Trusting: Finding a Healthy Path for Giving Our Trust.
Trust and Being Actively Trusting.
Life without being able to give our trust to others is a lonely undertaking. Of course, trusting others can lead to painful situations when things go badly in relationships. But it also an ingredient that is entirely necessary to maintain healthy relationships.
Let’s take a little deeper look at this topic and see if we can find some ways to avoid some of the pain of trusting. And of course, find healthy ways to give it out.
A definition for trust I found describes it as a ” firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Trust is so important to the health of our relationships and for maintaining our mental and emotional health.
But it is not enough to simply believe in the reliability, strength, etc, of this or that relationship. We must put our trust into action and be actively trusting to receive the full benefits.
To be trusting is to consistently show this belief to ourselves and to our trustworthy relationships through our actions. It is to push doubtful thoughts to the side when we are fed untruths. As well as to remind ourselves that the intentions of the other party are good unless clearly proven otherwise.
Why Trusting can be Difficult.
Trusting others is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Why? The obvious answer that comes to my mind is pain.
To give our trust is to let our guards down, to be vulnerable. So the same essential element to maintaining a healthy relationship also leaves us open to the potential for great pain.
Most of us have no doubt had our trust disrespected. Trusted friends may have gossiped behind your back. Close romantic relationships may have shown themselves to be unfaithful or abandoned us. The business you work for may not have given you the raise you were expecting and deserve. Any of these examples and many more are a cause for disappointment and emotional pain. They may have us trusting that relationships are not worth trusting since all they bring is more pain.
Allowing ourselves to give our trust to someone and having them take advantage of our vulnerability is a real possibility. In fact, it is going to happen many times throughout our lives. So what just wander up into the hills and denounce all relationships?
Few of us will seriously think that is the answer. What is needed is a balanced approach to trusting others, one in which we still get healthy relationships and less chance of having our trust abused.
Actively Trusting and Healthy Relationship.
It is easy for me to see that without trusting others there is no foundation for a healthy relationship. Giving our trust is needed to be able to let our guards down, and let other people into our lives. It is also necessary to keep them in our lives and in our confidences.
Without trust, the mind tends to question the goodness of most intentions. It is left to wade around in an endless sea of mistrust. All of those past relationships that either betrayed us or where we perceived betrayal, can fuel suspicion in our current thoughts and perceptions. This is close to the death of any healthy relationship.
Being actively trusting in a relationship does not mean keeping our heads in fairytale land, thinking others will never betray our trust or hurt us. But it does require us to leave the pathway for communication open to allow others to make amends and correct the pain. And also to eventually leave the relationship if the behavior does not improve. It also means not expecting that all the things that went wrong in the past are destined to repeatedly happen again.
Finding the Healthy Path to Trusting.
Trusting others, of course, comes with its risks as well as it’s benefits. Though in my mind as long as some self-work is done a healthy path to trusting can be found.
1. Develop Self Trustworthiness.
All through my recovery, I have heard an important statement about trusting others. I was told that the way to trust others is to be trustworthy myself. But what does my own trustworthiness have to do with trusting others? The answer lies in the fact that when I am able to trust myself, then I will generally judge the trustworthiness of others more effectively.
This Psychology Today article outlines the problem of jealousy in relationships. It gives some evidence that jealous and overly suspicious partners in a relationship are much more likely to be the unfaithful ones. The article focuses on romantic relationships and cheating but there are many types of relationships in life. In any of these relationships, when we are trying to get one over on the other individuals involved, we are very likely going to be suspicious of their actions. Whether they are faithful to the relationship or not.
Our own lack of trustworthiness gets projected onto others, hurting relationships. When we feel deep down that we are trustworthy we are more likely to project the opposite, and give a healthy relationship a chance to grow.
Thankfully over the years I have learned many skills that have led me to develop self-trustworthiness. One of them is practicing forgiveness towards myself and others.
2. Forgiveness of Self and Others.
In order to develop self-trustworthiness and actively trust, we must also learn how to forgive. Working on forgiving ourselves of our past and present. As well as doing the same for the individuals surrounding me.
Throughout my recovery from addiction, I have had to dissect my past to recognize painful emotions coming from experiences where I felt wronged or wronged others. I have had to forgive myself and feel those emotions. This has allowed me to be more trusting, spending less of my creative energy reliving the pain of past emotions while trying to live in the moment.
To forgive is not necessarily to forget. Our pasts and our pain have a great deal to teach us, they are not to be forgotten. Though often times I have found that as healing happens, the unimportant tends to disappear from the memory anyway. Forgiveness tends to put our relationships into a healthy perspective. But all this forgiveness only works when we are living respectably.
3. Living Respectably.
Living respectably to me means simply living in ways that don’t cause ourselves unnecessary guilt. Ways that are in line with OUR OWN moral compasses.
As I said above when we live and think dirty, we tend to expect others to be doing the same. But when living respectably, we wind up projecting less of our own negative intentions onto others. It frees our minds up to be less critical, more kind and better judges of the characters of others.
Also when by living respectably we tend to attract more trustworthy people into our lives. People that are more able to be trusted. But of course there are days where I am feeling tricky emotions and I may feel unsafe and more likely to not give my trust out. Though as long as I continue to live in a way that I won’t regret, the emotion will pass and I will return to a more trusting self.
So yes, being trusting can be a complicated issue. But even though it has it’s risks, the rewards are incredible. It doesn’t really matter if you have been too trusting in the past or scared to trust at all there is a balanced way of giving out trust that can be learned. One that is backed up with boundaries with others and still isn’t isolationist. It may take work and it may require lots of healing from painful emotions, but it is entirely possible.
There are many amazing people out in the world to be met, and new depths to be discovered in already intimate relationships. Each of these requiring us to put our guards down a little bit more and allowing ourselves to trust.
I wish you well on your path to finding healthier ways of trusting. And thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us!
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My Life Experiment
Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. Life is meant to be lived. That is why we promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.
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