related Post: Why you need to stop searching for answers
3 Mindset Shifts for Self-Trust
If we already know what to do, how do we figure out the answers ourselves? Here are some tips for building self-trust so you feel comfortable listening to your inner voice:
1. Spend quiet moments alone
A lot of us get overwhelmed because we have too many choices in our lives. We think we’re not capable of making the right decision ourselves so we avoid taking any action at all. Often this happens because we question whether we should follow our gut instinct or do what everyone else would do.
I’m a big believer that you already have most of the answers you need within yourself. After all, you’re the expert on yourself. You know more about yourself and the world than you give yourself credit for.
To find more clarity, spend some time with yourself. Sit in discomfort with the problem. You can meditate, journal, or go for a walk (without a podcast playing). Don’t search for answers. Instead, listen to yourself and pay attention to how you feel about the situation. This is often a lot more rewarding than trying to search for “inspiration”.’
Related Post: 10 ways to quiet your mind when it won’t shut up
2. Trust yourself even when you make mistakes
Part of having a healthy mindset is trusting yourself to make the right decisions for you. We all have trust issues in some form or another, but there shouldn’t be any reason to feel like you can’t trust yourself.
Maybe you’re thinking that you’ve trusted your intuition before and it’s led you down the wrong path. I’ll bet my bottom dollar that the action you took wasn’t really what your intuition was telling you to do. You most likely listened to your ego (the people-pleasing, status quo-following part of you) instead of what your intuition told you.
Self-trust also means that you’re okay with making mistakes. You know mistakes are part of the journey and that they always offer learning opportunities. If you can trust yourself even though you’ve made mistakes, you will be able to create so much more peace in your life.
Related Post: 5 key elements of a healthy mindset
3. Let yourself feel without trying to rationalize your feelings
For those of us who live up in our heads and overthink everything, we have a hard time listening to our intuition. After all, our instinct is to rationalize things so they make sense. It’s easier to make sense of thoughts than it is to make sense of feelings.
Your intuition is simply not something you can rationalize which is why so many of us don’t listen to it. Sometimes you just can’t explain why you feel iffy about certain things. But when you overthink what your inner voice is telling you instead of just listening to it, you only add judgment and self-doubt into the mix.
Instead of going back-and-forth trying to make a decision, tune into your feelings and avoid resisting them. When you resist your feelings, you create internal conflict. Don’t force yourself to come up with a rational explanation for them. Just listen, feel, and see where it takes you.
Related Post: How to stop talking yourself out of things
How will you build self-trust?
By now, you should recognize that listening to your intuition is one of the best things you can do to build self-trust and make better decisions in your life. How will you tune into your intuition and trust your inner guide a little more?
Brilliant post. This is not something I’ve really thought about before. The third one is my biggest struggle – rationalising feelings. I feel deeply but I’m also very cognitive and much of my experience of intuition is a battle between the emotion and the head. I am gradually learning to sit with the feelings and just let them speak, without trying to push them down or rationally understand them.
Thanks for putting this into words. Very helpful for me!
Great post. I often struggle with going against my gut instinct because I think at times it can be fear and that is holding be back from trying something new. I think its key to find the balance in feeling fearless but also having healthy boundaries that protect.
I think your recommendation to be more mindful and meditate is a great place to start. I know that when I regularly meditate I get much better at identifying when I am living from a place of fear and I am much better at accurately identifying my feelings so that I can review situations and know when I want to follow my institution.
Glad this post was helpful for you, Sarah!
Love the blogs. Thank you Catherine!
Thank you, Joanne!
Important issue. I find it hard to distinguish between an intuition and a thought. Making the distinction often turns intuition into a thought, “Does this make sense?” No. It doesn’t make sense. That’s why it is an intuition. Failing to heed an intuition led to a major traffic accident. It can be serious!
That’s a good point. It’s often a hunch that can’t really be explained. I tend to think of intuition as a feeling in your gut, rather than a thought in your head.