Overcoming trust issues can be a real challenge, but the best time to do this is not when you’re already in a relationship, nor when you ‘finally meet someone who gives you hope!’ Pfft, screw that. Working on trust issues should happen now, for you, when you’re looking for love, or before.
Because despite these issues most likely stemming from a painful situation where you were let down by another person, often badly, and multiple times in the past – the lack of trust is still coming from within. It’s on you. But that’s a good thing… It means that although you can’t control other people’s actions, you can control what it means to you and the impact it will have on your life.
You can let go of these trust issues you have, I promise you. And actually it doesn’t need to be as scary as you think. I know this, because I’ve been there.
Where My Trust Issues Came From
I’ve decided to make this post a little personal, sharing my past experiences and writing from the heart. I don’t want to give you a list of ‘top tips’ that you can read anywhere else. Trust is a sensitive topic, often with a lot of pain still bubbling up inside. So I want us to work through this together. You’re not on your own with this one, okay?
When it comes to trust, there have been some significant times in my life where this has been broken. The worst by far however, was when I was just fifteen. I was young, thought that I was in love, and I guess there was a level of naivety – but back then, I had no reason to doubt the things that I was being told, nor to question the other person’s actions. I thought it was genuine. The guy was older, he was a bit of a manipulator – after all, he’d never have gotten me in such a vulnerable situation where he was able to hurt me the way that he did otherwise. But it ended in the worst possible way, because I was assaulted.
It took me a long time to get over this. I suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, sunk into a short period of depression and questioned everything and everyone. Following that, my trust was broken multiple times again, by the men in my life that I allowed to get close to me. However, I wouldn’t say that trust is really an issue for me anymore and the rest of this post I will spend explaining not only why but also how you can adopt the same mindset and approaches too.
Why Your Trust Issues Don’t Protect You…
Our trust issues can come from early life experiences, social rejection, traumatic life events, infidelity, the list could go on and on. Ultimately however, it’s when our trust has been repeatedly violated, that our belief system is then so profoundly affected – which is why we now find it difficult to place our trust in others again. The first thing to recognise is that this way of thinking and living is not really ‘normal,’ nor necessary. You also need to understand that it’s not actually really protecting you.
Living in fear of something happening or someone doing you wrong and therefore distancing yourself or not letting them get close to you, won’t stop bad things from ever happening again. Sooner or later, you have to let someone in. And if you don’t, you’re missing out on all the juices of life that you get from having that closeness and intimacy with another person. Don’t deprive of yourself because of some a**hole that tainted your views.
No matter what has happened to you in the past, you cannot carry that into your future. And I know it’s easier said than done. But look at it this way – if you let it, you’re letting that person who hurt you, win. You’re giving them more importance and significance in your life than they deserve. And let’s say you’ve been hurt multiple times, by different people when it comes to love, so you start to think that “everyone’s the same.” But are they? Really? Or could it just be that you’re attracting the love that you think you deserve and therefore keep falling for the wrong people?
Think about it. Things aren’t just black and white.
It Is Okay To Be Wary…
Trust is something that’s built, it’s not automatically given. It’s therefore okay to be bit wary of new people, to have your guard up a little until you know what they’re all about. It will protect you initially, it’s like your safety blanket. But there will come a point where you have to let this go. Gradually actually is the best – letting someone in and opening up bit by bit. Baby steps, yeah?
Because if you don’t do this at all, you’re stopping things from being able to develop. Which is fine if you’re not ready for a relationship yet. But if you potentially could be and you feel like there’s maybe something worth going for with this person, then don’t miss out on opportunities just because of your past.
There’s also a fine line between being wary and being paranoid. So don’t overthink things too much. We all get gut feelings – but whether or not we should listen to them depends on whether we actually have anything substantial to back them up. It’s great being the detective, just not so great when we end up messing things up because we’ve gotten things wrong!
Remember, the truth always comes out in the end and people will always eventually show their true colours. So just give them time and don’t ignore any warning signs – that’s all you can really do.
