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More Meaning Builds More Self-Trust

By David Penglase

Before others will trust you, and before you can comfortably trust in others, you need to have earned and maintain your own self-trust.

You can see in the model here that pivoting on the bottom of the pointy end of the inverted triangle of three trusts is Self-trust. The triangle of three trusts is inverted to depict the potential for it to be swaying from side to side… always depending on some stability from self-trust.

If your self-trust is at risk… everything is at risk! This is true for our professional as well as our personal lives.

While most of us would potentially and readily say that we can trust ourselves, most of us also don’t have to search too hard to find examples in our life when we might have let ourselves down a little on the self-trust side.

Maybe it was that extra glass of wine, or not exercising, or poor diet, or not really listening to our partner, or negative thoughts about others, or not meeting a deadline, or not fulfilling a promise. All of these are small examples where our self-trust might have developed a few stress-fractures.

Repeated often enough however, these minor examples of letting ourselves down can become habits and the stress-fractures become compound fractures… consider the real-life and significant problems we have as a nation with obesity, drug and/or alcohol dependencies, and violence against women just to name a few. These are all examples of how issues with self-trust can escalate beyond just impact the ‘self’.

Paradoxically, one way to build more self-trust in our lives is to bring more meaning into our lives, which by definition is about serving a greater good beyond ourselves.

The author of Mans Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl (1985) identified three enduring values that can help us build more meaning in our lives and by doing so, this will help us to build more self-trust.

  • The first is Creative Value. What can you do creatively and/or uniquely to help others? It doesn’t have to be on a grand scale, what matters most is your attitude that you bring to the process.
  • The second is Experiential Value. How mindful are you about what’s going on around you. Think about the environment and the people around you. What’s really going on around you… beyond you?
  • The third is Attitudinal Value. We choose our attitude. This is a lot more than just positive thinking. It is about being more mindfully aware of our attitude to not only ourselves, but even more importantly from a meaning in life or meaning at work perspective, valuing our attitude towards others. Being more intentionally mindful in more moments that matter more often, helps us to make more intentional promises, take more intentional actions and achieve more intentional results.

Working on these three meaning-building values can help give our self-trust a boost.



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