Trust. It’s one of those intangible aspects of life and relationships; elusive, yet necessary. When we trust people, we put our confidence in them, and expect they’ll be honest, faithful, keep their promises, and stay committed and respectful to the relationship. However, because we’re also human and fallible, we sometimes make mistakes which damage or break that trust bond. If the relationship is worth salvaging, trust needs to be rebuilt, because without trust, there is no foundation on which a healthy relationship can grow and thrive.
Tips for Rebuilding Trust
1. Forgive. In order to move forward, you MUST forgive each other, and yourselves. This means each person acknowledges and takes responsibility for their part in the situation; remember there are always two sides at play. If you continually hold something over the other person’s head, you can fully expect to stay in a holding pattern of anger and resentment which will only exacerbate the problem. If you’re truly committed to moving forward, you must exchange forgiveness.
2. Keep Expectations Realistic. Trust grows from being honest, and feeling safe enough to share yourself with another – it’s not about being perfect. Sometimes our standards are so high they can set people up for failure – especially after a trust-damaging incident. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and look at the situation from THEIR perspective. Are you being realistic in what you can expect from them based on their personality and past experiences/history?
3. Be Committed To Change. The person who broke the trust bond must commit to and be serious about not repeating the mistake again. Any issues surrounding the why the trust was broken in the first place must be dealt with by both parties and brought into the open. Dishonesty is usually a symptom of something greater going on (control issues, fear of abandonment etc.), so by figuring out the root of the problem, you’re able to fix it that much easier.
4. Know Your Limits. Sometimes it is not possible to rebuild trust, at least not at that time. Listen to your gut and understand what you’re capable of; if you’re miserable in a situation that just doesn’t seem to be getting better, take a time-out. Sometimes we need to step back in order to figure out what’s really best for us.
5. Celebrate Your Strengths. Try not to focus only on fixing the negatives; remember the positive aspects of your relationship as well. It’s easy to get weighed down by an emotional crisis, but everything does pass.