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More Trust Leads to More Meaning in Your Life

Three ways to overcome mistrust in your life.

Key points

  • The basis of mistrust is fear. By addressing fears, one can discover more meaning in life.
  • Eventually, most people reach a point where they need to trust their own intuitive knowing, rather than rely on others' opinions.
  • Mistrust can begin when one tries to control other people and circumstances.
CCO/ Gerd Altmann/Pixabay
Source: CCO/ Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

The basis of mistrust is fear. We all have fears. When we live in fear, it’s like living in a thick cloud of fog unable to see clearly. But when we lift this cloud, when we address our fears and trust more, we can see more opportunities and discover more meaning in our lives.

Trust Yourself

Trusting yourself is one of the secrets to living a meaningful life. Not everyone has this type of trust. Some look to others for their opinions and approval instead of relying on their own. Some compare themselves to others instead of being proud of their own talents and accomplishments. Some choose the path of others instead of forging their own path, effectively putting more faith in others than in themselves.

But there comes a point in all our lives when we must choose to stop relying on others and surrender to ourselves, to trust in ourselves and in our intuition or sense of “inner knowing.” There comes a time when we have to start to live our lives from the inside out, not from the outside in.

There comes a point when we have to stop listening to the negative voices echoing in our heads, telling us that we might be wrong, that we might not be perfect, and begin to accept who we truly are and believe that we can achieve what we really want in life. (Also, choose to surround yourself with people who uplift you and encourage you to become your best. Limit your time with others who do not.)

All that is good and beautiful in the past is safely preserved in that past. On the other hand, so long as life remains, all guilt and all evil are still "redeemable." . . . This is not the case of a finished film . . . or an already existent film that is merely being unrolled. Rather, the film of this world is just being "shot." Which means nothing more or less than that the future—happily—still remains to be shaped.—Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

There also comes a point in our lives when we have to realize that what happened in the past is over. The only way the past can continue to harm us is if we continue to bring the events of the past into our present day. We must focus on healing our wounds so that it becomes impossible for anyone to trigger a negative response from us related to our past experiences. We must focus on learning from the past so that we do not repeat the same mistakes or patterns, and so that we grow and develop from what we have learned.

Trust Others

When we don’t trust others, be they people in our personal lives or at work, we are, in essence, separating ourselves from them. We are living and working from a place of fear, insecurity, and power, not from a place of trust, love, and meaning.

Mistrust can begin when we expect others to act in accordance with the way we think they should. Trying to control other people and all circumstances is an illusion. People are who they are and they have their own motivations. Events happen the way they happen. Wisdom comes when we realize what we can control and what we can not. By understanding the limits of our power, we will find freedom within.

We cannot choose all the people we interact with. We cannot choose all the circumstances in our life. But we can always choose our attitude and how we respond to them. We have the power to control our own thoughts, fears, and actions.

Trust the World

Trust that the world is actually in harmony and therefore the best way to live is to harmonize yourself with the way the world is actually flowing. Trust that connections will happen naturally, without forcing or manipulating them. Trust that everything happens for a reason and that if you look for the deeper meaning in an event, you will find the lesson you are meant to learn. If you don’t trust, if you don’t look for the deeper meaning, you may miss important connections. It is best to focus not on closing doors through fear, but on opening doors through trust to receive the many possibilities that life has to offer.

Inner serenity and personal fulfillment are natural consequences of trusting yourself and others. Focus on what is essential for you to live a meaningful life. Learn from your suffering but don’t dwell on it —find the lesson and move on. Ultimately, what matters most is the kind of person you are becoming and whether you feel you are living a meaningful life.


Pattakos, Alex and Dundon, Elaine (2015). The OPA! Way: Finding Joy & Meaning in Everyday Life & Work, Dallas, TX: BenBella Books.

Pattakos, Alex and Dundon, Elaine (2017). Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work, 3rd Edition. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

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