You Have To Remain Positive and Open Minded…
Think the best of people until they give you a reason not to. Give everyone an equal chance. If they let you down, don’t keep overlooking it and allowing them to treat you poorly. Learn from past mistakes. But approach each new person with optimism and a clean slate. After all, wouldn’t you ask for the same thing the other way around?
If you tell yourself you can’t do it, you’re right – you won’t be able to do it. Because if you want to keep dragging around your past baggage, it’s easy to do. Too easy actually! But whatever you’ve been through – you’ve been through it now. You don’t need to keep re-living it every day and feeling all of the emotions that come with it, time and time again. It will end up destroying you.
If this sounds a little too familiar, consider getting professional help to enable you to process things properly. Speak to a therapist or coach. By doing so it doesn’t mean that you’re broken – you’re not. It just means that you recognise there’s things that you can work on and you want to do this because you’re not going to settle for a love or a life that is anything less than you deserve!
But How Do You Put The Past Behind You?
I’ll run through this topic in more detail in a future post. The ultimate goal however, is to feel pretty much nothing over the past situation that damaged your trust. And just to get this straight… that doesn’t mean forcing yourself to forget about it, blocking out your feelings or simply waiting because you believe ‘time is a healer!’ It’s not and none of these things are actually you dealing with it.
Instead, you’ve got to see things for what they are. They happened, they probably sucked, but there’s no point dwelling on them. Time doesn’t stop just because it feels like your world has. It keeps on going, which means these sh*tty experiences become nothing more than memories. And memories are not actually the problem. We think they haunt us but they don’t. Memories are just thoughts, they have no power over you. It’s the meaning that you give them that have such a strong impact on how you feel and how it continues to affect you today.
If you want to change your life, control the only thing you can control: the meaning you give something” – Tony Robbins
So if you want to put the past behind you instead of carrying it with you, weighing down the way you look at trust and love, then first decide to see it differently. See it for what it was – a terrible thing that happened, but no reflection on you as a person and no reflection on the rest of the population. Free yourself from the negative emotions you have towards it, and towards the person. Because it’s not hurting them anymore, it’s only hurting you.
The Buddha once said that holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s never going to happen! So one of the key parts of letting go of trust issues is also forgiving the person who broke it in the first place. This doesn’t mean that you agree with what they did, nor do you have to think anything of them as a person. But you refuse to hold onto the anger and resentment. It’s very difficult to fully let go of something until you forgive it.
Sometimes the forgiveness is not just about forgiving the person, but also forgiving yourself too. I don’t know about you, but I held onto a lot of guilt and blame for allowing myself to even be in the situation where I was able to get hurt so badly. It wasn’t justified blame of course – but I had to recognise this and stop beating myself up about it before I could move forward.
Forgiveness is a pretty complex topic so if you’d like to explore it further, I’ll be writing a post on it shortly. Fundamentally however, we must forgive if we want to be able to trust again.
Please note: if you’re struggling with any of this, please work through it with a professional. Honestly, I can’t vouch for it enough. Let those scars heal.
We All Have a Choice…
A choice on how we live, what we think, what we’ll tolerate, what we won’t and ultimately how we want to view the world. It’s easy to be sceptical and negative, passing blame around with anger and resentment. But at the end of the day, the only person that this is hurting is ourselves. Decide today to embrace new experiences, to open your arms to new people.
What will happen, will happen, regardless of how you feel. So when you’re living in fear, you are simply prolonging the pain or creating it when it doesn’t even necessarily need to be there.
You will attract more goodness into your life by being the best person that you can be and adopting the healthiest mindset. That starts by being more open to trust the people who show you they are worthy of it. It’s not about naivety, but about being open and optimistic, so that you can get the absolute most from every new relationship. If someone breaks your trust, it’s their loss because they may not then be able to stay in it from there.
Let go of your trust issues and allow yourself to breath again. Everything works out the way it should in the end, and every bad time or disappointment only acts as a learning curve and a little boost of personal development. So drop that guard down and see where life takes you!
Sending all my encouragement and support!