Do you have trust issues? Many folks do, as a result of childhood trauma, adult betrayal, a series of heartbreaks, or any number of painful experiences. For whatever reason, believing in others is an issue for many people.
But what about believing in yourself? Trusting yourself is the most important trust of all. As a midlife woman of 62, I would think I’d have this self-trust stuff down pat by now. If nothing else, my track record of resilience and perseverance should remind me that, in the end, I usually know what to do to eventually make things happen to my benefit. It may not be painless or quick or smooth — in fact, it’s often just the opposite — but history has shown that my decision-making usually gets me to a place that’s right for me. I think many of us, when we look back on things, can say the same.
So why, then, do we continue to not trust ourselves? To doubt our own competency…question our own actions…mistrust our own decisions?
This is something I’ve struggled with over the last month or so, as the clock ticks down on my fall move to Portugal. I wrote here about my bad mood when plans were not going my way last month.
I started working on all the pieces of my D7 Residency Visa application back in January. Because I’d spent a month in Sesimbra, Portugal, after I retired at 59, I secured a six-month VRBO flat on the ocean at the beginning of this year for the proof of accommodation required for my visa application. Before this year, expats could use short-term vacation rentals or hotel reservations as acceptable proof of accommodation when applying for the D7 visa. But then I found out now you need a one-year, nonrefundable lease that is registered with the Portuguese Tax Authority, before you even submit your application. I had to give up my beautiful Sesimbra sea view and continue searching for an oceanfront property that would do a long-term lease. This is nearly impossible to find because short-term vacation rentals on the ocean are so lucrative.
After expanding my search far beyond Sesimbra, I finally found several oceanfront properties with annual leases…but I lost every one of them to other bidders. I questioned my strategies, second-guessed my timing, and criticized my decisions. What were you thinking, Natalie? You can’t do this. You screwed up the timing. Just give it up, girl. Eventually, I did get my mood under control by reminding myself that these are problems I’m lucky to have. I still didn’t entirely trust my decisions, though. I almost decided to scrap my dream of getting a residency visa in favor of just being an international nomad moving from country to country every 90 days.
And then I got an email stating that one of the properties I’d wanted was back on the market. After weeks of back and forth, the lease was finalized and signed last week, while I was visiting family in Pennsylvania. I now have the condo I wanted overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on Portugal’s Silver Coast, about an hour north of Lisbon. It has three bedrooms and four bathrooms, and is cheaper than a small one-bedroom unit overlooking a lake in Cleveland. I did my research, stuck to my guns, and ultimately got what I hoped for, though not in my first-choice location of Sesimbra. I should have trusted myself. Even if I hadn’t gotten this property, I should have believed in my ability to figure something out. We all can figure something out — a Plan B, a pivot, a redo, something — if we can just shut up the negative self-chatter and remember to trust the one person who matters most.
This post was scheduled to be another article in the monthly Midlife Expat Learning series. June was supposed to cover healthcare in Portugal. But I came across some new information and haven’t yet been able to verify it, so I’ll wait to publish until I can confirm the facts. Trust myself? Yes. Trust the Internet? Not so much.
What about you? Do you always trust yourself? Do you think it’s possible to trust other people when you don’t have self-trust?
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