The Gift Of Trust

I used to have pretty severe trust issues.  I felt like almost daily I was promised something that didn’t materialize.

This left me living in a constant state of uncertainly.  How would my day go?  Would my plans come to fruition?  Could I count on the outcome of today to make future plans?

I just didn’t know.

Sometimes the disappointment was small.  It was just a little something that didn’t happen. Sometimes the disappointment was enormous. It would lead to the loss of weeks or months of anticipation and expectation.

I had no ability to trust that life would turn out as I had planned it. 

When I tell people about my lack of trust, they typically assume that the cause was another person in my life, but they’re wrong.  The reason I had such severe trust issues was that I couldn’t trust myself.

I was an absolute master at making big plans and then never following through.  It could be something as simple as telling myself every morning that I would go to the gym and then never going.  It could be something as complicated as planning out a whole house reorganization project and then giving up somewhere between buying bins and putting things away.

I thought there was something wrong with me. For some reason I just didn’t have enough will power or determination to follow through, but that turned out not to be the problem at all.  I had plenty of will power and determination.  I finished medical school.

What I lacked was self-respect.

I couldn’t trust myself to follow through on my plans because I didn’t love and value myself enough to be there for myself no matter what. I would walk through the fires of hell for my friends, my family, even my patients, but the second it was time to put in real effort toward my own larger goals, I repeatedly let myself down in favor of taking the easier path.

I was perfectly capable of doing the hard work. I just didn’t love myself enough to do it for me.

Learning this was the final secret to losing weight.  It was the final secret to becoming a life coach.  It was the final secret to showing up every day and doing the mental and emotional work it takes to thrive in my career as an emergency medicine physician when so many people around me are feeling hopeless.

I trust myself to show up for myself and do what I said I was going to do no matter what. That is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself.  It took time.  You have to rebuild trust. When I started working on this, I used a bridging thought. I would tell myself that I was BECOMING a person I could trust.  I wasn’t there yet, but I was figuring it out.

This allowed me to transform every time I wanted to give up on my plans to instead have that moment become an opportunity.  You can’t learn a new skill without practice.  I practiced with my eating plan.  I practiced with my daily habits.  I practiced by planning things I knew I wouldn’t want to do in the moment just so I could do them anyway.  I proved to myself over and over that I could be there for me.

Of course, there are times when I don’t do everything.  I’m not perfect (imperfection is another amazing gift I’ve given myself).  The difference now is that when I don’t follow through on something I have the trust in myself to know that it was for a good reason.  I don’t have to doubt myself or beat myself up.

I think of this like a friendship.  Hopefully everyone reading this has someone in their lives they can trust to show up.  You make plans and they’re there.  Now imagine that one day they don’t show up.  Do you write them off and give up on them or do you give them the benefit of the doubt?  When you trust yourself, you can give yourself the benefit of the doubt too.

I think that working to improve my relationship with myself is the biggest gift that working with a coach gave me and I love to work with my clients on this.  If you think you might be interested in learning more, sign up for my free course How To Feel Better On Your Next Shift. If you’re ready to get started, email me at