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Trusting Yourself to Make Decisions Instead of Always Seeking Advice

Trust Yourself

“To thine own self be true.” ~William Shakespeare

No one knows the real you but you. Sometimes it is true that we don’t know ourselves. That’s because we have lost ourselves, or maybe because we never knew ourselves to begin with.

I grew up a long time ago on a hill on Bentley road in Puyallup, Washington. I was a very quiet, shy, and reserved little girl. Today, I am a forty-two-year-old woman. I am still introverted, but I am learning to be more assertive.

As a co-dependent people pleaser, I grew up with a lot of self-doubt and a lot of shame. I didn’t have a sense of self at all. I was like a leaf that the wind blows away, and I needed to be more of a tree with deep roots, grounded and rooted in love.

Growing up, I received a lot of conflicting and negative messages from my family, such as you are loved but you are flawed. I was hungry for the approval of others.

I learned not to trust my ability to make a good decision because the people in my life did not validate my view of reality. My brother used to tease me a lot. I tried speaking up about the mistreatment, but my parents did not take my complaints seriously.

They did little to address the situation because of their high levels of shame. It just got swept under the rug, and so I got the message that it wouldn’t matter if I spoke up, because those in authority would not protect me.

It took me a long time to see that I could have a different opinion than other people and still be loved and accepted.

When I did make a decision, I got the impression that people are in your life to change your mind, and guilt and shame were good tactics to achieve that.

This has made it extremely difficult for me to make and stick to decisions.

If you think you aren’t qualified to make a good choice then you’re going to be afraid to make any choice.

I have often run around asking multiple people, “What should I do? What should I do?” I invited them to give me input. But then I was angry with them for “telling me what to do.”

What I was really telling myself is that my opinion didn’t matter. I valued other people’s opinions far above my own. I disowned myself. Somewhere in my mind I thought that they must have known better. After all, what in the world could I know? I grew up believing that if you think you know something then you are very proud.

But there is no shame in speaking from a place of truth.

You do know something and that is not a bad thing. In fact, you probably know more than you think you know. But thinking you don’t know anything keeps you from taking the good advice you would give yourself. And it keeps you dependent on other people.

People seem to lose respect for people who are wishy-washy and can’t make their own decisions. In other words, people who can’t think for themselves are also people who don’t respect themselves because they don’t respect their own opinions.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up and take personal responsibility for your life and actually “own” your decisions.

I have let others play the scapegoat by allowing them to be my decision makers. For example, because of my lack of assertiveness in my marriage, I was handing over my brain and responsibilities to my husband.

I think it was because of fear but also laziness on my part. But no one can really be happy this way. You won’t be happy, and the other people won’t be either when they hear you blame them for your choices.

Ask for advice if you feel you need it, but take it with a grain of salt. In the end, you are the one who needs to live with your decision. The gurus won’t be the one with the consequences of your choice.

Don’t be so afraid of making mistakes. Fear of the choice being “bad” keeps you stuck. Accept that you are human. As far as I know, all humans make mistakes. The only ones that won’t give you grace are the ones that have no grace for themselves. So lighten up a bit.

I know some truths that I need to stop denying and start accepting. That unsettled feeling in my gut is there for a reason.

It’s time for me to stop sweeping things under the rug and start having the courage to speak up. I need to tell myself that I am relevant and my opinions matter, and that by standing my ground I can be a positive force for change, because I have something to say that someone out there may need to hear.

I have come to the conclusion that I need to trust my best judgment, stick to my decision, follow through, and let the cards fall where they may.

I think the important thing to realize is that life has a way of working out. Even if we make the worst possible choice, we still have the freedom to make adjustments.

So let yourself try what feels right for you, and don’t worry about making the “wrong” decision. One of the best things I have learned is that the world is a place to explore, and it will embrace you if you embrace it.

Photo by Alice Popkorn

About Esther Bautista

Esther Bautista is an author of six books: Mere Words, Hollywood Hearts, Into My Heart, The Diminishment of Purpose, The Spiritual HSP, and Little Miss Bianca Blue Wanted to Learn to Tie Her Shoes. She lives in California with her husband and two children. Her youngest child was recently diagnosed with Champ 1 gene mutation.

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  • “One of the best things I have learned is that the world is a place to explore, and it will embrace you if you embrace it” – This was great ending 🙂 Good post!

