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21 Signs You Don't Trust Yourself—And What That Means

Last updated on June 25, 2020

For a long time, I did not trust myself because I thought I had made too many mistakes and poor choices. I also realized that I was, in many respects, a liar. I lied to myself about myself. I lied to make myself look and feel good. I also lied to others when I was afraid.

It is hard to trust a fool who repeatedly makes poor choices. It is even harder to trust someone you know is prone to lying.

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What turned everything around for me was the day I realized that I was teaching my children to lie. It was a very simple lie — I told my son to tell someone I wasn’t home.

When he looked at me and said, “Where are you, Mommy?” I knew I was in trouble.

There are many things I did that were acceptable for me but not acceptable for my children. Teaching my children to lie and to be afraid were among those highly unacceptable things. It took me a good minute, but I eventually figured out that the things I did and said that I was not proud of were the result of my not trusting myself. Eventually, through the process of compassionate self-forgiveness and a commitment to building and strengthening my character, I discovered that self-trust was my life preserver and my only hope.

Signs you don't trust yourself.

How you treat yourself on a daily basis can provide some critical feedback about your current level of self-trust. Compare your level of agreement with the statements in the list below to reveal the thoughts and beliefs still present in your consciousness that might be undermining your ability to trust yourself fully:

  1. I have a hard time recognizing, understanding, or believing in my innate value and worth.
  2. I accept the negative, self-rejecting messages that I received in childhood.
  3. I think that I could have done something to change or stop the childhood abuse, neglect, or abandonment that I experienced.
  4. I do things to prove myself and my value to others.
  5. I try to control everything around me so I can feel safe.
  6. I compare the choices I’ve made to those made by others.
  7. I minimize or deny my own needs.
  8. It’s sometimes difficult to recognize or tell the truth.
  9. I am unable to find, or value, my own voice.
  10. I’m unable or unwilling to recognize or challenge my self-sabotaging or self-destructive thoughts, beliefs, and behavior patterns.
  11. I’m prone to catastrophizing — i.e., I’m filled with the constant expectation of failure, disappointment, or betrayal.
  12. I mentally relive or rehash past traumas or adverse events.
  13. I engage in negative and harmful self-talk, and my negative ego takes control.
  14. I participate in self-sabotaging or compulsive repetitive behaviors that create shame, guilt, or self-punishment.
  15. I break the promises that I’ve made to myself.
  16. I fail to keep the commitments and/or agreements that I’ve made with others.
  17. I find it difficult to finish what I start.
  18. I hold in anger, resentment, or ill will toward — or I speak negatively about — those who I feel have hurt or harmed me.
  19. I deny or minimize my power of choice.
  20. I defer to others — allowing them to make choices and decisions for me.
  21. I rely heavily on my physical senses to make decisions and am often disconnected from my instincts, intuition, and inner guidance.
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Acknowledging the ways in which you do not trust yourself is the first step of how to rebuild self-trust.

Adapted from Trust: Mastering the Four Essential Trusts by Iyanla Vanzant.
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Iyanla Vanzant
Iyanla Vanzant
Television Host & NYT Bestselling Author

Iyanla Vanzant is the host and producer of the breakout hit Iyanla: Fix My Life on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She's a six-time New York Times bestselling author, Emmy Award winner, renowned public speaker, Yoruba priestess, and spiritual life coach.

Vanzant has a Juris Doctor degree from the City University of New York School of Law and a master's degree from the University of Santa Monica's Center for the Study and Practice of Spiritual Psychology. She's also an ordained New Thought minister.

On her award-winning reality television show, Vanzant shares her wisdom with a focus on faith, empowerment, and loving relationships.