Trust…what does this word even mean? According to dictionary.com, the word trust means the following:
Of these definitions, I like the second one the most. Confident expectation of something; hope. If you trust someone, you are hoping they won’t let you down. You expect them to be there for you. You rely on them.
It seems totally stupid to give someone the benefit of the doubt. It’s sad to me that in order to protect yourself, you have to make others work to earn your trust. You can’t just blindly give someone the benefit of the doubt, or you may live to really regret it. I’m a person who used to trust people pretty easily. I’d been hurt by friends growing up, but never seriously betrayed. However, I eventually came across a couple of people who really did a number on me emotionally because of all their lies. I started to believe there was something wrong with me that I got so taken advantage of. Now, after working with so many people the last decade, I can see it happens to many of us at some point.
So what do you do after you’ve been hurt so bad? Let’s say you’ve just been cheated on. The person you loved and trusted has betrayed you in one of the worst ways. How do you get past that? How do you trust again? These are difficult questions to answer even though I get asked these questions often. I would say you can look at it two different ways.
In one way you realize you have no control. There are people out there who will lie just to get what they want. This isn’t your fault and doesn’t make you a stupid person. Some people are so patient about it. They do take the time to win your trust, and then they flip on you. There is no way to guarantee that someone you start to trust won’t betray you. We all have to take this risk when we let people into our lives. When it happens it will be devastating and you will feel very hurt. You will have to grieve the loss of the person you thought you loved and come to terms with the fact that you may never know what was true and what wasn’t in the relationship.
In another way you do have control. After you’ve grieved the loss it’s time to take charge and figure out what you could have done differently. You can’t change the past, but you can use it to be smarter in the future. Take this time to look back with your 20/20 vision and analyze what happened. Don’t blame yourself or put yourself down. Be practical about it, and look for the little signs you missed. Note those things that you had an instinct about, but ignored at the time. These are what I call red flags. If you choose to be honest with yourself about things you missed, you will be more likely to dodge that bullet in the future. I no longer wish that I hadn’t met those few people who really lied me. I’m now thankful for all that they taught me. They kept me from making bigger mistakes in the future, and I learned to trust my judgment again.
I hate cliches’, but I do believe that “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. Also, smarter, if you are willing to deal with the issues. Some people I see tell me they keep meeting the same kind of people and get hurt over and over again. I believe this usually happens because they didn’t take the time to really grieve the loss or look at what happened in the relationship in-depth. Instead they chose to circumvent the grief by jumping into a new relationship right away and pushed away thoughts from the past instead of analyzing what happened.
I know it sucks to cry over someone who really hurt you. You feel they don’t deserve your tears. However, you do deserve to let yourself feel hurt no matter what the circumstances. You gave them your heart when you trusted them and now it’s going to hurt that they are gone. It’s okay to be sad and angry. Deal with those feelings instead of trying to ignore them. I also know it doesn’t do any good to dwell in the past, but figuring out what happened isn’t dwelling. It is using the information from the past in order to prevent it from repeating itself. Instead of trying to forget about it, try to force yourself to look at what happened so you can learn from it. It won’t be easy, but it may save you from a lot of pain in the future.
If you are going to be in relationships with others, you are going to have to learn to trust. You have to learn to trust your own judgment and trust that not everyone is out to get you. You can’t be in a great relationship if you don’t have trust. Trust is about confidence. Confidence in yourself as well as others. It doesn’t do you or your partner any good if you always have to check up on them or fear that they are always going to leave you . The more confident you are and the more trust you have in your partner, the less control you have to have in the relationship. Relationships require you to give up some control. If you need 100% control over your life, then stay single! Letting others in is a risk. Usually it is well worth it. Just be smart about who you let in. Again, try to learn from the past if you do get burned, and don’t give your heart too easily just to avoid loneliness. If you take your time, you will find there still are a few trustworthy souls out there.