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This is why you're so indecisive, according to a therapist

Therapist Eimear O' Mahony explains that self-trust is key to making strong decisions

Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
June 13, 2024
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If you find yourself agonising over even the smallest decisions, you could be struggling with self-trust, says therapist Eimear O' Mahony.

"The level of trust we have with ourselves determines every thought, feeling and action we experience," she explains. If we're lacking in self-trust, we can struggle to make decisions we feel good about.

"When we don't trust ourselves, we develop patterns of denial, self-betrayal, poor boundaries and self-sabotage," Eimear cautions.

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Eimear O’ Mahony shares her advice for building self-trust

A lack of self-trust

"When we don't have self-trust, we tend to ask everyone for advice instead of making the decision for ourselves, which leads to more inner conflict and feeling stuck," says Eimear. "If we are indecisive, inconsistent and easily influenced by others, this will affect our self-trust further."

Asking others for their opinion before making a decision is something that often comes up in therapy, Eimear explains. "We all know the feeling of opening up to a friend or family member and when they start to give their opinion/advice, we get a feeling in the pit of our stomach. Deep down, we know that their advice is not what we want to do.  

"Ask yourself, 'What would it feel like to make a decision without asking my family, friends, colleagues for advice?' Feeling okay about this is the process of learning to trust yourself."

READ: My mind is constant chaos – here's how I finally calmed it 

Building self-trust

The more we focus on building self-trust, the more we can deal with life’s challenges, Eimear says.

"Set yourself a goal of one small thing you can focus on daily to build self-trust," she recommends. "It can be so small, but over time this will compound, as you prove you can rely on your own decisions and judgement." She adds that constantly setting large goals and failing to meet them makes our self-trust dwindle. 

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A lack of self-trust can lead to indecision

Read on for Eimear's suggestions of small things we can do to build self-trust:

I will go for a 15-minute walk during my lunch break.

I will be in bed by 10pm Monday to Friday.

I’m not drinking alcohol during the week.

I will drink one glass of water when I wake up.

I will go to the gym three times this week.

I won’t engage in gossip about other people.

I will read five pages of my book before I go to sleep.

I will check in with one friend/family member this week.

When my clothes are dry and folded, I will put them into the wardrobe.

When I start cleaning the kitchen countertop, I will finish the area and put the spray and cloth away.

When I get home from holidays, I will empty my suitcase instead of letting it sit there for weeks.

When I am finished in the shower, I will put my clothes into the wash basket.

When I start emptying the dishwasher, I will put everything away.

READ: The one piece of advice that completely transformed my life 

Why will this help?

Completing a task or hitting a goal reaffirms our self-trust because our brains love completion, says Eimear.

"When we complete individual tasks, our brain releases dopamine and gives us a sense of accomplishment, happiness and motivation.

READ: Why wonderment is key for a happier day  

"Dopamine improves our attention and focus, creating a positive feedback loop, resulting in more motivation to complete another task. If we chip away slowly at keeping on top of tasks, it leads to less overwhelm."

This teaches us we can rely on ourselves and the most profound change in self-trust comes when we can rely on ourselves.

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