The Trust Crisis: Forgive or Forget?

Trust takes us years to build… but only a few seconds to break.  But can trust truly be repaired in a relationship?  You can’t truly love without trust.  We have all had partners, parents, children, siblings and friends… and at some point in our lives, the issue of trust has been diminished.  Some relationships can be mended, depending on the severity of the fracture in our faith.  But for other relationships, it is best to move on and start afresh… allowing both parties to heal.  But how does one decide what to do?

Trust is an emotional and logical act.  It is where we expose our vulnerabilities to people and believe that they will not take advantage of our honesty and openness.  Trust is a feeling… that we associate with love, friendship, comfort and relaxation.

A person who is trustworthy is considerate of others and cares for their wellbeing.  When you trust someone, you believe in them.  Trust also means that you know what is best for yourself and believing that you are worthy of trust.

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To trust… is to be honest and believe that you would never hurt your significant other, and to care deeply for them and their broken or painful past.  A desire to protect their esteem and believe in them.

To trust… is to know that your parents have your back and they love you unconditionally.  A belief that you are accepted just the way you are and that they are proud of you, your personality and your achievements.

To trust… is to raise your children into kind and loving adults, trusting that they will make their own mistakes in life, without harm.  It is believing that they will learn from these mistakes and we continue to love them unconditionally.

To trust… is to respect our siblings and be mindful of their feelings and to accept personal perceptions.  A family connection to help each other, encourage them, but also give them the space that they need.

To trust… is to have a friend that you can confide in, someone you trust in sharing your private thoughts.  They are your “confidante”, the keeper of your secrets and someone you can be yourself around.

Sometimes in our lives, whether it be bad judgement, outside influences or a mistake… trust can be broken.  Then we are left to evaluate, whether our trust has been misplaced or misunderstood.  I don’t believe the question is “should we trust again?”… but “how do we build trust so our relationships can grow and thrive?”.

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Communication is the biggest factor.  Communicating your expectations early and understanding the needs of your partner, is the foundation for building a long-lasting relationship.  To be in love with your partner, trust must be present.  Any relationship that is not built on a secure foundation of trust… will ultimately break.

Similarly, friends can disappoint you, if your concerns are not communicated clearly and a greater sense of trust has not been developed.  Trust is the single most important component of any healthy relationship.  If trust does not exist, you are unable to get close to that person and rely on them for support.  Without trust, you cannot be vulnerable and reveal your hopes, dreams and worries.

After trust has been broken, the key is to decide if the relationship is worth repairing and if trust can be restored in time.  The degree, as to which the trust has been compromised, will determine the action to be taken.  And as each person is unique, the decision will vary for all.  Some trust issues are deal-breakers and unable to be restored.  But other trust issues are repairable and worth it.  The key is knowing what is best for you…each and every one of us are worthy and it is for us to decide for ourselves.

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Sometimes, we need to make that decision to walk away and accept that our happiness is more important and we deserve better.  If trust will never be restored or will always be a major hurdle… then moving on is the answer.

Sometimes, the relationship is worth it or the trust issue can be resolved in time… that we can accept the mistake and try to rebuild the relationship again.  To build trust or re-build trust in any relationship we need to:

  • Earn It – Stop taking trust for granted and make it a priority in our relationships.  This will allow us to be conscious of our actions and understand how our partner or friend will perceive our actions.
  • Be Supportive – In a stage of building trust, being supportive of each other is of utmost importance.  Each party needs to feel that they can take a risk, make mistakes or try new things… and have the support that they both need.
  • Keep Secrets – Rather than keeping secrets from each other, instead keep secrets “for” each other.  Personal conversations in a vulnerable state, bring a sense of connection through this sort of trust.
  • Be Vulnerable – Allow yourself to be open and really honest when sharing things that you often keep hidden.  The ultimate sign of trust is allowing the other person into your emotional world and sharing your inner thoughts.
  • Do Not Judge – Although you might not understand why something is important to your partner or friend… but the fact that it is important is all that really matters.  We all have a history and a tangled web of emotions, so respect each other and your unique differences… without judgement.
  • Keep Your Promises – Make keeping your promises a priority and refrain from overlooking the little things.  These little promises may be small, but they go a long way towards building trust.
  • Communication – Be open and honest in your conversations and ensure you are both understood.  Each party has a need to be heard and understood, and trust is built when each party is honest.
  • Disagreements – Voice your issue and discuss privately, never in public to shame or humiliate the other person.  This will keep your lines of communication open, allow your thoughts to be voiced respectfully and ensure trust is retained.
  • Personal Growth – Take the time to work on your personal growth, which will give strength to not only you, but your relationships as well.  We all have something we need to work on… for our own well-being.

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Forgiveness is the key factor.  To forgive is not to excuse the behavior of the person that has offended you… but rather a process of allowing us to let go of anger, bitterness and resentment.  It is about us… it is about releasing yourself from the control it has over you. Forgiveness is genuine compassion for those who have wronged us and the ability to move on… for the sake of our own emotional well-being and happiness.

Trusting does not mean mistakes won’t happen.  Any relationship brings two people together with their own beliefs, ideas, emotional baggage, burdens, past history and personal perceptions.  Letting go of past transgressions is the only way to move forward and resurrect any relationship.

Letting go of the hurt and the disappointment, accepting the apology and be open for trust based on truth and love.  Time will heal… but you have the control, to control your own thoughts and actions.

I believe the significance of trust… is in yourself.  Trust that you have the ability… and the power… and the strength… to believe in yourself.  Life gives us ups and downs… but it is our choice what reactions we have and the decisions we make.  The decision is yours and you are worth it.

Take care, Karen.

“A bird sitting in a tree is not afraid of the branch breaking,

because her trust is not in the branch,

but in her own wings.”

~ tinybuddha.com 

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