You probably have experienced a few occasions in your life where your trust was violated. These events have probably challenged your relationships and broken your trust. Because of these situations, it can be hard to learn to trust others again. If you're anything like me, you might put your guard up to protect yourself from being hurt once more. But is that really how you want to live your life? The answer is most likely no. Even though it can be hard to trust others after experiencing an unfortunate situation, it's important to pick yourself back up, dust off the past, and move forward. To get the most out of your life, you need to learn from your experiences, but you won't grow if you let the past hinder your future.
"We often do not trust others because of real or perceived betrayal, and we might even carry a feeling of betrayal or hurt from childhood into our adult years — without realizing it at all. It's all subconscious. In the belly of this, is that we don't trust ourselves. We were 'had' and [felt] foolish or rejected; we stopped trusting our radar," says zen psychotherapist and neuromarketing strategist Michele Paiva in an interview with Bustle over email.
While it's important to be cautious of others' intentions, you don't want to live in a bubble. If you find yourself having a hard time letting people into your life because you're having trust issues, here are 11 ways to trust others again.
1. Remember That Most People Mean Well
When someone violates your trust, it can be easy to automatically question that person's integrity and morals. But instead of jumping the gun, try to remember that person is human and allowed to mistakes. "Remember that most people are good and mean well. However even good people make mistakes that violate trust. With emotional openness on your part and willingness to learn, it can be developed that trust again," says psychologist from LiveHealth Online Dr. Jennifer Gentile, PsyD, MMHS, in an interview with Bustle over email.
2. Recognize That There Are Different Kinds Of Trust
As you experience life, you slowly learn who you can and can't confide in. Be wise with whom you choose to discuss certain topics with so your trust doesn't get violated again. "You trust some people to give you wise advice and others to keep your secrets. I.e., we don’t have to trust everyone for the same things," says Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW, in an interview with Bustle over email.
3. Observe People's Habits
While you don't want to put up a wall, you do want to be aware of how people handle your trust. If you trust someone with something particular, you want to make sure they treat your trust with kindness and not take it for granted. "Look for patterns and notice [what] people do when you trust them. I.e., whether they are worthy of your trust or not," says Koenig.
4. Find The Root Of The Problem
If you want to fix your trust issues, figure out why you have them in the first place. Whether you decide to vent to a friend or talk with a therapist, there are multiple ways to find the root of the problem so you can let your trust issues go and move on. "Consider whether you were brought up by family you could trust and, if you weren’t, accept that you may be repeating the pattern in adulthood of not being able to trust people because that feels familiar," says Koenig.
5. Listen To Your Intuition
Let's be honest: you probably shouldn't trust people who talk badly about other people behind their back. It could mean that person might be doing that exact same thing behind your back. If your gut is telling you that something is wrong, it might be a good idea to listen to it. "Pay attention to your intuition and also to what people, [who] you do trust, have to say about people in your life," says Koenig.
6. Practice Using Boundaries
Even though you don't want to have your guard up, you need to be cautious with certain people who enter into your life. Practice using boundaries to keep negative people out of your life so it doesn't affect you. "Learn the qualities you value in others that result in a trusting relationship. Share yourself with these people," says licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Kim Chronister in an interview with Bustle over email.
7. Know When To Pull The Plug
One of the best ways to learn how to trust other people again is to let go of those who constantly break your trust. "If someone consistently doesn’t do what they say they will, they are not trustworthy, period, no matter how many marvelous excuses they come up with," says Koenig.
8. Be Honest
If someone did break your trust again, kindly be vocal with them about why their actions have hurt you. Maybe that person doesn't realize what they did and may fix it after you speak with them. "Be honest with people when they violate your trust and explain what you had expected [out] of the situation. If the offender does not know what they did wrong, it is hard to regain the trust," say Gentile.
9. Take Baby Steps
If your trust was recently broken, don't beat yourself up if you need some time to recover. Take baby steps and be comfortable with the pace you want to take until you can trust others again. Everyone is different and that's OK. "Trust people in stages. Divulge personal information over time," says Gentile.
10. Learn The Type Of Qualities You Like In Other People
Surround yourself with people who you can trust. You shouldn't have to tiptoe around your loved ones because you're afraid of what they might do or say behind your back. "Learn the qualities you value in others that result in a trusting relationship. Share yourself with these people," says Gentile.
11. Trust In Yourself
You have more power than you give yourself credit for. Trust that everything may work out when things go wrong. You know how to handle those type of situations and if you feel violated or sad, know that everything will be OK and you can overcome it. "All of us have been in a situation where our trust [was] violated. The true challenge is not that you have been violated, but what you learn from that experience. Know that if your trust is violated you will be OK and learn how to identify people or situations when your trust may be violated," says Gentile.
If your trust was violated, don't worry. You can overcome this unsettling feeling by being patient, practicing using boundaries, and listening to your intuition. You may be able to open up to others and allow them into your life without thinking they have ulterior motives sooner than you think.