Why Is Trusting Ourselves So Hard?

Trust is a hard thing to come by, whether it’s trusting another person, or trusting ourselves. It’s hard to trust when we are fearful, when we are full of self-doubt, when we question our every move and decision worrying if it is “right” or not. It’s like a never-ending loop of second-guessing leading to fear leading to doubt.

When did it get so hard to trust ourselves? As adults, it feels like there are so many things that eat away at our confidence. Our problems feel so complicated that we think we can never sort through them, leading to even more fear. But what if the things that make us doubt are not so complicated? What if there is a simple way to replace the doubt with confidence?

There is, of course. Let’s take a page from Susan’s children’s book I Can Handle It! The book has 50 examples of fears that children face and shows them how they can handle anything. Here is Andrew’s story:

I saw two cars hit each other today. I heard someone scream and lots of people ran over to help. When I saw an ambulance coming, I knew that someone was hurt. Now I’m afraid our car will be in an accident and we will get hurt too. But, I can handle it…

There are things I can do to make us safer in our car. I won’t make so much noise. I won’t fight with my brother or grab his snacks out of his hands. And I won’t stick my finger in his ear which I like to do because it bothers him and makes him scream. That way, my parents can pay attention to the other cars instead of yelling at us to be quiet. And I will ALWAYS wear my seatbelt. I feel better now that I have a plan. See, I can handle it!

No Matter What Happens, I Can Handle It!

This is a simplistic way of looking at fear meant to help children learn to cope with things that scare them. But really, we all have the same fears. As adults, our fears may be more complex, but it still comes down to looking at the thing that scares you and making a plan to deal with it. You might not be able to control all aspects of the fearful situation, but you can do something. There are always actions you can take even if that means just letting go and giving in to a higher power.

Susan wrote, “We all seem to go through a similar journey when it comes to developing a sense of confidence within ourselves. And we continue on this journey throughout our lives…which is why adults can learn as much as children when it comes to the ‘I can handle it’ lesson.”

Susan continued, “You know that you don’t like the fact that lack of trust in yourself is stopping you from getting what you want out of life. Knowing this creates a very clear, even laser-like, focus on what needs to be changed. … What matters is that you begin now to develop your trust in yourself, until you reach the point where you will be able to say: Whatever happens to me, given any situation, I can handle it!”

There are myriad reasons why we have trouble trusting ourselves. We’re sure you could think of a number right this minute, but the “why” we don’t trust isn’t as important as changing self-doubt into a feeling of trust. Susan wrote, “Does it really matter where our self-doubts come from? I believe not. It is not my approach to analyze the whys and wherefores of troublesome areas of the mind. It is often impossible to figure out what the actual causes of negative patterns are, and even if we did know, the knowing doesn’t necessarily change them.”

So rather than wasting energy analyzing the root of your negative thinking and wondering why you don’t have trust in yourself, be like Andrew and create a plan to overcome your self-doubt. Action here is far more important than analysis. When you take action to handle it, you are claiming the power you have to decide how you want to move forward and reclaiming trust in yourself.

You are never too young or too old to believe in yourself…
to know that you can act lovingly and powerfully
in any situation that ever confronts you.


  1. I am always grateful to read Susan Jeffers words. Today I am reminded to believe in myself, even in my grief. I lost my husband four years ago and so many firsts and fears since then, but this is a reminder that it does not matter
    About time passing it’s about starting each day with “I got this “ strategy.

  2. My self doubt comes from my daughter telling me that when someone tells her what to do then it’s coercive behaviour. There was an agenda behind this statement of hers.

  3. An everlasting practical truth
    Susan was a Wonderful communicator and teacher. her thoughts and messages resonate

  4. Just what i needed right now. Self confidence and courage. It is very hard to be strong when you have to do something for someone else. This is what I have being trying to do for the past few weeks, to be strong and get on and do what i have to do instead of putting it last and being scared of what the outcome might be.
    Thank you this has helped me be a bit stronger in my thought process.

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