  • Great*, good is tiny word 😀

  • This is pure beauty Esther. When I would be in the midst of a failure I would always turn to others and ask for help and advice. To myself I would wish someone would just make a decision for me. Partly, because it would be so much easier and because if it didn’t work I could point a finger. Later during one of my life’s biggest failures to date I realized that seeking advice and decisions outside of yourself isn’t where the growth occurs. Growth occurs from seeking guidance from within. Listening to your heart and trusting your own process of fixing or repairing. This is a wonderful post Esther. Thanks so much for sharing. #UnlessYouCare

  • I absolutely love the take on this post – to trust myself and not always seek outwards. Thank you : )

  • krutika

    nicely written Esther!! actually u should not always depend on others approval you should approve that you like that you want to do. 🙂

  • Peace Within

    Hi Esther, I Iove your advice. I need to be assertive too. Sometimes I am passive, sometimes I am aggressive. I don’t mean to be either. I want to be the healthy in between. It is a great feeling to be honest with yourself and real with yourself. No one else can do that for you. That is the only way that you can change or it is living in denial. These are things that I recently realized and I feel really good. I have never felt better.

  • Mel

    Thank you for this post! I am notorious for my indecisiveness… I even asked my cleaning lady this morning in a language I barely speak about whether I was making the right choice to move back to my home state. Whether it’s what I eat, or what to do with my life, I have never given myself the freedom to believe my opinion matters. Thank you for showing me that I do have a voice and I can trust it.

  • Summer Star Howard

    Yes! Beautiful insight, Esther. The most powerful thing is knowing that you have options…once you make a decision it can be adjusted. I think the pain of indecision is caused a lot by (totally normal) rigid thinking it has to be x or y.

  • Talya Price

    We all need to trust ourselves more. We are the only ones who know what is best for ourselves. Be certain of what you want in life and you will get it. Trust yourself. Thank you for this post.

  • Benign

    Love the article! Great advice for not-so-assertive people!

  • I didn’t even realize I was leaning on other people to make decisions for a long time. For me, it was a struggle with uncertainty and the fear related to it. If I had a few people supporting my decision, it seemed less likely to have undesirable consequences. However, I’ve come to realize the best things come from trusting your gut and I focus more on accepting the unknown.

  • ONE

    Nice!!!

  • Ellie

    Thank you, Esther for sharing your story (it could’ve been mine!) and for offering words of encouragement for moving beyond! Reading this validated my feelings of insecurity and lack of self assurance that I’ve felt my whole life. It’s been almost a year since I’ve learned to start to make decisions on my own and listen to my heart and give myself a voice (I’m 37). Loving support to you to continue your healing journey and path of empowerment. 🙂

  • lv2terp

    Beautiful message, and insight!!! Loved it! 🙂 This is GREAT! “Ask for advice if you feel you need it, but take it with a grain
    of salt. In the end, you are the one who needs to live with your
    decision. The gurus won’t be the one with the consequences of your
    choice.” YES! 🙂 and I LOVE this! “I think the important thing to realize is that life has a way of working
    out. Even if we make the worse possible choice, we still have the
    freedom to go back and make adjustments.” YES!!!

  • owing it

    Trusting your own voice is great and all as long as you are willing to accept responsibility for the choices you make. Don’t claim you want agency and then blame everyone else when things go wrong. Own your choices even when (especially when) things blow up. Otherwise, you are cultivating narcissism.

  • “It takes courage to accept responsibility and actually own your decisions” – I think you might have hit on the the biggest single reason that explains the chasm (and all it implies) between the boring and the interesting, the many and the few, the happy and the unhappy, the dreamers and the dream-less.

    If you have been conceived in some way – most of us have – then step 1: accepting the gift of life, didn’t take too much courage, but step 2: to be grateful for what you’ve been given and from it create your own life requires more courage than most people can muster in a lifetime. Not just because of the courage required to dream, but because making your dream happen invariably leads to the dreaded word – “work.” When the gutless realize the copious amount of effort, work, constancy and time required to actually DO IT, they throw out the dream and join the blame-game instead.

    Whatever the story of our past and our lives, the instant we accept responsibility for it, the story changes, doesn’t it?

  • T

    Thank you Esther for your post. Indecision is crippling, have been crippled by it for a long time. Fear of failure and the thought that ‘what do you know’ to myself, has often been the reason for many a missed opportunity. I was so used to having decisions made for me, or making decisions out of sheer frustration often the wrong ones, the ‘I don’t know what I want’ has been stuck in my head like a bad tune. I imagined that people who make decisions always are so sure and know what they want. But lately am finding out, it’s not so much much about being 100% sure, but more about having trust in yourself and doing things because it feels right or feels good. Nothing is permanent… now that’s something I’m still coming in grips with. Thanks for your post, it is valuable to know there are other’s who are in the same boat, and motivating to try a new approach.

