Trust is an important cornerstone of any relationship – romantic, familial, as well as our friendships. Some people will go as far as to say that trust is the absolute most important part of these relationships; so, when trust is broken, it alters the entire dynamic of the relationship. Depending on the level of trust that was broken, a relationship may not be salvageable. For those who are willing to give second chances, learning to trust again can be difficult, but it can be accomplished with time. Along with proper communication, the following steps can help you trust again after you’ve been hurt:
Relearn how to trust yourself
After we’ve been betrayed, we may feel angry with the person who hurt us, but we may also feel angry with ourselves. You might find yourself asking questions like, “how could I have let that happen?”, “why am I letting this affect me so much?”, “should I have kept my guard up?” “am I stupid for continuing to give second chances?”. So, before we can trust someone else again, we need to trust ourselves first. When you learn to trust your gut and your intuition, you can feel more at peace with the decisions you make, and the second chances that you choose to give.
Understand that nobody is perfect
Humans aren’t machines; we mess up and unfortunately, we’re guaranteed to mess up again. When we give second chances, we can’t expect the other person to be perfect. The best we can do is hope that the second chances we give won’t mean the same mistake will continue to happen. When we tell people that they need to earn our trust, we’re essentially telling them that they can’t mess up. Let go of the notion that your loved one must be perfect. Ernest Hemingway once said, “the best way to find out if you can trust somebody, is to trust them” – there’s no fail-proof way to know for sure that someone won’t ruin their second chance; when we love someone, we just have to hope for the best.
Let go of your ego
Oftentimes, when a loved one betrays us, and other people know about it, we feel embarrassed. But don’t let that embarrassment hold you back from forgiveness. The embarrassment you feel has nothing to do with you – it was their action, not yours. Ask yourself if you’re holding a grudge because you are hurt or if your ego is hurt. If it’s your ego that’s hurt, ask yourself if this is something worth holding on to? Is your ego more important than the person you love? Probably not. If you’ve chosen to give a second chance, remember why – that the person is worth it.
Take baby steps
Nobody is expecting you to dive right back in, forgive the person who hurt you, and continue as if everything is back to normal. When you trust someone, you take a risk. Sometimes these risks are small and sometimes the risks can feel like they’re holding your life in the balance. After you’ve given second chances, try trusting again with the small things until they build into the bigger things later on. You get to set the pace and exercise trust in a time frame that’s right for you. When you take the relationship in baby steps, trusting again can feel safer and more manageable.
It’s important to remember that while trusting may mean relinquishing fears, it is better to trust than to remain closed off. Don’t let other people’s various missteps prevent you from living a life filled with the love and happiness that you deserve.
Mirela Bitkowski, MA, LPC Intern can work with you to help you and your partner regain trust in your relationship at the Relationship Counseling Center of Austin . Call 512-270-4883 , ext. 103 to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment with her on the RCC Austin Scheduling page and someone will be in touch with you to schedule your appointment.