Our ability to be open and vulnerable is one of our greatest gifts. Being vulnerable often requires risk. However, building walls to protect ourselves removes much of the opportunity for a rich and fulfilling life.
A meaningful life requires letting go of the need to control everything. How can you do this? The key is to let go of the idea that you have something to lose.
What fears do you have that limit your willingness to connect?
Fear of abandonment?
Fear of failure?
Fear of rejection?
Fear of making the wrong choice?
Understanding your fears will help you to identify the source of your trust issues so you can work through them and move forward.
Learn to Trust Again
Using the following strategies will help you learn to trust again:
1. Realize that it’s not always about you.
It’s natural to feel slighted and mistreated. You might even feel that you’ve failed in some way. Everyone has issues that negatively affect the way they interact with others. Perhaps the other person is struggling. Avoid overreacting and taking it personally.
If you’re constantly blaming yourself, consider making an effort to raise your self-esteem. Investing time in yourself can be the best investment you’ll ever make.
2. Start small.
Take new relationships slowly and trust a little at a time. Give a little trust and then allow the other person to earn more trust over time. Take care of yourself, but be reasonable. Seek improvement rather than perfection.
3. Learn to trust yourself.
We’re often too quick to remember our mistakes and to forget the great decisions we’ve made in the past. Remember the numerous times you’ve trusted others and been right. Trust yourself to make good decisions.
4. Be trustworthy.
The least trusting people are often the least trustworthy. We expect others to behave in a similar fashion to ourselves. Be someone worthy of trust and you’ll find it easier to trust others. Be the type of partner, friend, coworker, or family member that you’d like to have in your life.
5. Expect to have your trust violated.
People are highly variable. A person can exhibit a wide variety of moods and attitudes. Everyone close to you will hurt you at some point. To expect anything else would be naïve.
Remember the times that you’ve hurt others. Focus on the fact that you’re a good person and probably didn’t mean to cause any pain. The sources of your mistrust were probably of a similar nature. Be willing to forgive and expect forgiveness from others.
6. Learn from the past.
Was it possible to foresee or prevent any past transgressions against you? Did you trust too quickly? Did you ignore any obvious warning signs? Were you too impulsive? What can you learn and apply to the future?
7. Learn to let go.
If you focus on your fears and the negative parts of your past relationships, it will be extremely difficult to have healthy relationships in the future. The past is over. Learn from it and look forward. Avoid allowing regret to taint your present and future.
8. Enhance your communication skills.
Failed expectations lead to feelings of mistrust. Ensure that you’re communicating your needs and expectations clearly. It’s not fair to expect others to read your mind. Avoid making people guess about what’s important to you. Tell them!
All relationships have rough patches from time to time. Relationships with your romantic partner, friends, coworkers, and family members are all susceptible to feelings of mistrust. Many of your acquaintances may let you down. The ability to learn, move on, and trust again is invaluable. Be brave and move forward toward a brighter future.