DEAR JIM: HOW CAN I LEARN TO TRUST AGAIN?
If you have lived very long on this earth, you have had to deal with a broken trust. This is even truer for most single adults. A trust has been extended, sometimes for years, only to find that they were taken advantage of and the other person usually broke their trust more than once. How does one find a way to trust again?
There is a truth to the statement that ‘it takes a lifetime to build trust, but only a moment to lose it.’
How to trust again
Let me share some thoughts for those who are have had their trust broken and are trying to find a way to get to the point that they can trust again – an essential element in every relationship.
The first thing that takes place when one comes to realize that their trust has been broken is a time of ‘grieving’. Grieving is a process and involves a lot of emotions to process THROUGH before one can even begin to think about trusting again. The common cycles for grieving are:
Processing through this period of time can find one bouncing around back and forth between these stages until they finally reach a point of acceptance. Acceptance is not liking what took place but coming to a point and time of realizing that it happened and is over. Now they can move on to making healthy choices.
Be around positive people and activities
During and after this process it is important that one be involved in and around people and activities that are good for them. It is a very vulnerable time and too often singles make poor choices that add to the misery and brokenness that they are striving desperately to heal.
Recovering from broken trust also changes the focus internally and away from others. A good step to take to help change this focus is to find a good volunteer group to join so that you will be involved in helping others.
Develop deep friendships
Here is a big element to recovering in this area that many singles neglect. A big step one can take is to find one other Christian of their own gender to develop a deeper friendship and accountability rapport. Thought should be given to expanding this to one or two more as they surface and are compatible with this group. This will greatly aid in beginning to trust others.
The above accountability group can also serve as a great resource in helping the single to understand where they may be allowing themselves to be more exposed in trusting others than perhaps they should be.
If necessary, seek help from a counsellor
If after several months of time have passed and you have done the above steps and you find that you still have a significant challenge in trust, I would highly recommend that you find a Christian counsellor to help guide you through this time. I would go one step further to say that you should consider even beginning with a counsellor IF you find this an unusually strong emotion that you are wrestling with.
Place yourself in healthy environments…
You can and will trust again. My concern is what defenses you may build within yourself that are not healthy and that do not move you toward finding a healthy relationship in your future. At first you will be in self-protection mode as you ensure that you will not be hurt again. If you make wise choices and place yourself into healthy environments, you will move out of this stage and begin to see the world from a different perspective.
God wants to guide you
God wants to guide you to these better days. That is why His Spirit is within you all the time as well as other Christians and His resources such as this ministry. May He guide you and inspire you to days of great joy – and trust!