When someone breaks your trust, you have two choices: you can wrap your heart up tight or you can look at what went wrong and learn to trust again.
There is a reason that we all love children. Nothing is more life-affirming than the way that they have the ability to trust with all their heart and without reservation. As we grow older, though, we start to hold ourselves back. Being jaded by certain situations, we begin to close off a little of who we are. If you’re someone who has recently been hurt, it can feel like someone has taken something very special from you. That thing that they have taken is your naivety and your faith in love.
There are two ways to go about a broken heart. No matter what the cause, you can choose to package it up and, like a broken toe, favor it by keeping it wrapped up so tightly that nothing can harm it again. Or, you can help your heart to mend again and strengthen it by looking at the experience objectively, seeing it for what it was, and mentally making a vow to proceed with caution next time and make sure your trust is always earned.
How to trust again: The eight steps you need to learn
The funny thing about learning how to trust again is that until someone betrays it, it’s so naturally easy to give. Once stung, however, it becomes more difficult with each new insult. Here are the steps you can take to help you move on from a hurtful situation and learn to give your trust to someone new.
#1 Recognize that you are still alive and kicking. Nothing is more emotionally scarring than someone who doesn’t live up to your trust. But in the end, you have to take stock and see that no matter how hard it was to get through being cheated on, lied to, or talked about behind your back, you are still alive and kicking. That old saying, “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” is real. The only good thing about a broken heart is that it can’t kill you—the sun will rise again. [Read: How to be happy in life and live life to the fullest]
#2 Moving on is the best revenge. Right now, you may be thinking about ways to get back at the person who betrayed your trust. Often, we think about how we can make someone feel the way that they have made us feel. We try to find a way to get inside their heads and do to them what they’ve done to us.
The fact is that the best revenge you can ever have is to move on. Even if someone discarded you, cheated on you, or did something really awful, showing them that you are stronger than you appear, have more integrity than they do, and that you will be better off without them is the best way to find it within yourself to move forward and trust again. [Read: How to move on and deal with a breakup with a smile]
#3 Don’t give of yourself as freely next time. When someone mistreats us, we like to feel as if we were completely powerless in the situation. Seeing it as the fault of someone else rather than ourselves absolves us of any guilt or responsibility in our own pain. Rarely do we get hurt when there wasn’t a sign in front of us that we didn’t want to see.
Likely, your intuition told you there was something wrong long before you found out what they were doing to betray your trust. When you do find someone to love again, make sure that they are worthy of your trust. Don’t discount those things that we often overlook or downplay when getting to know someone. If you have an intuition about who they really are, acknowledge it. Don’t look the other way or think that it’s just you being overly sensitive. [Read: How self-respect affects you and your relationship]
#4 Think about all the things you gain from trusting. There are many people in your life whom you have trusted. Don’t let one person determine how you maneuver through the rest of your life. Even if it was a bad situation, using that one experience to determine everything that will ever happen after negates all the love and support that you have from other people in your life. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is going to get hurt a couple of times while here. You can’t let one bad relationship overpower all the lovely ones that have graced or that will grace your life.
#5 Stop blaming yourself. If you feel like you can’t trust anyone any more, then you must hold some belief that you’ve lacked in some way for the way things turned out. If you believe that you are a good person and are capable of finding someone who will return your love in the same manner, then you will be open to finding love again.
If, on the other hand, you think that you had some part to play in getting hurt, then you will see it as potentially happening again. You didn’t do anything to deserve what you got, and if you open your heart up again to someone who is more deserving, it’ll be less likely to happen again. [Read: 6 reasons to love yourself first before falling in love]
#6 It’s okay that things change. Often, we wish for just one second that the world would stop spinning. What’s good today has the potential to go wrong tomorrow. The good news is that what is hurtful at the moment is going to be less so in a couple of days and will only get better from there. Wanting to return to the past to sort out what happened, stop the situation from coming to fruition, or freezing the good in time just isn’t possible.
We move from one relationship to another throughout our lives. That is not a bad thing. Sometimes, you have to learn to let go and recognize that everything changes, both good and bad, and that is okay. [Read: 12 steps to change your life and find happiness]
#7 Be honest about what happened. When you do decide to love again, the best way to enter into a new relationship is to be open and honest about what you have been through. Sure, maybe this isn’t first date chatter, but when things begin to get a little more intimate, it’s a good idea to let them know what has happened in your past. If you don’t explain to them what perspective you are coming from, they may misread your trepidation or read your need to keep yourself closed off as something lacking in them.
Remember, your new relationship has nothing to do with your old, so don’t take it out on them. If you take things slowly and are open and honest about your battle wounds, and if they are willing to slow things down and take it one step at a time, you can build trust back together.
#8 Take a look at the big picture. If you never let anyone close enough to hurt you, then you won’t get hurt again. That may be very true. Think about why someone was able to hurt you. Being in love with someone or giving yourself wholly to another human being is what we were all put here to do. But if you choose to keep yourself hidden from the world and not trust anyone to come into your life or heart, then you will be sacrificing the feeling of love and the connection that you can have with someone else.
l would argue that as horrible as being hurt feels, it can’t touch how great it feels to feel like you belong with someone and that they are the person in your life that you can always look to to pick you up and be there for you.
There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but if you’ve been dumped, cheated on, lied to, or taken advantage of, it’s not uncommon to feel like the only way never to feel that way again is to close yourself off. Unfortunately, the heart wants what the heart wants.