  • Ed

    Great article. It remembers me of that 2013 when my advisors and a business partner encourage me to go bankruptcy with my business. I cried that night for a few hours with my wife and my 7 years daugther. At that moment I could not handle going under with my 10 years business but what take me down was how I will keep my family and debts. My decision was to stop crying, accept bankruptcy as a possibility and focus day by day on business survival. I fire my advisors and start following my gut. Today bankruptcy is still as a probable outcome but it has been 6 months and business is still in operations. I have 3 new big customers and a promising future.

  • Sarah Jean

    You worded this prefectly. I could totally relate and understand..thank for sharing 🙂

  • Go4it

    Many of us grew up without self-esteem. Learning to believe in yourself and to be confident in your choices is hard. But it is never too late to ” increase confidence or learn to trust yourself. And the more you work at it, the easier it becomes. You can think for yourself and make your own decisions. You can be wrong but still feel good about yourself or about what you were trying to accomplish. Thank you for posting such an inspirational article. The more positive ideas and influences we encounter and share, the better world we make.

  • Patsie Smith

    Thanks for this article Esther. Can so totally relate with quite a lot as my childhood had not laid the foundation for any self-worth, as such grew up into a dysfunctional teenager, then adult. I was exactly the same in my marriage, ex-marriage now.Totally the passive partner who did not know who I was let alone what I needed, wanted or had any opinion. As I matured in spirit and came to full self-realization of my true self, wholeness is now my only reality. I wish for the same for you, in your journey of courage to embrace life as a constant learning and unfolding toward higher grounds and revelation of the true, fully worthwhile, intelligent and beautiful being that you are. Blessings and Light to you xo

  • Sheryl

    I truly appreciate your post. You never know how much you need to hear something at times until it smacks you in the face. The first half of your post was similar to my life. Except mine was our families controlling religion. Though I walked away; the control still plagues me to this day some 35 years later. Every thought was filtered through a belief / value system. Therefore, I find myself asking others for their opinions as I don’t trust myself. Yet, my gut tells me mine is right. I must learn to trust myself.

  • latebloomer

    Thank you Nikola Gjakovski. Sorry for my delayed response was embracing the world on my first cruise. Lol.

  • latebloomer

    Mel, I am glad these thoughts helped you!

  • latebloomer

    Thank you Peace Within. Looks like we are both growing in this area!

  • latebloomer

    Thank you Patsie Smith for your lovely comments. I am a late bloomer but maybe in some ways this is more fun. It’s all part of our journey!

  • latebloomer

    Thank you Esther! It’s been percolating in me a long time. I wrote a longer version in a book format essay. I appreciate getting feedback on my writing so much! It helps become a better writer.

  • latebloomer

    Eric, thank you for your comments. I apologize to everyone here for being so late to respond as I have been on vacation! Hearing you all is very validating because we relate to each other. It’s wonderful! I met this 80 year old woman on the cruise who talked of a 7 year period of not living life and I said yes I have been doing that too! Embracing life and not shrinking back is my goal. Mistakes will come but it’s okay! We move on and grow.

  • latebloomer

    Sheryl, I understand! Maybe the voice is like mine that was so negative, critical, and judgemental of everything you do? Try to be an observer of yourself and be non-judgemental and give grace to yourself. That has helped me a lot. I learned how mean I have been to myself! Let yourself feel! Accept yourself unconditionally and think of yourself as a friend and treat that friend well! 🙂

  • latebloomer

    Go4it, I agree! I am glad to find this article resonating with so many people.

  • latebloomer

    Sara, you are welcome!

  • latebloomer

    Ed, that is wonderful! I wish the best for you and your family and business!

  • latebloomer

    T, that is such a great point of not being 100% sure but trusting yourself to make the best decision! That is what I needed to let go of…needing to be perfect! 🙂

  • latebloomer

    Yes, this is a power position! We make peace with the past, embrace the present and rejoice in the future!

  • latebloomer

    Outcomes are learning opportunities. It’s not hard to accept responsibility for choices that turn out well but growth happens when we make the not so good choices and take responsibility for those too! I’m learning not a bad thing.

  • latebloomer

    Yes, I agree! If I can’t take responsibility then I won’t make that choice. I need to own my decisions. That is such a powerful place. 🙂

  • latebloomer

    Your welcome Ellie! Never too late to start. Best wishes.

