Confidence to Trust

Is confidence necessary to trust others? In other words, is trust an indication of the level of confidence you possess?

Nature of trust

Like most things in life, trust is a spectrum. Where you fit on that spectrum depends upon the situation you face. But, in my opinion, it depends primarily on how much you trust yourself.

If I regularly:

  • Doubt my own decisions.
  • Discount the successes I experience.
  • Revisit my decisions before acting.
  • Postpone action indefinitely.
  • Denigrate my abilities.

I’m unlikely to be able to trust others.

Why? Because I don’t have any more confidence in my ability to judge the trustworthiness of others than I do my own abilities.

Conversely, when I’m confident in my ability to:

  • Deal with any situation that comes my way.
  • Realize that even when things don’t go well I learn valuable lessons.
  • Can easily adapt what I’ve learned to avoid problems in the future.
  • Am well-equipped to help others deal with their challenges.
  • Consider myself fortunate to possess the abilities I possess.

Then it’s easy for me to be confident in my ability to assess others’ trustworthiness…and my ability to deal effectively with those rare instances where that trust is misplaced.

For you

For those of you who possess the latter mindset, kudos for having discovered confidence in your own capabilities and, more importantly, your ability to learn and adapt…your real source of confidence.

If you’re among those who lack the confidence to trust yourself and, consequently, others, make a conscious decision to put an end to the misery you’re experiencing. Yes, I know what it’s like to have serious doubts about yourself and the pain that accompanies it. But fortunately it has been almost five decades since I’ve experienced that pain.

One of the keys is to retrain your mind to focus on positives instead of negatives. Make a daily list of the successes you enjoyed that day…without discounting them. Savor the joy that accompanies each success.

In those instances in which things didn’t go as you’d hoped, ask yourself “What did I learn from this experience? How will that lesson help me in the future?” These questions will help you realize that even when things don’t go according to plan, you still win because you’ve learned something that will benefit you in the future.

Finally, and most importantly, you must want to change. There are some among us, albeit a very, very small number, who relish being a victim. If you’re one of these, nothing that I’m suggesting is going to work for you.

You have to want things to be different. As a child, despite having grown up in one of the most loving, nurturing households a child could desire, I was shy and insecure. What enabled me to overcome that shyness and insecurity was my desire to be able to enjoy others’ company.

My nature, according to the Myers-Briggs profile, is that I’m an extrovert, but I was exhibiting severe introverted behavior. It was this dichotomy that prompted me to read a lot of self-help books and articles, to take a job in public accounting so I’d have to meet new people on a daily basis, to reach out to others even though it was uncomfortable. It was my desire for change that enabled me to overcome my shyness and insecurity. In doing so, my ability to relate to others, regardless of where they are on the confidence spectrum, has become one of my greatest strengths.

If you’re an introvert, don’t let that stop you for becoming more comfortable in your dealings with others, or your ability to trust them. Some of my best friends, introverts by nature, have become exceptional public speakers who help countless others enjoy greater success. For them, as for me, the key was desire. In their case, it was their desire to help others. In mine, a desire to return to my true nature…as well as help others.

To recap, here are the steps you need to take if you’re not happy with your lot in life:

  1. Evaluate your willingness to change. Ask yourself “What do I need to do to change? On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being high, how willing am I to take that action? If the ratings aren’t all 4s or 5s, don’t bother; your desire isn’t strong enough. If they are 4s and 5s, proceed to step 2.
  2. Make it a daily habit to review your success so that you begin to see how often you are successful. Also note what you learned when things didn’t go according to plan and how that lesson will help you in the future.
  3. You’ll soon discover that you have a more positive outlook on life. You not only feel better about yourself, but you see the good in others which brings its own form of joy.
  4. Notice that you find yourself trusting others more because you trust yourself more.

For our kids

This is a situation in which living the message is essential. When kids see the joy you find in everyday living, they’ll mimic your behavior.

If there’s a child in your life that has a glass-half-empty outlook on life, ask them “Are you happy being that way? If not, would you like to change?” If they respond saying they would like to change, lead them through the 4 steps outlined above including asking them to evaluate their desire.

There will be times when their current desire isn’t strong enough for them to be successful effecting change. Don’t push them. Instead allow them time to think about it more. Often they’ll realize that they really do want to change. That’s the time to lead them through the other steps.

Nothing would bring me greater joy than knowing that you and your kids are enjoying the confidence you need to trust yourselves and others.

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