When it comes to relationships, let’s be clear – the last thing you want to do is trust someone who is not trustworthy. In fact, it’s foolish to trust a person whose behavior is characterized by lies and broken promises.
But one of the biggest challenges in many relationships is the difficulty some people have with being able or willing to trust someone who is truly trustworthy. These are often men or women who have been hurt or taken advantage of by important people in their lives, resulting in a conditioned response of suspicion and fear. Sadly, this virtually guarantees that intimacy will suffer significantly. The absence of both trust and intimacy can often give way to a vicious cycle of conflict, abuse and isolation.
If your capacity to trust others is limited because of the insecurity and vulnerability created by abuse, keep in mind that there is hope. The trauma of abuse frequently triggers the development of irrational beliefs about your self, your future and the world you live in. Some of the more common irrational beliefs are related to the false notion that you are not strong enough to avoid being harmed or hurt again, that you lack the ability to discern who is trustworthy or that the world is a dangerous place and no one is to be trusted under any circumstances.
In an effort to help you begin the process of healing and trusting again I want to encourage you to focus on four key statements that represent the truth about you. Meditate on these thoughts every day whether you can fully agree with them or not. In time, they will begin to take hold and help to give you the courage to trust.
1. “I choose to trust again because I want to experience real intimacy in my relationships and to stop being held captive by the lies I have accepted about myself.”
2. “When I get hurt I know I can survive and even thrive because my worth, value and significance comes from within me rather than from what others think about me or how they treat me.”
3. “I will continue to learn how to improve my ability to choose healthy people to be in relationship with and how to set appropriate boundaries for myself.”
4. “Certain people in this world are unsafe and I will learn to avoid them. There are also many people in this world who are caring, loving and trustworthy. I do not have to be afraid – only wise, discerning and secure in knowing who I really am.”
As you rehearse these statements every day they will begin to silence the irrational beliefs that hold you captive and inhibit you from experiencing the real intimacy and love you desire. Remember to be patient because the process takes time. As your new beliefs strengthen you will find yourself starting to take greater risks in your relationships and your fear and insecurity diminish.
To learn more about how to trust again I recommend that you read the book, “The Courage to Trust: A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships“ by Cynthia L. Wall
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Dr. Todd is a licensed psychologist, executive coach, published author, and national conference and seminar speaker. He has been a featured expert on national and local radio talk shows and television news programs.