Lao Tzu Explains How to Trust (Gain More Trust in Yourself and Others)


We as a single person can't do everything, so it's important to hand over responsibilities. But how are we to know who to entrust these responsibilities to? Before we can trust others, we must first trust in ourselves.

"If you don't trust yourself, how can you trust anyone else?"

- Lao Tzu

Everyone knows how it is that you take on something and are firmly convinced that you will follow through with it, until you realize later that you haven't done it after all. Whether it's because you forgot to do it, or because you shirked it, or for whatever reason, it doesn't matter. We have not fulfilled what we set out to do and thus broken a promise to ourselves. The more often we repeat such behavior, the more we undermine confidence in ourselves.

So, to build confidence in ourselves, we should start by setting the bar lower. We should set ourselves tasks that we are sure we can master. This can be demotivating at first, after all it is not exactly heroic to make your bed every day. But if we can do it day after day, then we have a little bit more confidence in ourselves.

As Lao Tzu said elsewhere a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

The more often we keep the promises we make to ourselves, the more our confidence in ourselves grows. As everywhere in life, there will be difficulties. And these difficulties will never completely disappear. However, one learns over time to better deal with these setbacks. Here it is also important not to be too hard on oneself and to forgive oneself.

Once we have learned to trust ourselves, we can gradually trust others more. On the one hand, this is because we as human beings constantly project our own character traits onto others, and on the other hand, we know that even if the other person abuses our trust, we can repair the damage ourselves.

The fact of constantly projecting our own traits onto others is something that plays a big role not only in the issue of trust. This is also why punctual people have problems with unpunctuality, unfaithful partners with jealousy, dishonest people with honest ones, and so on. We use ourselves as a yardstick for everything we come in contact with because we don't know how else to measure the world. There is no universal solution to how we are supposed to navigate new situations, other than to match the new situation with existing experiences.

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So when we have learned to trust in ourselves - in our own actions and in our own competence - then we can start to hand over tasks with a clear conscience. This handing over of tasks means that we no longer have to worry about everything, because we don't have to take care of everything ourselves. But even if we had to take care of matters ourselves, we could have confidence in our own ability. Because if you don't trust yourself, how can you trust anyone else?


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