Photo Credit: Giulia Bertelli,

Written by Zette Harbour
August 19, 2020

Why would you trust me?

You see, trusting someone requires one essential ingredient that no one tells you about.

For instance, you’ve probably heard that trust requires getting to know someone. Then, starting to like them. And finally, feeling trust toward them.

There’s one really big thing missing from this story. You’ll only be capable of trusting another person if you first trust yourself.

Have you ever thought about how much you trust yourself? Does it seem strange to ask that question?

It took me many decades of confusion, pain, frustration, and unhappiness to finally discover that the very core of my troubles was a deep, abiding, lack of trust in myself. 

It wasn’t obvious to me or anyone who knew me. If you’d asked those close to me, they’d never have described me as someone who didn’t trust themselves.

They’d have told you that I was a positive thinker, someone with an optimistic, if often, unrealistic view of life and people. They’d have said that I was easygoing, quick to smile, and slow to anger. 

The picture would’ve been rounded out with them saying I was a hard worker and a good friend to have, especially in difficult times.

For about the first 25 years, I don’t think anyone would’ve told you that I had a problem. The truth was, I was carrying around a secret that was so well hidden that I didn’t even know to look for it, let alone where to find it. 

Up until the time I discovered this secret, it was pretty easy for me to look around and find lots of reasons for why my life was unsatisfying. There were plenty of people and events I could point to that could explain why I wrestled daily with sadness, a sense of futility, and a fear that I was worthless.

And those people and events were (and still are) real. Bad shit did happen to me and those closest to me, but that wasn’t the real reason for my hidden-in-plain-sight affliction.

I’m sharing my story because I know that many of you have a similar wound and you’ve given it all you can to make the best of life . . . to get by . . . to find the energy to get out of bed and be the best person you can–despite what’s behind you.

It’s going to be hard to believe. You’re going to tell me that it can’t be possible because this and that person really did mistreat you or that loss really did happen. 

And you’re going to want to keep hold with all you’ve got to the story, that it’s really all about the “what’s out there.”

I’m here to tell you that your pain isn’t about what happened to you and it’s not about who harmed you. 

I know, I know. That just doesn’t sound right.

It’s actually really hard for me to say this because I know what you’ve endured and how you’ve done the very best you could with the life you have.

You’re amazing. And when I say that, you don’t really believe me, do you?

That’s the core of the problem.

You don’t trust yourself. 

And since we know that in order to trust someone, we need to know and like them, I’m here to tell you that you don’t know or actually like yourself either.

This is my story, too.

To begin with, I didn’t really know myself. I had a collection of ideas or stories about myself. They came into being to help me make sense of my life.

These stories helped me to justify my actions or inactions. They told me that my unhappiness wasn’t my fault and helped me to navigate a world of adults who didn’t know any better.

Ironically, they were created to make me feel better about myself, but we always know when someone (including ourselves) is lying.

And so, the itch to be at home in my own skin went unscratched.

Until I learned that all of those stories . . . About who I believed myself to be, who the villains and the heroes in my life were, what was my fault and what wasn’t, those stories were of my own making.

And since I’d created them, I alone had the power to change them.

The trick was that I’d first have to see them for what they were.

Once upon a time, they were helpful life preservers that my immature mind created in the absence of loving, supportive adults. Over time, they became waterlogged and heavy. They threatened to drag me under, especially when life became stormy. And, if you wait long enough, they really can become as heavy as an anchor and pull you to the bottom. 

You’ve heard the stories of people who hit rock bottom. They didn’t learn the truth about their stories until it was too late to avoid the most painful of wake up calls.

I’m sharing this because maybe you aren’t destined to hit rock bottom. You’re someone who has created good in the world, in your family, your work, and your community. 

You probably identify with the archetype of the wounded healer and would describe yourself as an empath. You have strong intuition and can be a source of wisdom and compassion for others. You just struggle to be that for yourself.

I want you to know that you don’t have to miss out on that anymore. No matter what that early betrayal was, no matter what your stories are that have justified not knowing, liking, and trusting yourself. No matter how long you’ve carried this around, you can become free and know what it’s like to be comfortable in your own skin and to be able to treat yourself with care and compassion.

You will . . .

Know . . .

Like . . .

. . . and trust yourself.

And that’ll make all the difference.

If you’d like to chat, reach out at and set up a virtual coffee date.

Photo Credit: Giulia Bertelli,