Most of us would say that we want to have trusting relationships. The definition of trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something. Often, we focus on the trust we have in other people to make us feel good about ourselves and validate that we are lovable. This creates an internal need for outside acceptance.
However, I believe another kind of trust occurs when we have trust within ourselves. Golda Meir has a great quote, "trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement."
Why is this important? Without trust in self we perceive the world through a lens of distrust. We create lives that are based on past disappointments, hurts and pains. We unconsciously look for signs that trust does not exist and we build a case based on those signs. This causes us to behave in a way that creates distrust in relationships. Here are some signs that you are lacking trust in yourself and therefore creating it in your relationship:
- I tend to withdraw my energy and pull back my affection from my partner.
- I activate my "inner spy" and start searching for evidence that my partner is lying or cheating.
- I tell my friends that I am suspicious of my partner, but I have not shared my concerns with him or her.
- I need to know where my partner is at every moment.
- I constantly call, email or text my partner to make sure that we are connected.
- I am afraid that sharing my feelings with my partner will drive him or her away.
- I keep trying to improve my outer appearance in hopes that it will make me more desirable.
- I am needy and want my partner to keep proving that they love me.
These kinds of thoughts and behaviors place our attention on what is wrong, what is lacking and what cannot be fulfilled. How can your partner ever get it right if you constantly doubt him or her?
Here is something to consider: your partner is not solely responsible for creating trust in your relationship. When you trust yourself, you help to create an environment where both of you feel confident and safe in the relationship.
In order to get to this place, it is important to keep your attention on your personal growth and expansion. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I take time to explore my inner feelings and needs?
- Do I bring my best self to any experience?
- Do I trust myself enough to speak authentically when I feel challenged?
- Do I respect others the way that I want to be respected?
- Do I understand that I never have to prove my worth to anyone?
- Do I feel comfortable asking for what I need?
- Do I love myself the way that I want others to love me?
If you have answered no to any or all of these questions, it may be time for you to get some assistance in expanding your self-esteem. If you are in a place where you are feeling distrustful in your relationship, it is essential that you figure out if the problem is stemming from you. No partner will ever be able to make you feel secure if you are not sure of yourself. I invite you to pause and look at your thought patterns and beliefs. What are you saying to yourself and to others about trust in this relationship? Once you create that trust, then you will be able to decide if this relationship is for you. If you leave without learning this lesson, then you will simply re-create it in the next relationship. Trust is an inside job.
My husband, Carl Studna and I are thrilled to be hosting a free online teleseries in mid-June entitled, Bridging The Gender Gap - Developing Trust and Understanding Between Men and Women and we'd love to have you join us. Visit www.bridgingthegendergap.net for information and to sign up.
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