There is so much work being done in the realm of self-trust and honoring one’s own truth and I love it all. However, I believe there are some deep misconceptions about what it actually means and how to practice it in real life.
So often, when people talk about ‘honoring themselves’, or ‘honoring their truth’, what they are actually saying is ‘I am right about x, y, z thing that’s happening outside of myself,’ or ‘I’m right about how the world is, how men or women are, or right about that person over there’. But radical self-trust doesn’t rely on being right about someone or something outside of ourselves. In fact, it encourages the exact opposite—knowing that we actually don’t know—that all we can really know and trust is own felt experience and that’s OK!
I believe that one of the main ways we actually diminish our self-trust is by making trusting ourselves dependant on it making sense.
One of the most frequent examples I see of this is around whether we trust another person, or not. Imagine you’re at a friend’s party and there’s a person there that you feel uncomfortable around. The two common ways to deal with this are:
- To come up with reasons to justify why you feel uncomfortable.
- To tell yourself there’s no good reason to feel uncomfortable, so you shouldn’t feel that way.
Although these seem like different responses on the surface, they both come from the same place: Not trusting that your own discomfort is reason enough.
Radical self-trust responds to your feelings of discomfort, perhaps by leaving the room you’re in, or telling a friend that you don’t want to be alone with them, without needing to make it mean anything other than that you are uncomfortable.
When you practice radical self-trust, you can take the right action that honors your truth, without needing to be right about anything else.
This a vulnerable place to come from because we’re taught to believe that the feeling itself is not enough, and if we don’t make a case to prove that feeling true, then no one will believe us. This is also the most powerful place to come from because it means our truth need not depend on our ability to ‘prove’ it.
I was in a session with a client recently and she was recounting a situation in which she was out to dinner with a man, and she started to get really uncomfortable around him. She was feeling intense sensations in her hands like they were telling her to leave because something didn’t feel right.
Because she wasn’t yet practiced in the art of radical self-trust, she got really anxious trying to figure out whether what he was doing was actually inappropriate or not, rather than simply trusting that her body was telling her she didn’t want to be there anymore.
From what she was telling me, we could all probably agree that he was being objectively creepy, which does matter and is really not OK, but this is also where radical self-trust comes in. Without needing to prove that the things he said were off, or that he was being creepy, she simply didn’t want to be there anymore, and that is enough.
One of the ways we sabotage ourselves as humans and waste a ton of time, attention and energy is by trying to figure out ‘Why?’.
“Why do I feel this way?”
“Why don’t I want to hang out with them?”
“Why do I not trust that person?”
We argue with ourselves and try to convince ourselves (or talk ourselves out) of something we already know. Even when we have a clear knowing, we still look for data to back it up. Radical self-trust says that knowing what is true for us is enough.
What if your distrust, or your sense of a situation, had nothing to do with the person and yet was still 100% valid?
Here’s a simple litmus test for speaking your truth: If it really is your truth, it won’t be about another person.
“I don’t like this”
“I love you”
“I don’t want to”
“I don’t trust him/her/them”
“I feel drawn to you”
“I feel afraid”
“I need to go now”
These are all statements of truth that cannot be argued (which is not to say they won’t change, given new information, but they also might not). These can be true for YOU, regardless of whether they are true for anyone else, or whether they make sense (to you or anyone else). While you may feel a desire to explain why each of these is true, it is not necessary because they stand alone.
“You’re not trustable”
“You don’t have integrity”
“You’re being creepy”
“You don’t love me”
These are things people often say when they are attempting to speak their truth. Notice how each of these can be argued with; notice how each of these would typically need to be followed with an “I know this because” statement.
Most of us are very unpracticed in radical self-trust, at listening to ourselves, and discerning how to move and act from that place. It’s something that must be cultivated, a skill that most of us have squashed down or moved away from for all kinds of reasons. But one of the reasons I believe this is so important is that so much that’s going on in the world is dependent on using fear tactics to persuade us. And when we consistently cultivate radical self-trust in a deep way, those tactics cease to work on us.
Start listening for what’s true for you. Anyplace you want to add a ‘because’, see if you can stay with the truth statement. Pay attention to what your intuition tells you for you. Let go of what you think you ‘know’ about another. Are you willing to trust yourself that deeply?
Watch the video below for a more nuanced exploration of Radical Self-Trust, as well as personal examples from my life and leave your questions and comments below!