Trust is something that has become harder and harder to find. We don't trust our government, we question our doctors, we worry about the air we breathe, the water we drink and the foods we eat. We lock our doors at night because we don't trust our neighbors, the people who live down the street or anyone who may be traveling through our area. In this escalating environment of fear and distrust that we live in, our ability to trust each other has also deteriorated. Instead of trusting someone until we are wronged, we unconsciously assume the opposite, that they are guilty until proven innocent.
As we live our lives, there are many things that can create feelings of distrust toward others in our psyches. Growing up in a volatile environment of emotional pain, abuse and neglect can set the stage for distrusting others from our earliest of days. As an adult we may suffer the pain afflicted by others though their put downs, belittling or victimization, where we lose our self esteem and ultimately learn that we cannot believe in ourselves let alone others. Over time, the scars that we carry around from this deep emotional wounding cause us to shut parts of ourselves down, where we are fearful of opening ourselves up to others and only to be hurt yet again.
Trust is very important if we want to have healthy open and caring relationships with others, be they personal, professional or intimate. Trust is not something that comes automatically, but is something that is built through time and repetition. When we do trust, we are willing to be vulnerable. We are willing to let others know who we are on the deepest level of our being and recognize that they will treat us fairly, honestly and will not take advantage of us. With this, we are given the opportunity to drop our guard and show our real selves, our strengths and weaknesses, our problems and concerns as well as our silly and sometimes stupid mistakes all without fear of reproach. When we trust someone, we are also given the opportunity to help create an environment of mutual respect, caring and concern for the others wellbeing and personal growth.
It is when we break the trust within any of our relationships that problems can occur. As I said before, trust is something that develops over time and once broken, trust can be a hard thing to re-establish between two people. Some people think that trust is something that is granted to you or should automatically be present in a relationship regardless of the acts and behaviors of the participants. When we first meet someone and develop a relationship with them, this can be true, however, the reality is, once trust between two people is broken, it is something that needs to be nurtured and rebuilt.
The level at which the trust needs to be re-established in a relationship depends on how severe the precipitating offence was, that is from small, where we are not greatly bothered to severe, where our emotional wellbeing is put at risk. There is a world of difference between distrusting someone who accidentally damages or breaks something of value to you and when a important promise, such as faithfulness is broken. Once our trust is violated, we first have to recover from the emotional stress that the violation has placed upon us. At that time, we can choose to take steps to ensure that a similar offence will not occur or not.
For example, if it bothers you that your spouse flirts with a coworker, ask that he or she keep their relationship professional. If they are unwilling or unable to do so, then it is up to you to determine if you want to reconcile the relationship. Yes, it is up to you, not them to determine if you want to recreate a relationship where your trust has been broken.
When developing trust in a relationship, there are a number of things you can do to help facilitate its recreation. If you are the one who violated another's trust, first of all, be truthful. Don't lie to your friends and loved ones. Once caught in a lie, everything you say and do becomes suspect. After that, follow through on your promises, big and small. This will let your partner know that you are making an effort at keeping your word and that your word can be trusted.
If you are the one who has been violated, establish boundaries. Let your friend or partner know how you feel and what acts or actions will help to rebuild the trust between you. In addition, don't accuse of them of bad behavior or assume everything they say or do is one way or another breaking the promise they made to you. It is essential to give them the chance to show you that they can be trusted. Now if they give you a reason not to believe them, that is again another story.
If you are wondering if you should trust someone or not here is what Tony Schirtzinger has to say about trust. In his article: ?Who Can You Trust?, he evaluates trust by how often an individual breaks their word. If they never or rarely break their word, then they are trustable. If they break their word on a few things, but not everything, then trust them in the areas in which they do keep their word. If on the other hand, if they break their word 50% or more of the time, then this person is probably not trustworthy.
In many situations, the individual, that is the person we question their ability to be truthful isn't intentionally lying to or trying to deceive us. Instead they are lying to themselves in different areas of their lives and as a result, we end up being lied to as well.
For many, rebuilding trust in others can be a long and painful process. It forces us to face our fears, release negative and hurtful feelings and experiences from our past and asks us to be willing to open ourselves up to potentially being hurt again. Without an ability to trust, however, we block ourselves off from experiencing a wide range of emotions that are part of our being. Trusting also allows us to let our guard down which frees up our inner energy and resources, which we can now be used in more positive, healthy and whole way.
Before we go, let me reiterate this here. It is up to you to decide who you want to trust vs. those you will hold at arm’s length. Just because someone wants or expects you to trust them, doesn’t mean that you should, especially if their words and actions don’t warrant it. Trust is an important component in our ability to interact with others. When it is not there, we are limited by our expression and our ability to interact with them. When it is there, we are afforded a level of intimacy that creates bonds that can last forever.
Are you unsure if you should trust someone? If you are, then try listening to your heart. If you feel safe in trusting someone, then trust. If on the other hand something within you is telling you withhold this gift from another, then listen to and follow your inner knowing. This is especially true because it is your heart that can be freed when you do open yourself up by trusting another, as well as broken.
Source: Dr. Rita Louise, Ph D