Reclaiming the Ability to Trust

As a child and into adulthood, I learned to doubt my own ears, eyes, touch, smell, even taste, and the sensations of my own body. Significant people around me kept telling me what I experienced which often were complete lies, a rewrite of what happened, a projection of their own fears and insecurities, with a heavy dose of shaming/blaming weaved into the swirl of spoken words. Using intense emotions wrapped around the words, these individuals used many ways to control, manipulate, and confuse me. These tortured souls thought they owned me. Experiencing someone else’s rage and violence quickly shape-shifting into fake, syrupy “fine,” created persistent self-doubt in the crevices and crannies of my mind and being. These larger-than-life beings must be telling the truth. So, I believed I was the problem, which became the biggest lie of all. I often dissociated from my own body’s wisdom, heart, and being. During my adulthood, I found myself easily manipulated by brash, loud liars, cheats, and slick charmers. I fell for scams of the worst kind, even as I attempted to hold onto bits of my selves and my experiences of the “what happened.” I even persisted in speaking my truths, my experiences which constantly got met with fiery gaslighting.

I observe the world around me today and realize this microcosm of what I continue to overcome happens to look like the macrocosm of interactions between abusers and victims, perpetrators and innocent children, the liars, and the terrified, starry-eyed believers of the lies. Confuse people out of their own internal wisdom and you’ve got folks you can abuse, terrify, manipulate, and oppress for a very long time.

When you lose your ability to think critically, to feel your own gut instincts, your heart, and to sniff out the stink in the room which other people collude to pretend doesn’t exist, you begin to betray your own sense of self-determination, freedom, dignity, and self-respect.

You lose your capacity for discernment-to listen deeper to what is really going on underneath the deceptions and shapeshifting. Reclaiming your ability to trust yourself-to consciously embody your own being and to know what you heard, saw, tasted, felt, smelled, and sensed deep in your belly, in your lungs, in your muscles becomes some of the most lifesaving, life-giving work you will ever do.

Reclaiming your own body and being takes focus, effort, and practice often for a lifetime.

Recently, I learned I could tell people how I wanted to be touched or not touched. For too long I did not know my body was mine-that I could set boundaries for my own body, my own being. I met a woman who loathed when men would touch her long hair without asking permission. I understood her anger. When people think you are an object rather than a human being with feelings, dignity, ideas, perspectives, insights, creativity, and wisdom, those individuals believe they can treat you as a thing. What I know for certain is you and I are multifaceted, complicated, breathing human beings.

Refraining from lying to myself, quieting the mind, and consciously experiencing my body, I continue to practice reclaiming an embodied experience of trust.

I believe the most powerful work anyone of us can do right now is reclaim our own internal GPS, our bodies, dignity, and ability to discern for ourselves what is true and what is deception.

Ending the civil war within yourself and reclaiming a certain grounded, centered alignment with your own body sensations, and direct experiences of life, while constantly challenging your limiting beliefs, and expanding yourSelf behind your thoughts, you can connect with your very essence, your True Self. This peaceful witness Self can respond from a dynamic equilibrium. From this place, you can respond to what’s happening and trust yourself more each day. No longer instigating an internal war on your own terror, you can become curious about why you feel so scared, what thoughts you think that trigger fear, and whether these thoughts are even rational, useful, or worthy of your attention.

May you reclaim or expand the ability to trust yourself and to trust other trustworthy people.


Laura Staley
Laura Staley
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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  1. Great article on Trust being a survivor myself I have had an issue with trust all my life. When the people who are suppowd to protect you and break that trust it is hard to trust. Mostly in personal relationships I air on the side of caution. It is important to gain an amount of that trust back now that I am am adult. It is a life long battle. Thanks fir sharing…

  2. Dear Byron, Thank you so much for the kind, loving, and supportive feedback you have shared here as your words touch my heart deeply. I feel you kindness, the depth of affirmation. While I did not realize Mariah endured similar types of experiences, I’m grateful, relieved to know she, too, chose a very courageous path of healing/transformations to become the beautiful, richly compassionate, tenderhearted, kind to her core human being that she is. In many ways this journey is quite mysterious as I often wonder what deep inside of me guided me through the fires and landed me in the gorgeous mountains. And I am grateful for this life I live. I’m abundancingly grateful to know you and Mariah. Your writing, comments, and encouragement enriches my life more than you may realize. Thank you for being you, my friend.
    With heartfelt gratitude from my heart to yours,

  3. Laura, this a beautiful, insightful essay. Not being the most trusting of souls, I believe it’s because I have indeed learned how to ferret out the “stink in a room,” as you call it. I believe these days, especially, in a world rife with scammers. that it’s smart. and healthy, to be wary. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Thank you so much for your kind feedback and your honest realizations of being wary-because of your own direct experiences. To know when and where and with whom you can forge trust is a skill-a practice. And trusting yourself–invaluable. I appreciate you and your wise and healthy way you are approaching the world right now, Sherry.

  4. Dear Laura: It is always a distinct pleasure to read your heart-felt writing and self-explorations. It always amazes me that such a deeply kind and gentle soul can emerge from such chaos and disruption. You are a precious human being, and it’s a real pleasure to know you.
    Mariah can relate to a lot of what you write here, the ‘deceptions’ and the ‘shape-shifting’ and gaslighting you refer to, and yet she also has emerged like the most beautiful butterfly from the rough, shapeless & formless cocoon. It’s a mystery to me how this happens, but I salute you both. Thank you again for being you.