  • latebloomer

    Yes, that has been a revelation to me too. It’s hard to put into words sometimes. But for me unspoken disapproval swayed me but to make our own choices we must worry what others think!

  • latebloomer

    *not worry!!!

  • latebloomer

    Thank you Tayla.

  • latebloomer

    Yes, Summer. I agree too.

  • latebloomer

    Amen!

  • Ed

    Thank you! I wish you well too.

  • Olivia

    awesome. i needed this 🙂

  • niu123

    I wish I had this advice six years ago, before making a fear based (non)decision to not pursue why I rely liked in college, not travel, and eventually ended up getting married and having kids way earlier than I wanted to. I wanted to please others, to make other people happy and as a result now find myself frequently feeling bitter and unable to engage myself in the day to day, in an effort to separate myself from the decisions i made. I guess what makes me feel worse is that when i look back, the decisions i made based on gut feeling were often the right ones, and when i ignored that sense of intuition, i ended up burning myself. I’m now trying to figure out how to begin living my life again on my own terms, rather than feeling tied down and resentful. I don’t know if that means separating from the family I’ve started (hard with kids), but at least I’m finally in a position and state of mind to evaluate what I want and how I want to live. I do feel grateful, at least I’m aware enough of myself to analyze the source of my unhappiness. And thankfully I’m still relatively young. But I’m learning to stop listening to the critical voice of others and follow my own inner guidance.

  • Thank you for that! It’s only recently that I’ve learned to “trust myself” and realize that my decisions are valid, because in the end it’s about what I create for myself. No more, blame, no more being wishy-washy, and all advice can be a means to making a thought-out decision, but shouldn’t dictate what I decide for myself in the end. Thank you for sharing and reminding us all to see value in our opinions!

  • Spencer Hedges

    This was amazing!! I feel the exact same way! Asking people for insight and then getting angry because they are telling me what to do!! Finally I can connect!!

  • Anne

    I needed this so so so badly. I’ve always been a people pleaser and my parents made decisions for me. I’ve had difficult relationships because I can’t make decisions on my own or think for myself. That is in part my own fault for not trusting myself to make the right decisions. Reached out to my ex partner and we had the best conversations we have EVER had. Thank you. I am feeling so much lighter. Will read over and over again 🙂

  • Tamsyn

    Thanks for the post, just what i needed to hear.

  • Anuj

    This was one of the best posts I have ever read on trusting your decision and not validating with others. When we use our brain or heart to make a decision even if its wrong we can at least realize and take actions if needed but if we use other’s opinion as our decision we would be left completely in a No man’s land.

  • Mike

    Thanks but still looking for answers. You’re article didn’t describe how to listen to your gut, I can’t tell which is which in my case, gut or mind or a combo or who knows. Then there’s the fear asoect , what if what you really want to do terrifies you, how do you get over that? And how do you know that’s your gut and not your mind tricking you to do something you don’t want to? Why do I feel guilty or stupid after a Facebook post, but at the time thought it was right? Sorry for all the questions but these were the kinds of things I was looking for your article.

  • Mike

    So how do you trust yourself?

  • GodsChick

    This is late bloomer using alternate account since I was locked out of the other one. Here is my response:

    If you are asking in order to know how to make a decision here are some things to keep in mind. #1 It is your decision and so you must own the outcome good or bad. No one can make it for you. #2 Gather information and input from others but you are not obligated to act purely on what they say. Many counselors are good to get outside perspective. There is no 100% step by step formula on how to make a good decision AKA: one that makes your life beautiful and wonderful and without troubles. Please let me know if this is not clear to you and I will try to clarify. I don’t want you to misunderstand because this is really important. From my experience I made decisions based on others because I thought they knew better than I did. And I did not take responsibility for that decision, because in the back of my mind my out was, “Well, the expert told me so.” And I would blame my choices on them. It takes practice to trust yourself, go with your gut, or intuition. Make an informed choice. Don’t go based on emotion alone or logic alone.

  • GodsChick

    I am sorry I didn’t answer all your questions in the article. All I can say is that it takes practice and experience to know which is which. Which unfortunately means failing and making a lot of mistakes at time. But the point is to accept and love yourself inspite of this. And trust that is will be okay regardless. I did not mean to imply advice is bad. You can listen to advice but in the end the choice is yours and yours alone. It seems as if you want to do something but are so afraid of not getting the outcome you desire.

