Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Becoming skilled in the art of trust

Whether you’ve been cheated on by a previous partner, someone has lied to you, or a close friend has let you down with something that was really important to you, placing your trust in a person can be nerve-raking and nigh on impossible for some.

Much of the time the reason we are scared to trust people is because of past experiences and remembering the hurt that it caused us at the time. These old wounds can have an impact on our mental health as they can bring insecurities to the surface and cause unnecessary worry. So, it’s important to not only deal with any underlying issues but to move on and not let it taint future expectations. After all, trust is a conscious choice that we make.

When we place our trust in a person, there will always be an element of risk involved knowing that we could get hurt again, however, we could also reap immense rewards.

Ways to learn to trust

To master the art of trust, we must first do some work on ourselves. One of the best ways to do this is to look back at past experiences, no matter how painful they may seem. Make a list of all the times you have trusted someone and been let down. How did this make you feel at the time, how did it affect your mental wellbeing, and what did you learn from the experience?

If this is something you’ve never done before, you might be surprised at all the positives that arose from a bad experience which you hadn’t acknowledged at the time. For example, you might have had your heart broken by a past partner but then went on to meet someone who was much more suited to you and made you really happy. By recognising the positives, it makes it easier to accept that sometimes we have to take risks and experience some form of emotional hurt in order to learn from it.

Try to remember that every situation and every person is different. What you might have experienced at a previous time in your life, probably won’t result in the same outcome every time. Also, take time to reflect on the person that broke your trust rather than yourself. Perhaps they were dealing with their own personal issues that you weren’t aware of, or maybe their previous experiences affected how they treat others. Try not to take things too personally or let them make you doubt yourself.

When we place our trust in people, there is an element of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Vulnerability isn’t always a bad thing even though we are often scared that we won’t be in total control. A simple way of opening up to our vulnerability is by speaking about how we feel. Try explaining to the person in question about your fears or concerns. Sometimes, people don’t realise that they have broken our trust and how it has affected us, so by talking to them, it could prevent future upset. 

And if you are prone to feeling guilty about things, you may be pleased to learn that a study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, concluded that guilt-prone individuals are more likely to be trustworthy because they are “sensitive to what the other person anticipates, and so feel responsible to meet the other person’s expectations.” It’s important to remember that not everyone will be as “guilt-prone” as ourselves though.

It can take time to learn to trust, but the more you practise it and focus on the positive results rather than the negatives, you’ll soon start to see the benefits.