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January 12, 2012

Learning – or rather choosing – to trust again after a betrayal is hard.

Baggage Reclaim has become a favorite relationship site of mine over the last several months, and this morning I ran a quick search for articles on trust. Two really stuck out to me.


Basically, her take on trust boils down to two things:

1) It grows with time, knowledge and reason to trust, and

2) You have to trust yourself before you can trust anyone else.

Some highlights:

What does trusting yourself involve? It means that you listen to you, don’t second guess your judgement or deny, rationalise, or minimise what you see, hear, and do. It means that even in the face of discovering difficult information and having to make uncomfortable decisions, that you’ll act in your best interests…

Fact is, if you have any intention whatsoever of moving forward, you have to take that leap of faith on you and equip yourself to not only learn to trust yourself but to be able to recognise when something isn’t working for you.

The answer isn’t to trust nobody; it’s to roll back when it becomes apparent that your trust is misplaced.

The answer isn’t to put up a fortress but is is about being more choosy about the company you keep.

The answer isn’t to never date again but it is about forcing yourself out of being led by your libido or your imagination and being committed to stepping back or opting out when reality bites.

The answer isn’t to stop trusting yourself because it means you won’t trust anyone. Instead, it is trusting yourself and not disregarding ‘feedback’ from people and situations in favour of trying to be the exception.

It’s not about everyone ‘proving’ themselves to you. You’re an equal participant in your interactions so you have to trust to a reasonable level to be able to gauge whether to proceed or not. If you didn’t trust somewhat, you wouldn’t know if your perception is down to paranoia and if you trust too much, you can’t tell fact from fiction.

Using your basic level of trust that you walk around with (let’s call it 70%) and using your relationship smarts (boundaries, self-awareness, etc.), you increase or decrease (credit or debit) your level of trust based on actual feedback from your relationship – i.e. their actions, how you feel, etc. If you have less trust than when you started out, it means it’s time to take a parachute and jump. If you keep experiencing positive, healthy relationship behaviour, increase.

People who don’t trust themselves are worried that they’re going to sell themselves down the river because they’ve often mentally already talked themselves into having their underwear off in two seconds flat, or casting themselves in a grand romance with someone that they’ve known for a hot minute, or being back together in a happy ever after with someone they have a pain in the arse past with. The decision is already made in their mind because they’re helpless due to a lack of trust in themselves.

If you don’t learn how to trust yourself, you’re either never going to trust anyone else, or runaround offloading the responsibility for your wellbeing to others who are not appropriate ‘decision makers’ for you.

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