Yes, you can learn to trust yourself. It is common for victims of abuse to lose trust in their own judgment and lack confidence when making decisions. You can gain the confidence you need to trust yourself. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “There is a solution to even the deepest hopelessness and discouragement you might feel. This hope is found in the transformative power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the Savior’s redemptive power to heal us of our soul-sickness” (“Believe, Love, Do,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 47).
Why it may be hard to trust your decision making
Offenders often do or say things that are not true or that are unfair in order to hurt victims and get them to do what they want. This is called manipulation or grooming. As the offender tried to gain your trust, you likely believed or trusted him or her. You may look back and believe you could have done more to stop the abuse and protect yourself, which can increase feelings of self-doubt. This may have led you to doubt your own judgment and ability to make choices.
You may not trust your ability to make decisions about simple daily tasks. This distrust can extend to larger decisions such as choices about relationships or employment. This can be discouraging, and you may feel hopeless about ever being able to trust yourself again.
Building Confidence in Yourself Again
You can begin to build trust in yourself by taking small and simple steps. In the scriptures we read, “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).
You can start to regain your ability to trust yourself by making simple decisions. Take, for example, choosing something to order at a restaurant. You can make that decision and trust that it is an acceptable decision. Stand by your decision and remind yourself that there is no right or wrong answer, even if it doesn’t turn out as you expected.
Acknowledge your efforts in making decisions and being accountable. As you develop the ability to make small decisions, you will also be able to make more meaningful decisions. Notice your feelings. As you do, you will become more confident.
You may want to think about your decisions and the possible outcomes. Having the support of a trusted friend can help you in this process. He or she can help you determine which decisions don’t really matter and which are more important. A friend can also provide validation that it is OK to make a decision that you want to make and that you can trust yourself.
As you build trust in yourself, you can learn the following:
- You can trust your impressions.
- You can receive your own revelation and inspiration.
- Your observations can be accurate and true.
- Your thoughts and beliefs matter.
- Others’ thoughts and feelings are not more important than yours.
Gaining confidence in yourself can take time. That is normal. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught, “Be ye therefore perfect —eventually” (“Be Ye Therefore Perfect —Eventually,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 40–42). The Savior’s love means that even when we make mistakes, we can learn from them and continue the work of building confidence and trust.
Additionally, we are blessed with the help of the Holy Ghost, which helps us distinguish between right and wrong. “As members of the Church, we may experience the companionship of the Holy Ghost continually. … The Holy Ghost provides personal revelation to help us make major life decisions” (Robert D. Hales, “The Holy Ghost,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 105). Heavenly Father and the Savior want us to utilize the gift of the Holy Ghost in our lives. Building and strengthening trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can increase your confidence to seek the influence of the Holy Ghost.