Last week, I discussed how our traumatic past can convince us trust is not the answer. When we grow up with trauma, all signposts point to trust being incredibly dangerous. And anything deemed dangerous is to be avoided when we live in survival mode. But a life without trust is no life at all. A lack of trust drives us toward isolation, stagnancy, self-hate, excessive hyper-vigilance and even paranoia. While that might be a way of staying alive (maybe), it isn’t a way of living. And we all deserve to live. We deserve to really live.
Allowing trust in your life after a childhood of trauma is one of the bravest things you can do. It requires you to take leaps of faith every single day. You have to accept that the world has something different to offer even if you haven’t personally experienced it. You need to be willing to consider a new way of being in the world even if you cannot grasp it in your mind. And it is an act of courage like no other. When all you have known is horrible things, why would you do this? It is the tiny bit of hope under the surface somewhere that tells us there must be something better.
If you have read this far, you are either screaming at me about the impossibility of finding any trust in your life or you have that tiny bit of hope telling you to keep reading (or both). You may be thinking this all sounds good in theory, but how do I make this happen? How do I facilitate a flying leap of faith when all the evidence points to the contrary? How do I join this exclusive club of people who have taken a chance when it feels like the worst choice ever? Since you are brave enough to ask the question, let me give you some steps to follow.
- You must ground to trust yourself. The mind will never point you in the direction of trust. The mind works off black and white thinking, pros and cons and solid evidence. You will not find trust there. There is no logical reason to trust in this world. A life of logic only supports survival. But the body knows how to trust. Our intuition is synonymous with trust. It is based solely on trust and will often be seen by the mind as crazy. But when you are grounded and you hear your intuition, you will be much more confident in your decisions. When you are grounded in your decisions, you will inherently know you are right even when others don’t support you. You can’t get that from the mind. And it is how you develop trust in yourself. If you have lived a dissociated life, grounding won’t come easy. But finding small ways to ground yourself throughout the day can make a huge difference in your ability to trust.
- You must question your mind when you are fearful. When you are sure everything is going to go horribly wrong, you are living in the mind. You are operating from the black and white thinking of your inner parts. And your parts are living in the past. The more you can bring awareness to these thoughts as coming from your trauma, the more you can consider another potential reality.
- You need to express from these fears. Once you recognize these fears and allow yourself to question them, it is important to hear them out. It is important to hear them from a grounded place. You don’t want to take action from these fears. Instead, you want to listen to the fears like a parent. You want to respond with compassion and love to the fears. Acknowledge them as valid based on your past, but also acknowledge that your reality has changed since childhood. And keep expressing repetitively until the fear dissipates.
- Take mini leaps of faith. Once you have worked with these fears for a while, take an action that goes against those fears. Try to do one little thing that trusts the universe, yourself, or another person. It doesn’t have to be anything monumental. As a matter of a fact, it shouldn’t be. Once you do it, the fears will get louder. Express from them as you have been. Keep working on listening to your fear, but taking leaps of faith anyway.
These steps will lead you in the direction of trust. Taking mini leaps of faith will shift your life in powerful ways. But it takes awareness and knowledge to make that happen. And it helps to have support along the way. This is why I am devoting the month of August to building a foundation of trust. Come join me on the Survivor’s Guide for Life as we explore our unconscious obstacles to trust. Click on this link so you can find out How to Build a Foundation of Trust.