In a world of ever-increasing complexity and seeming chaos, it is important to try to live our lives as ethically and authentically as possible. One aspect of this is to practice trust – both trusting others and being worthy of their trust. Here are five tips to help you learn to trust again:
1. Learn to Trust Yourself
You’ll have a difficult time gaining the trust of others if you don’t even trust yourself. You need to remember how to be confident in your abilities, know that you are doing your best, and remember what it feels like to trust yourself again. When you do, you have a firm foundation on which to build trusting relationships with others.
2. Be More Trustworthy
Actions speak louder than words, and if you don’t act in a trustworthy manner, then why should others trust you, anyway? Like other aspects of a relationship, trust is a two-way street. Whether you’re in an intimate relationship or a work friendship, when people trust you they know that they can count on you. And if you’re in a mutually-trusting relationship, you know that you can count on them, as well.
3. Overcome Your Fears
A lack of trust is often based on fear, which in turn is often based on unpleasant past experiences. When those issued are unresolved, you fear (and even expect) more negative events to occur. As a result, some people act in a cautious and even suspicious manner, waiting for that next betrayal of trust. And the result? Their actions become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because those actions are reflected in the feelings and behaviours of their friends. You owe it to yourself to resolve those past issues, and attract trustworthy relationships into your life in the future.
4. Forgive The Past
Trust becomes easier when you are able to examine, accept and forgive your role, and the role of others, in your past life experiences. It helps to remember that sometimes events that you perceive as bad were just misunderstandings, or simple mistakes that got out of hand. It’s also worth considering that, just like you were doing the best you could at the time, so were the friends or partner who let you down. And when you are able to authentically forgive them, you set the stage to trust others, and yourself, again.
5. Remember Most People Are Good
Finally, remember that the vast majority of people are good. The media likes to focus on bad news, apart from that tiny “feel-good” segment just before the end, where they try to “balance” their coverage of events. We all know that bad news sells, and that usually the media stations pack their news bulletins with the sad and the bad. So do yourself a favor – stop watching the news! And observe how your mood improves, you start feeling more optimistic about the future, and you start seeing the good in people again.
Here are three things that you can do this week to put these ideas into action, and start down the path of learning to trust again:
• Choose one person in your life to forgive (start by picking someone that has been on your mind, and let the feelings go)
• Show someone that you appreciate them (and keep it rolling by picking a different person each week or month)
• Try to rebuild trust in someone who let you down (take it slowly and work towards rediscovering the foundation of your friendship)