If we all closed ourselves off after getting hurt, could we ever truly engage in relationships again?
Broken trust and betrayal has occurred in many of our lives, both in romantic relationships and friendships alike. Even family members can break our trust. However, difficulties arise in any relationship, and we must learn to work through any trust issues and keep moving forward.
Unfortunately, getting hurt comes as part of the package deal in this human experience, but we don’t have to let those experiences weigh us down and keep us from opening up to others. Broken promises and compromised feelings can make us want to push others out and never trust again, but this 5 step guide can help you overcome those feelings and learn how to trust again.
5 Steps to Rebuild Trust After You’ve Been Hurt
1. Realize that no one is perfect.
No matter how badly the person broke your trust, you must realize that no one on Earth can avoid mistakes their entire lives. Everyone slips up from time to time, even if they didn’t mean to. Though our brains can store more information than computers, we are not robots; we have complicated feelings, emotions, and thoughts that shape us as humans.
Whether you decide to forgive the person is up to you, but remember that you also make mistakes from time to time. The relationship might still be worth salvaging if you can see from their point of view and understand that pain is inevitable on this journey in life.
2. Express your feelings.
Your first reaction might be to ignore your partner, friend, or relative until they come to you and say sorry, but you might have to be the bigger person and make the first move. They might not realize they even did anything wrong, so make sure you make it clear to them how you feel. Remember to talk in a calm, rational manner, and try not to sound accusatory. Take the first point into consideration and tell them you understand that no one is perfect. However, make sure you lay everything on the table and tell them exactly how you feel.
Part of learning to trust again means opening up to the very person that hurt you. Even if you go different ways, you can at least find solace in the fact that you were honest about your feelings, and left no stone unturned.
3. Zoom out from the situation.
Try to look at the bigger picture, and decide if your feelings match the severity of the situation. In other words, can you justify your feelings by their actions, or could you be overreacting just a bit? Though trust must be earned in a relationship, you need to discern serious breaches in trust from minor ones.
For example, if the person cheated on you, you and your partner need to have a serious talk about your relationship. However, if your partner forgot about your dinner plans for the evening, you might want to hold back your feelings for a bit and listen to his or her explanation. They might have had to stay late at work, or just honestly forgotten about your plans.
Try to see the situation as it is, and don’t make it something more. Listen to your partner or friend and decide if the situation merits a strong reaction or not.
4. Be open to second chances, but remember your worth.
Essentially, you have to find the middle ground here. If you’ve given someone a chance to earn your trust but they have consistently disrespected and betrayed you, you should probably let them go. Trust is a two-way street, and the other person has to meet you halfway. Learning to trust again involves paying attention to your feelings, and discerning if the person deserves to be in your life or not. A breach of trust usually means the person needs time to deal with personal issues; when other people hurt you, their own hurt is spilling over their threshold, causing them to hurt others. Understand their pain, but also know when it’s time to call it quits. You have to respect yourself enough to discontinue any relationship that doesn’t serve you in the best way, but know when to give others a second chance.
5. Leave the past behind you.
Most of us have had a turbulent, painful past, because we’ve had to go through certain situations in order to grow as a person. We had to go through hurtful relationships and heart-wrenching breakups to evolve into a strong, compassionate, well-rounded person. Learn from the rough waters of the past, but don’t let them steer your vessel. Take charge and realize that the past should stay in the past, and that you have to let people in if you want to continue to grow.
The past doesn’t have to define your future; you can take ownership of your feelings and choose to let the past make you a better person, not a bitter person. Past relationships and situations don’t reflect the future, because you get to create your future. People will always hurt you in one way or another, but some relationships will be worth the pain. Others can help you grow and teach you new things about life; any relationship requires effort, but you’ll know in your heart who needs to stay in your life to help you blossom into your best self.