Every time I’ve trusted people in the past I’ve been let down, so at one point in my life I decided it would be easier and less painful to just rely on myself. And it worked for a while.
But the problem was, that I just went to the opposite side. And I was lonely. Moving from totally trusting other people that they will not hurt me or betray me to 100% believe that they will and avoid them, solved nothing.
On top of that for that to happen I have to remain single. Deep down I wanted to be in a loving relationship so badly but I just didn’t trust anyone enough to let him closer to me.
So that didn’t work for me either.
That’s when I start the process of releasing painful memories of past betrayal from childhood and past relationship, starting with many harmful friendship experiences.
I start to ask myself question such as What if it’s not about trusting other people that they will never let you down?
What if it’s also not about not trusting them at all and trusting only myself, relay only on myself?
Because I tried both approach and neither of them was working for me. That’s when I question myself, what if Byron Katie is right when she says
“I trust everyone. I trust everyone to do what they do, and I’m never disappointed. And since I trust people, I know to let them find their own way.”
Even though it’s not easy to live that, I have to admit that approaching my trust issue that way helps me to open up to others. It helped me to trust myself more not because no one else is there that I could rely on, but because that gave me power over my life back.
Now I see trust in someone else as a belief, an expectation, that someone will behave a certain way and that puts responsibility for my life on someone else. And that means that I gave power over my life to someone else. The moment I gave my power away, I am on the way to becoming a powerless victim instead of being in control of my life.
The more I removed expectations for others, the more I was able to trust myself. Trust the small voice inside me that’s more or less always know, whom to trust and whom not to trust.
But not only that. If I listen to that voice inside me, it will tell me, when my partner is not being fully himself, being overwhelmed by identities. Identities that’s better not to trust.
This small voice inside me will also whisper to me when I would get caught in playing roles and not being my authentic self.
How did I get here, to that place of trusting my inner voice, that it will always show me when to trust others and when not to?
Steps to build trust in a relationship, that worked for me:
- Healing childhood wounds that affect your trust in a relationship
- Practice the art of trusting yourself.
- Practice small task to deepen the trust between you and your partner.
- Accept that you and your partner are doing the best you can.
- Trust the Universe: it has your back!
Healing childhood wounds that affect your trust in a relationship
From the day I was born (or maybe even before, in my mother’s womb) I move from totally trusting my parents to believing that my parents can’t be trusted, my teacher’s can be trusted, my friends can’t be trusted. The events like being left alone as a toddler in a room, where some blanket near the stove caught the fire and screaming and nobody came to rescue me for what it seems for eternity. It all ended with my father rescue me before anything happen to me, but the trust was broken.
One of the scientific studies shows that people who have experienced trauma as a child, have a lower level of trust hormone (oxytocin) and have lower oxytocin responses.
That is not surprising. If someone was not protected from bad things or treated badly, their brain and body learn that people can’t be trusted and therefore shuts down production of the trust hormone.
This is why people with painful childhood have a very hard time trusting their partner, even when there is no logical reason for that.
READ more: How to heal childhood trauma
Practice the art of trusting yourself.
“You trust you’ll know what you need to know just when you need to know it.” Penney Peirce
We are often told to trust our inner voice. But when we have spent our childhood listening and following other people’s voices, we even don’t know how to do that. Somewhere in the back of your mind, we still believe it is not safe to listen to that voice. It got me in so much trouble when I was 5 or 6 or 10, that I train myself to shut it down. How can we begin to trust ourselves again?
The ultimate trust is not to trust another person, but yourself. Trust that you will be open enough in life to receive from life itself. Trust that you will be open enough to notice when you can trust your partner and when he needs help and you need to turn to somebody else regarding a specific task or help that you need.
Nobody is perfect, not you, not me and certainly, your partner is no exception. That’s why you need to trust yourself, your inner voice. The voice of your inner wisdom, some call it intuition. That voice will help you and whisper to you when your partner is going thru difficulty and he is not even able to trust himself and is little lost (as we all are).
So, you could help him and instead of trust him, trust your inner voice for guidance and be there for him, while he is going thru a dark period. And he will do the same for you when you will be lost and could not be the best possible for you. When you will be in the process of dealing with problems or releasing pain from the past.
Practice small task to deepen the trust between you and your partner.
- Trust your partner that he is capable of doing any task he takes
Trusting your partner that he is capable of doing something, will always increase the level of trust.
It doesn’t matter if it’s taking care of kids or doing any small task in your household, do not control him or doubt or give advice or comments.
Trust him, without controlling or interfering that he will do the best he can. Ask him to do the same for you.
I have to admit that sometimes I am guilty of interfering, especially with kids. But I’m getting better, the more I pay attention to that.
- Share your dreams and plans in advance.
The uncertainty about your plans and dreams that your partner has, leads to chronic stress, which inhibits the release of oxytocin-trust hormone and lowers the trust.
Like the story about Jim, who always postpone telling his wife about his business trip to the last day. He knew she will be upset, left alone with two small kids to deal with all by herself on top of working full time.
But he never understood fully how much these diminish trust between them. She never knew when he will surprise her again the last minute and she will be left with searching for help on such short notice.
- Ask your partner for the support that you need.
Being vulnerable and asking for help, make our partner trust us more, because we open up, show our weakness and our human nature. We all know how good it feels to help somebody that you love. how that brings you closer.
Accept that you and your partner are doing the best you can.
True trust is a surrender.
I took a leap of faith with trusting that my partner is doing the best that he can.
The ultimate trust is, I trust you that you will do whatever is best for you.
If that includes me, fine.
If it doesn’t then that’s mean that life has something better for me in the future.
I can’t do anything about that. I trust life, I trust the universe that it will provide the best for me.
I trust that my partner will do the best he can at the moment.
I trust him is a whole sentence.
I don’t set up a condition that he needs to be that or that. That’s not trusting. That he needs to do that or that according to some rule book about relationship. That’s not trusting.
That’s setting up for failure. I trust him that he will do the best he is capable at the moment. If that means that he will disappoint me, it just is what it is. It still doesn’t mean that he did not do the best he was capable of (taking into consideration the baggage that we all drag along from the past to some extent)
I trust that life will show me what next.
Trust doesn’t mean that he will be perfect. I know that I could not be perfect.
Trust means that I trust myself to follow what life will bring me. Trust means that I trust myself that I will be capable to go thru all that. If I stay or not, life will give me a sign.
I will surrender to life.
I know that we usually start from the opposite end and start to collect evidence that we could trust our partner and then we trust more and more.
Why? If you don’t trust your partner, he will hide things from you. He will try to earn your trust by being what you want him to be. All these will build a lot of pressure in your relationship, a lot of unnecessary tension. And guess what? One day you will wake up, still not openly trust him and it will be too much for him. He will need to find somebody else, with whom he could relax and be open, not pretending that he is perfect and totally able to do everything right, never disappoint you. Then it will come the day when he will find that person.
And your fears and doubts about trusting him will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s one of the main reasons, why I trust others, why I trust my partner. Because I learn the hard way that half of the trust is being able to trust fully, otherwise there will be pretense self of me and him trying to build trust with each other. An impossible job, if you ask me. A lot of hard work.
Trust the Universe: it has your back!
I don’t trust people, I trust the universe that will help me to decide when to trust others and when not to. Since I do that my life became easier. I could relax and stop working hard to gain or get trust from others.