Are You Earning Your Own Trust (and Why You Should if You’re Not)?

To live the best life you possibly can, you need to take care of yourself well. And doing that is especially important when you have a serious chronic illness. But you’re human, and there are times when you can’t take care of yourself the way you know you should.

When that happens, it’s important to quickly notice and acknowledge that you’ve fallen short, and to start taking care of yourself well again. Doing that is important for two reasons. The first is the obvious one: when you don’t take care of yourself, i.e., when you don’t get the rest you need, when you eat foods that aren’t good for you, etc., your illness, your symptoms, and the quality of your life will keep getting worse.

The second reason it’s important to start taking good care of yourself again right away is not as obvious, but it is equally important. It’s this: every time you do something that takes care of you, you are earning and keeping your trust in yourself. But every time you do something that doesn’t take care of you, you may lose your trust in yourself.

If you’re wondering why having trust in yourself matters and why it’s important to earn it and keep it, just ask yourself the following questions: If you have a boss that you don’t trust, how dedicated will you be to him or her? How much will you do for a friend who has lost or betrayed your trust? What effect does it have on your relationship if your partner does something to lose your trust?

I have no doubt your answers to those questions would be very different if your boss, your friend, and your partner had, rather than having lost your trust, had kept it. You probably would go the extra mile for your boss, would be there for your friend, and would do anything and everything you could for your partner.

The same principle—that we give much more of ourselves to people who have earned and keep earning our trust than we give to those who lose and betray it—also applies to the way we are with ourselves. When we repeatedly do things that don’t take care of ourselves, we stop trusting ourselves. And as a result, we do even less for ourselves. It gets to be a vicious cycle. On the other hand, when we make the effort to take care of ourselves, we earn our own trust, and are likely to continue.

I invite you to ask yourself what you can do each day to build your trust in yourself – and keep it.

If you like this post and found it helpful, I invite you to sign up for my free How to Have a Better Life When You Have a Chronic Illness tips here.

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3 Responses to “Are You Earning Your Own Trust (and Why You Should if You’re Not)?”

  1. I definitely fall short a lot on my diet. I need to get better in this area. So, now its all water and very healthy food. The worst temptation for me is movie theater popcorn. It makes me so sick and I almost always give in.

  2. Earning your own trust is so important to feeling safe in the world. For people living with multiple chronic illnesses, or an illness complicated by a messy personal life, it sure can be tough.

    Sometimes there is no good way to get everything done, deal with the anger and hurt feelings and still have time to eat exactly right (food allergies), not get hungry (or risk triggering a migraine), stay active (so the muscles don’t freeze up) without being too active (causing the muscles to stop working). With overwhelming demands, failure becomes common place and forgiveness becomes important.

    Yes, it is good to forgive others (abusive doctors, callous nurses), but we need to be able to forgive ourselves. I would never let my dog go hungry on purpose, but if I can’t move, he can’t eat. It’s the same story with getting my own dinner. Sometimes failure is the only option, and we have to be able to accept that, embrace the failure, forgive ourselves and move on.

    If you know another way, please share.

  3. Tom Robinson says:

    Rodney,

    Thank you for your comment. When I wrote about doing things to earn our own trust, I didn’t mean that we’re required to do things that because of our illness and symptoms we can’t do.

    Besides what you said, I would add that I think it’s important in situations like the one you described to give ourselves empathy and compassion – for not being able to feed ourselves because we’re sick and for having to go hungry because we can’t feed ourselves.

    Warmly,

    Tom

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