By Lauren Berger, MSW, RSW
You trust your doctor. You trust your accountant. You trust your drycleaner. Heck, you even trust your coffeehouse barista with your precious caffeine fix. We trust all kinds of people with the things that are important to us. So, why is it often so hard to trust ourselves? There are many reasons why, but there is typically one common denominator: fear. If things don’t go right, it seems to take the sting out of it if we have someone to blame. I’m a zombie today because they gave me decaf by accident! We blew that project because Joe was slacking again! When the onus is on you and you alone to meet your goal, you may notice yourself shrinking away. The problem with this is that you’ll likely miss out on something that is important to you, and you may notice this goal reemerge at different points in your life if it goes unfulfilled. How many times have you wanted to ditch your career in favour of something that truly excites you? Ask out that special person, but you’re afraid to ruin a friendship? Try a new lifestyle change, but you’re afraid of feeling humiliated if it doesn’t work out?
All of this fear is probably leading to ongoing disappointment. You wish you could do something, but don’t out of fear, and keep returning to the thought of “What if I just go for it?” Ask yourself: What is the worst that could happen? Can I pick myself up if it doesn’t work out? Does the reward not outweigh the risk? Chances are that the answers to these questions suggest that you should go for it, but that bit of fear seeps back in.
You trust so many people with the things that are important to you. No one knows you better than yourself – the time has come to trust yourself. Affirmations can be a big help in alleviating your fears and building that trust. Go to your bathroom mirror and look yourself in the eye. Encourage yourself like you would encourage your best friend. Remind yourself of how capable you are, all the things you’ve already accomplished, and all the tools you have in place to help yourself achieve this goal.
You may be your own worst enemy, but you have the power to be your own best friend. Take advantage of that and go for it! The popular adage may be old but it is usually very true: You have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Lauren Berger is a Registered Social Worker providing counselling and psychotherapy at IHI. Check her out at www.laurenberger.ca, drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBergerMSW, or sneak a peek at her Instagram: laurenberger_msw.