Cultivating Self Trust

An article by our partners humhum

I’ve been recently reading Brené Brown’s book Braving the Wilderness, which explores what it means to find and experience true belonging. Brené emphasizes the importance of belonging to ourselves as central to the experience of belonging. This takes courage, and patience and begins by building a sense of self-trust. I love how she breaks down these seven elements of trust, using the acronym BRAVING which she also shares in her most recent book Dare to Lead.


by Brené Brown

Boundaries | You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay, you ask. You’re willing to say no.

Reliability | You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so you don’t over promise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.

Accountability | You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.

Vault | You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.

Integrity | You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.

Nonjudgment | I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.

Generosity | You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.

Original Source 

Because all of life is made up of relationships, and all relationships begin with our relationship to Self, we can nourish this relationship by building trust with ourselves. To build this trust we can examine where we trust ourselves and where we feel less trusting of ourselves, by examining the instances we felt in integrity, and when we did not.



Take a moment to reflect on the last day or so. Call to mind the micro-moments, and interactions in which you felt you showed up with integrity, and those micro-moments in which you feel you did not. 

Make a list

Jot both lists of micro-moments down in your journal adding as much or little details as it feels helpful. Sometimes brevity is sufficient.

Feel into integrity

Evoke one moment within which you felt in integrity. Close your eyes and feel into the body while bringing calling forth that memory. Remember this felt sense, feeling into integrity. Knowing integrity in the body. Be here for as long as it takes to feel an embodied sense of integrity.

Feel into the absence of integrity

Call to mind one moment that you felt out of integrity and feel it in the body. Be here fore as long as it takes to know this embodied experience.


Contemplating Brene’s 7 elements of trust, consider and journal about why you might not have felt in integrity. As you do this, do your best to release judgment and guilt by inviting judging thoughts to relax.


To get right with yourself, override that misalignment by envisioning how you could have shown up with more integrity. Pay attention to your aspired response rather than thoughts of self-criticism or self-judgment— let those go. Bring again to mind those moments where you lost self-trust, and then visualize what acting in integrity would have looked like and felt like. Feel into the body.

Contemplating lightly, “responding in perfect alignment with my spirit and my values would look like this.”

Written reflection

Is there right action that must be taken? Or was coming clean with myself sufficient?

Events to build self trust: