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.
We 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 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 our 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 we don’t put ourselves out there and take risks, we end up missing out on so much. Life is messy, but it has to be in order to be worth living.
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, it 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.
3. Choose To Forgive
Forgiveness is important. You may not necessarily choose to forgive the person that hurt you (although that can be therapeutic as well), but at least forgive yourself. It is natural to blame ourselves for allowing someone to hurt us. 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. Forgive yourself.
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. Grieving typically includes the following 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 a day or two 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. You will only stifle your ability to heal by blaming everyone else. Make an effort to overcome it. Yes, you can overcome it. You have more control than you think. Give yourself some credit. There are no victims.
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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!
7. Leave The Past Behind You
Realize that your past is different than your future. One person’s bad behavior is not a reflection of 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 allow you to lower your expectations for the future. You deserve to love someone who deserves 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 really is not worth living.
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 that is better for you. Focus on who you will meet in the future. Perhaps one relationship ended so that another can begin. 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 perfect 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.
Have you been hurt in the past? Did you find it hard to trust someone again? How did you manage it? Leave your advice for others in a comment below.