Everyone has experienced pain and hurt at some point in their lives. We have all felt like our trust has been compromised, and we wonder if we will ever be able to trust again.
Those experiences can be very painful, and the feelings are completely normal.
You are scared to trust again for fear of future pain. It makes sense….
Betrayal by a loved one brings on some of the most powerful pain imaginable.
However, trust is the foundation of all meaningful relationships, and you cannot just skip over it.
The good news is that you can trust again.
The unfortunate truth is that you may get hurt again someday.
Trusting is a decision you must make knowing there are never any guarantees that you won’t feel this way again in the future.
So, with this in mind, you may ask how can you ever learn to trust someone again?
It is simple. You have to make the choice and jump back in. You have to let your guard down and let go of the fear.
It isn’t easy, and it won’t happen overnight. You’ll have to work on it.
Here are some tips you can follow to help you choose to trust again after a painful experience.
1. Embrace Vulnerability
Vulnerability is one of your greatest strengths.
As humans, we tend to believe that we are risking too much by putting ourselves out there and being vulnerable, but the opposite is actually true.
If you don’t put yourself out there and take risks, you end up missing out on so much. Life is messy, but it has to be in order to be worth living.
Building protective walls to hide behind – emotionally speaking – may sound like a good idea, but those walls do not discriminate between positive and negative feelings.
A life that is guaranteed to be free from betrayal is also guaranteed to be free from love. Love is choosing to trust someone with your heart.
You can practice showing your emotional vulnerability in a safe setting. Talk to a close family member or good friend and be open with them about how you are feeling.
You may implicitly trust them, but the act of opening up shows this in a very real way and it reinforces the belief in your mind that trust is a good thing.
2. Learn To Trust Yourself
In order to ever trust another person, you must first trust yourself. Trust in your judgment and ability to make good choices.
Just because someone you loved hurt you does not mean you have poor judgment, or that you made a mistake letting them in.
Your instincts are powerful, and you should not doubt yourself based on this one experience. Pay attention to your instincts and trust yourself today, tomorrow, and every day.
A good exercise to try if you want to rebuild trust in yourself is to look at all the decisions you have made that have had positive outcomes.
Start with your choice to end things with the person who broke your trust. If you knew that you’d never be able to trust them again, leaving the relationship was most definitely the right decision to make.
And look at your wider life and all of the things that are going well in it. You will have certainly made many great choices that had positive results.
Good financial choices, good career choices, good health choices, good friendship choices – make a list and remind yourself how strong your instincts are.
3. Choose To Forgive
Forgiveness is important. You may not necessarily choose to forgive the person who hurt you (although that can be therapeutic as well), but at least forgive yourself.
It is natural to blame yourself for allowing someone to hurt you. You may think that you were stupid to have allowed it or that you should have known better.
Remember that you were courageous to open yourself up to being vulnerable in the first place. You are not to blame for someone else’s actions.
You acted with the best intentions. You held up your end of the relationship bargain.
Sure, you might have disagreed with your partner and even got upset with them at times, but you did not deserve to have your trust broken.
No relationship is perfect. You did your best to make yours work. Don’t tell yourself otherwise.
4. Allow Time To Grieve
Yes, being hurt by someone does require you to go through the entire grieving process.
You are grieving the relationship you had with that person. You are grieving the person you thought you knew, but who turned out to be someone different.
You are grieving the life you had and the life you thought you would have with them in the future.
Grieving typically includes the following 5 stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.
Don’t fight any of these stages as they are natural and important.
5. Don’t Continue To Label Yourself The Victim
It is really easy to feel bad for yourself after being hurt. While you may need some time to stay in bed eating ice cream and crying to sad love stories on television, try to wrap it up quickly.
It won’t help you get over the pain.
Don’t allow yourself to wallow in the sting of being betrayed. If you focus entirely on blaming the person involved, you make yourself the victim.
And, yes, they acted in ways that hurt you and broke your trust, but that’s all on them – not you.
You are not their victim. You are not the victim. You are not a victim.
If you allow it to, the victim mentality can pervade all areas of your life. It can rob you of your self-confidence and self-worth.
Do you want to give the other person that sort of power over you even when they are no longer in your life?
Make an effort to overcome it. Yes, you can overcome it. You have more control than you think. Give yourself some credit.
6. Keep your Expectations High
Just because you were hurt by someone you loved, you do not have to lower your expectations in the future.
In fact, you should keep the same expectations or even raise the bar!
Don’t accept future deceit or infidelity because you’ve become numb to it, think you deserve it, or consider it a part of every relationship.
Make your views on trust clear to any future partner and let them know that you will not put up with any breaking of that trust.
7. Leave The Past Behind You
Realize that your past is different than your future. One person’s bad behavior is not a reflection on all humankind.
While it is smart to avoid the same types of people and situations where your trust was violated, you should never let your past experiences taint your expectations for the future.
Observe your behavior and stay vigilant for any signs that your past may be influencing how you respond to people now.
Don’t project your own feelings of insecurity onto potential new partners or else you may read things into their behavior that don’t really exist.
Remember: you deserve to love someone and they deserve your trust.
8. Consider The Alternative
Think for a minute about living a life without love and companionship. Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?
Perhaps the best reason to learn to trust people again is because the alternative is worse. Without meaningful relationships, life loses much of its vibrancy and sparkle.
Look forward 30 years and picture yourself alone and still wracked with trust issues. Consider all of the people who may have come and gone during this time, and those who would have stayed if only you had given them a chance.
This will help you accept that the potential for love is worth the risk of potential heartbreak. In fact, the scales are not even remotely balanced – they are tipped firmly in favor of love.
9. Consider All The Future Possibilities
Sure, you loved the last person. But clearly fate has a different plan for you.
It may be hard for you to think about right now, but there is someone out there who is better for you.
Focus on who you will meet in the future. Perhaps one relationship ended so that another can begin.
Imagine all of the firsts that are to come: the first time you set eyes on someone, the first words, the first butterflies, the first kiss, the first moment you realize you are falling for them.
Let yourself get excited by these firsts. Excitement is such an effective tonic for fear. It will sweep fear aside and fill you with hope and optimism that there is someone special waiting for you to meet them.
Excitement will spur you on to embrace the possibility in each moment and allow you to let other people get close.
If you choose not to trust again, you may end up missing out on someone truly incredible. As we all do, someday you will look back and know there was a reason for what happened.
10. Tell Your Story
One day, when you do find that person, and you feel ready to trust them, make sure you communicate openly about your past experience and your fear of future heartbreak.
Not only is it healthy to communicate honestly in the beginning of a new relationship, but you may also find that the new person has a similar story and fears.
Learning to be vulnerable and trust again after a deep pain can feel almost impossible at times. You may think that it is better to stay alone with the only person you can really trust (yourself).
However, relationships are vital to a quality life. Without the trying times, we would never be able to appreciate the good times. So it is best to choose to stay open and to trust even after you’ve been betrayed and hurt.
Love can lead to some of the most intense pain possible, but it can also be the greatest thing you’ll ever experience. After all, no one said love was going to be easy.