When you have trusted someone…
You’ve laid your heart bare for them, you told them your secrets, you gave them the key to the locked door you never open for ANYONE…
You know what happens next.
They stab you in the back. They break every promise. They ruin you.
Sometimes you can’t help but wonder if this was their plan all along. Did they play you for a fool? Were they laughing behind your back this whole time?
So many stories go through your head. “I can’t trust anyone. This always happens. How could I have been so stupid?”
It’s time to stop.
You have control over who you trust and how you choose to trust.
These 3 Trust Truths will help you take back your power.
Trust Truth #1.
Trust is not gender-based.
When bad things happen, it’s so easy to tar all men with the same brush.
“Men can’t be trusted. All men are like this. You can’t trust any of them.”
Talk to your girlfriends. Each and every one of them will have a story about a way she’s been betrayed by a man.
But here’s the thing:
Trust has nothing to do with gender.
If you think back far enough, when was the first time someone betrayed you?
I remember when I was in 6th grade and my best friend suddenly turned on me, and I had no idea why.
My worst childhood betrayals were all with other girls.
Trust issues start so young. It’s part of growing up. You learn that the way people are today isn’t necessarily the way they’ll be tomorrow. You learn that people can be nice to your face and mean behind your back.
Hopefully, you learn that it’s not other people’s responsibility to behave the way you want them to.
We have no magic wand to wave over the world and make humanity incapable of betrayal. We all have the capacity to betray, sometimes in big ways, but often in a million small ways.
What we do have is the responsibility to choose our relationships.
It’s up to us to become the best judge of character we can be. It’s up to us to be responsible with our trust, knowing when to give and when to withhold.
But we short-circuit the whole thing when we make generalizations like, “Men can’t be trusted.”
There is no way you can make the claim that certain genders (or certain races or certain nationalities) are more trustworthy than others.
Don’t make any assumptions about trust until you do the work to get to know someone as an individual. Then trust them as much as their behavior merits.
Trust Truth #2.
Trust isn’t protection.
What is the point of trust?
Usually, we assume that the point of trust is to keep us safe.
When we trust someone, it’s like we sign a contract that says:
“I trust you AND you’re never supposed to hurt me.”
We’re basically saying, “I’m giving you this precious thing, and in exchange you have to honor it.”
But that was NEVER in the contract.
There is nothing in this world that will protect you from getting hurt.
In fact, it’s a rule that the people you love most will hurt you the most.
Being hurt is the price of being human.
So accept that you’ll suffer some hits when you step into the ring, and don’t let that close your heart.
The reason we need trust is that we cannot have authentic connection without it.
Trust helps us feel safe showing our true selves. It’s a prerequisite for anyone knowing the real you.
If you don’t trust someone, you won’t let your guard down with them. You’ll never let them see the truth about you.
A lot of the time, that’s okay. Many people prefer to interact on a surface level. They don’t want to see what’s behind your mask.
Business, for example, is a place where you have to put on a professional persona. You’ve got to smile and be cheery and fake it if you’re not feeling it.
But in your personal life, you’re not going to build closer relationships if you can’t tell someone you’re hurting. If your best friend tells you to get over it and look on the bright side, you’re not going to open up to her as much.
There’s a different social contract when it comes to trust, and it says:
I trust you AND you will hurt me, BUT we will repair it together.”
Your bond gets broken; you repair it. You hurt each other; you heal it. You apologize; you forgive.
That’s what happens in trusting relationships.
You don’t let those cracks widen. You keep talking and working it out.
Trust Truth #3.
Trust is not all-or-nothing.
Either you trust someone or you don’t. Isn’t that how it works?
There’s a lot of pressure on us to trust someone right away. When we’re falling for someone, we feel guilty if we hold anything back.
Ever had a guy say, “What, you don’t trust me? You must not really love me, then.”
That’s manipulation. (In fact, it’s probably a confession that this guy shouldn’t be trusted.)
A good guy would say, “I want to earn your trust. Show me how.”
Trust is never all-or-nothing. It comes in degrees.
You give someone a little trust, see how they handle it, then give them some more.
Or you give someone trust, and they break a promise, and so you take some of that trust back.
Brené Brown uses the analogy of a marble jar. When someone is kind to you, you put a marble in the jar. If that person does something to break your trust, you take a marble out of the jar.
The only people you absolutely trust 100% are the people whose jars are constantly spilling over. You can count on them to be kind.
You can still be a trusting person and ONLY trust people as much as they deserve.
You don’t give people your trust; you let them earn it from you over time.
Where we go wrong is when we give our trust 100% to someone who hasn’t earned it. Then we keep giving them that trust, even though they keep breaking it.
You have the right to pull back your trust when someone breaks it.
A good guy will see that he’s lost your trust and do the work to repair it.
A bad guy will shame you for not trusting him, because he loses his power over you when you wise up to his game.
Want to know more about how to safely get vulnerable with a man? Learn about the Circle of Trust.