I don’t know anyone without trust issues. Yet, you hear all the time “I just can’t trust anyone after being hurt so bad, or after how i was raised, or (insert reason).”
I get it. I have been hurt and my trust has been broken. So, I have my own trust issues. But, what I discovered in exploring my feelings surrounding trust is that it all boiled down to FEAR. I was afraid of being hurt. So, I walled myself up and refused to let anyone see the vulnerable parts, the parts they could hurt the most.
Sounds like a great plan right? There’s an inherent flaw though.
When you are expecting to be hurt, you tend to get hurt. You look at every little mistake as a huge glaring red flag. You become narcissistic in your fear, in your constant focus of what/who is going to hurt me. This doesn’t keep you safe. This keeps you isolated, lonely, depressed and often without many close friends.
Shared vulnerability is necessary in any relationship that isn’t superficial. Friendship, lovers, soulmates.. they all need some level of shared vulnerability.
So, here I was sitting behind my nice strong barn and they are out there just being themselves and honest, but I keep them at arms length. I’m controlling all of it. Finally, when I deem them worthy of my trust, I expect them to open up to me and trust me too? They don’t even know me. Why would they feel they could trust me?
How many times have you felt like no one really knows the real you?
Fear is a powerful force behind many things in your life.
Did you know there are only two kinds of fear?
Fear of success and fear of failure. Are you afraid of trusting people because they will disappoint and hurt you or are you afraid of trusting someone because they may prove to be trustworthy and then you’ll be “exposed” and proven wrong in your belief that nobody can be trusted?
I challenge you to not be afraid. I’m not saying throw the barn doors open wide. I am saying that you have to be vulnerable if you want vulnerable. Start small. See how they react. Be yourself. If you don’t know who that is then find out. Not everyone you meet has an agenda to hurt you or use you. Not everyone you meet will be your soulmate, bff, or the “one”. That’s OK. But, you deserve to discover this through open and honest communication and experience.
One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to just be you. Own your life, your feelings, your wants, your needs, your past, and your goals.
To have a healthy relationship you must have what I call “Shared Vulnerability”. How can you demand trust if you don’t give it? Don’t sit in your barn, never willing to risk pain, and then wonder why you are all alone.
Here are 5 things you can to todayto begin the process of opening up in your relationships:
1. Stop your personal failures – Stop breaking your trust with yourself. As an example, do you say that you’re going to start making your body and health a priority, and yet you’re drinking sugary drinks and excess alcohol and eating processed foods on a daily basis? If you chronically break your promises to yourself, you will find it difficult to trust the word of others. Make your word good in your own life first.
2. Accept yourself completely – Take out a piece of paper. Write ‘Things that I dislike about myself’ at the top. Then write out the first 10-50 things that come to you. Don’t think, just write. They will come out. Then put a star next to the top five things that you find yourself criticizing most frequently about yourself. Now write next to each of these things a healthy replacement thought for this negative belief. When you start loving and accepting parts of yourself, the more other people in your life will also start to love and accept those things. Are you secretly afraid of the negative judgment of others? If so, after this exercise, you will now be better prepared for criticism of others as well.
3. Be trustable – Watch how you tend to sabotage your relationships. For example, if you have a fear of people leaving you, you’re highly likely to leave them first to “protect yourself” from hurt. You think you’re protecting yourself, but in reality you are just guaranteeing the exact outcome you feared most.
4. Stay in one place – Remain in relationships over longer periods of time. Stick to a career path for years. Allow yourself to make plans for the future. Hang pictures on the wall. Create a vision board and hang it on the wall where you see it every day. Plan a vacation several weeks out and put the deposit down on the place you’ll be staying. Now you will have something to be excited for in the future that you have to “stay put” for.
5. Learn trust – The best way you can find out if you can trust anybody is to trust them. Be fully you. Be courageous and your ability to trust people will happen.