The Role of Self-Reflection in Building Self-Trust


If you have watched the 2015 movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, did your jaw drop when Katniss Everdeen shot the arrow at President Coin’s heart instead of President Snow?

Believe it or not, this specific scene could give us an insight into self-reflection and its role in building one’s self-trust. Keep scrolling to learn more about self-reflection on personal development, particularly its role in self-trust. 

What we can learn from Katniss 

Here is a short overview for readers who have not watched or read the Hunger Games saga (spoilers ahead!). 

Katniss is the protagonist of the series, played by Jennifer Lawrence. She has become the symbol of hope and rebellion against the Capitol under the oppressive regime of President Snow (Donald Sutherland). At the end of the series, President Coin, the leader of the rebellion, played by Julianne Moore, tasked Katniss to publicly execute President Snow as a symbolic gesture of the rebellion’s victory. 

Leading up to this scene, Katniss has already harbored doubts about Coin’s motives. She’s witnessed the ruthless tactics employed by Coin, including the bombing of innocent civilians to frame Snow. This leads her to self-reflect on her decision by weighing in her obligation to rebel and her thoughts that Coin would be just another tyrant. 

Her decision to kill Coin illustrates Katniss’ self-trust by allowing her to reflect on what is right and act upon it. This scene teaches the lesson that self-trust is crucial, especially when facing a tough decision. The plot shows that Katniss practiced self-reflection, which allowed her to trust in her judgment. 

As Katniss has shown, it is important for you to engage in self-reflection and to build self-trust. Having self-trust allows you to make decisions, no matter how difficult the choices are. 

What is self-trust

Self-trust, or self-confidence, refers to having the confidence to rely on your abilities, judgment, and decisions. Self-confident individuals tend to be more assertive in their decision-making and take risks.

This is supported by a set of experiments that show how high certainty in decision-making makes self-confident individuals less likely to compromise. On the contrary, individuals with low self-confidence tend to choose the middle option in risky conditions. Because of this, self-trust is crucial for one’s personal development in navigating challenges in life and making choices aligned with one’s values and goals. 

A study also found that self-confidence predicts less loneliness and moderates the effect of an individual’s extraversion to greater happiness. This means that aside from predicting one’s happiness, self-confidence also acts as a variable that modifies the strength of the impact of extraversion on one’s happiness. That being said, self-trust or self-confidence take part in your journey toward happiness.

Building self-trust with self-reflection

To trust in your abilities, judgment, and decisions, you must first be aware of their existence. This self-focused attention and knowledge is referred to as self-awareness. 

One of the ways you could obtain self-awareness is by engaging in self-reflection, which is the process of examining, contemplating, and analyzing your own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This process could be illustrated as putting a mirror in front of you and objectively analyzing what you see and feel, allowing you to understand yourself better. 

In addition, self-reflecting on your past experiences and outcomes would be beneficial in your decision-making process. This would aid you in identifying patterns and biases in your thinking and learning from them. Consequently, it allows you to be more thoughtful and deliberate in making decisions. 

This is supported by a study that shows individuals who employ self-reflection perform better, analyze the problem’s situation quicker, are less susceptible to being thrown off by unforeseeable situations, and are more consistent in their decision-making strategy. 

Self-reflection practices to promote self-trust

You don’t have to be a rebel with a major dilemma to have a self-trust like Katniss did. To promote self-trust, here are some practices of self-reflection that you could incorporate:

Identify your values

A person with self-trust exudes consistency in their behavior based on their values. Values act as an inner compass that guides individuals to make decisions and take actions based on things that truly matter to them. This is why you must identify your values. 

To do so, allocate time to reflect on the type of individual you aspire to become, how you aim to treat others and yourself, and the principles you stand for in life. By embracing your values and dedicating yourself to this ongoing process, you can nurture self-trust and discover contentment in your endeavors.

Set and track personal development goals

To gain clarity and direction, it’s essential to engage in self-reflection on personal development objectives. These goals must also reflect your values to ensure a sense of fulfillment and confidence as you strive toward them. 

You should break down goals into smaller and attainable goals, reflect on the progress toward goal achievement, and celebrate the achievements along the way. Implementing this practice can provide a sense of direction and bolster self-trust through tangible proof of your capabilities and progress.

Identify and challenge negative self-talk and emotions

The process of self-reflection could also include the internal dialogue, which also consists of self-doubt and shame that could undermine a person’s self-trust. Therefore, you need to acknowledge and manage these negative self-talk and emotions. 

Read more: Shame, Resilience, and Mental Health: Breaking the Cycle of Self-Doubt 

This could be done through journaling, in which you could list down the negative thoughts and emotions and the plan to address them. 

Learn from mistakes and challenges

Everyone experiences moments of regrettable mistakes. Nonetheless, it doesn’t imply that one should avoid looking back altogether. 

Reviewing past setbacks is essential for individual development. Through assessing what proved effective and what didn’t, you can acquire invaluable insights into the areas that need improvement. To do so, you could ask yourself reflective questions such as “What lessons can be drawn from this experience?” or “In what ways can I evolve from this circumstance?

Read more: Embracing the Lessons and Benefits of Experiencing Regret 

Learn from the successes

Being optimistic in self-reflection happens when individuals do not solely reflect on their past mistakes but also bat an eye toward their past successes. Reflecting on successful experiences and identifying their contributing factors would allow you to be more self-trusting and optimistic. 

This helps you focus on what is already working and take gradual strides towards the goal. Consequently, it allows you to have a more positive outlook and promotes self-trust in attaining future success.

In conclusion

One could not trust their internal sources without being aware of their existence. 

Self-reflection allows you to obtain knowledge regarding your abilities, judgment, and decisions. As Katniss has previously demonstrated, self-trust arises when individuals confront their doubts, weigh in on the alternatives, and decide the actions that align with their values and knowledge.

To embark on a path toward better personal development and fulfillment in life, embrace self-reflection and continuously strengthen your self-trust.

If you would like to see more resources on trust, check out the Happiness Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Happiness Science Labs today.

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