Do you ever worry about trusting yourself? Do you feel like if you let yourself do and eat what you truly want that you’ll get out of control and won’t be able to stop? Do you envision worst-case scenarios and get so scared about what might happen that you don’t even want to take a step in the direction of temptation?
I’ve been in this place multiple times, in relation to food as well as any number of other things. On the food front, I used to think that if I let myself eat sweets, I’d just keep eating them and never stop. The times when I went overboard only reinforced those thoughts.
What I didn’t realize then was that I had problems stopping because I didn’t trust myself. I had convinced myself so well that I would overeat that it seemed like I didn’t have any other option. Plus, by taking an all or nothing approach, I had backed myself into a restrictive corner, so it only made sense that once the door opened, I fled as far as I could to escape that space and grabbed everything I saw on the way. After all, I knew I’d get trapped again in that restrictive place, so I would enjoy my freedom as much as I could.
Except it wasn’t truly freedom, not when I already imagined and expected the negative outcome. True freedom didn’t come until later, when I finally started trusting myself.
This is not an easy transition to make. It’s freeing, yes, but it can also be scary, like learning any new skill where you rely on external support until you’re capable enough to do it yourself. But it may help to remember that this doesn’t mean not having any support, just that you are guided by your own instincts – and sometimes your instincts might be to ask for help.
The other key to this is envisioning a positive outcome. Think of times in your life when you did trust yourself in a scary situation that turned out well – for me, learning how to drive was very frightening, since I had to trust myself not to get in an accident. But I did it. Or perhaps you might imagine what it was like learning to ride a bike, or ski, or start a new job.
If you can remind yourself of how capable and trustworthy you are, you will start to believe it, and then you may find you’re capable of more than you imagined. And that is true freedom.