  • GodsChick

    I am sorry. I can relate to what you are saying. I too am on the journey to make decisions based out of love and not fear. I understand how terrible the feelings of resentment can be once you have “awakened” to life and that you haven’t been making the choices you really wanted to make. It is frustrating! But awareness is the beginning. Try taking care of yourself with love. You can’t change other, but you can change yourself and view on life.

  • Kate

    As Jungian analyst and author of “Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life”, Dr. James Hollis has said:

    “In the end, life is very simple. If you do what is wrong for you, it will be wrong for you; if you do what is right for you, it will be right for you. A child knows this, an animal as well, and we don’t. Why? I suspect this disconnect arises out of our existential vulnerability in our formative years. We are tiny, powerless, at the mercy of our many environments, and obliged to adapt.

    While those adaptations have allowed this genetic variant to survive a perilous world, at least up until now, the same adaptations to the outer may come at the cost of a relationship to the inner. The problem may be summarized simply as the conflict between natural truth seeking to express itself versus contextual authority, received authority, and adaptive authority. The greater the adaptation, the greater the inner division.

    So, for those who are put off by the Jungian arcana, and do not have the resources of sustained conversation with a thoughtful mentor, I would offer this idea: you are here to be yourself, not through selfish injury to others, but in humble service to that possible person the gods intended through your incarnation. You are equipped with powerful guidance and corrective systems: your feelings, your energies, your enthusiasms, your intuitions, your “gut.” This you already have, but it will be up to you to find the courage, and the persistence, to live this out, as best you can, in a world that may or may not cooperate.

    One of the many messages of mortality is that we seemingly get only one shot at this, that choices matter, and that we are called to show up as our own flawed, clunky, awkward selves, but as ourselves. That is both our summons and our gift to others.”

  • himanshu

    You are soooooo good madam…. Im himanshu rodiwal from India….. This post really help me ….. Thank you guruji 🙂

  • Inder

    Please help me out, I took a decision of Studing abroad.I was frustrated with my past and current situation. I have cousins abroad.I have tried everything i could to achieve things i want but in vain.Now i have to decide further. I had 2-3 options.I decided then after lot of thinking.I was happy before applying for the program.But after i got my visa,some negative thoughts started coming in my mind and it really made me depressed for 4-5 days.But i came out with that and lost my exitement and interest.My mind is not accepting the change and challenge.But i always tries to keep me motivated.My brother is also abroad.He and my cousins were saying me earlier also to move to Canada for better future.I am serious guy and too kind and gentle.I am going abroad after 2 months as i have already my ticket.But i don’t know if i took the right decision or not or if my mind is ready for change.Please give some advice

  • Gustavo Woltmann

    Thank you for this article!! This was just the message I wanted to get today.

    – gustvo woltmann

  • Jesus Arellano

    This post relates to me so much, but it’s not so much that I seek the opinions of others but I fear my of going forth with my decisions. Right now I’m in a stuck between choosing to do what I need to do and what my family thinks I should do, I’m 20 yrs old. I’ve been working with a financial services company for some time as self employed, but haven’t been able to make much income because of fear and not pulling through with my decisions. My mom is trying to force me to work at other places rather than focus on my career that I know can get us through. In the beginning I was looking for their support in my decisions, but my mentor in the company helped me understand that I need to do things on my own. I live with my mom but I as long as I’m under her household I can’t fully motivate myself to do what I need to do because I’m forced to take care of her and her financial problems rather than my own. I really to just want tell her that I want to focus on my decisions but with our financial situation it’s practically impossible for her to understand.

  • m tezasvi

    thank you mam..this article is very very very helpful…..I have not trusted my own decision because of which I faced …..my own friends tried to sow seeds of self doubt wthin me for their own selfish reasons..I later on understood,..there is no person who can truly be faithful then your own soul……..

  • OCD

    I think this post may be helpful.it reminds me of what i had been thought.i felt like i am a failure.maybe this is fate.i wish i can change or control my destiny.i always can’t make wise decision despite family and friend advising me.i had the feeling that they are right but i am just too obstinate to listen to them.in the end it was a dead end……i was so devastating.fortunately my mum willing to help me by sending me to private school althought school fee were costly.it was my only opportunity to get up again and work hard.i did quite well i could see hope.i now graduated and move on to higher institution.but it was a time to make a choice on which institution to go to.my mum gives me advice.i sense that she was giving me good advice but i just too obstinate to listen to her despite the lesson that i learnt.why i always can’t do things well?i don’t want to upset my mum.i don’t want continue to be stupid and useless!

  • GodsChick

    Sometimes the resistance we feel can be trying to get our attention. It helps to be gentle with ourselves.