The truth about trust

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You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough. Frank Crane

Trust is like love: you must have it for yourself before you can give it to someone else. No one wants to mistrust the people around them – especially when they feel themselves falling in love with someone – but sometimes finding that trust is a frustrating battle that can only be won with patience and time.

Everybody has a past that will, in some way, affect their ability to trust. Experts have said that trust is predominately based on expectation – when someone behaves as you expect, it builds trust. The more consistent the person is, the easier it is to establish their habits and patterns and form expectations.

It’s important to note that love is always trusting. So in order to truly love someone, you need to trust them. Learning to trust someone takes patience and hard work. Trust can only be rebuilt over a period of time with repeated positive experience. For example, if your partner is unfaithful, you won’t initially trust your next lover. But when someone consistently demonstrates their reliability, despite your more critical evaluation of their actions, they might earn your trust. If you really want to trust someone – be patient and don’t give up.

A lot of the time, the way back to trusting someone, particularly a new lover, is counterintuitive. You need to trust yourself to make the right decisions before you can trust somebody else.  You also need to trust that you will be ok if you do happen to get betrayed in the relationship.

If you’re in a love relationship with someone who you’re unfamiliar with, and you start experiencing anxiety about the stability of the relationship, this isn’t about trusting others – it’s about trusting yourself. It’s an issue that is likely to get worse until it is accurately identified and dealt with.

To start trusting again after you have been hurt, it’s advised that instead of looking at what you don’t trust and looking for reasons not to trust, focus on the positives and look at the things you do trust. Every time someone does something to earn your trust, remember it. If they betray your trust, try not to waste too much energy on it and move on.

According to Kathryn Williams (Fourteen things that make us trust someone, Williams, 2010 http://www.divinecaroline.com/22189/102178-fourteen-things-make-us-trust), some other elements that influence the way we trust include:
Familiarity
: the more contact you have with someone, the more you learn to trust them
Resemblance
: if they look, dress or act like you – you’re more inclined to trust them
Punctuality
: someone regularly on time signalises consistency and conscientiousness towards people
Flexibility
: we avoid people who try to explicitly negotiate or force a binding agreement
Discretion
: the ability to keep a secret and exercise tact
Transparency
: self-disclosure binds trust
Competence
: getting the job done correctly
Reciprocity
: if someone does not appear to invest in you – they will lose nothing by betraying you.

Tips on how to trust someone
– Leave the past behind – give the new person a chance. It’s easier said than done, but if you make a conscious effort, it will eventually become a habit and before you know it, you will be trusting this person fully
– Communicate effectively. If you can talk to each other about your thoughts and feelings, you’re already halfway there
– Learn more about the person – you can’t develop trust until you understand them. Discover what motivates them. See if you can predict a situation and what they would do… if you can’t, you don’t know them well enough to trust them yet – keep learning
– Watch how your new interest, or the person you are trying to trust, treats others
– Giving second chances along the way is ok if they break your trust.  Try to make sense of the situation and show that same understanding in return – it builds trust. Empathising with each other and building each other up will build trust
– Test it: try relying on them. You may trust them more than you think. When you trust a person, you believe that they have your best interest at heart. They wouldn’t do something to hurt you for the fun of it, or for selfish gain
– Remember to be positive and live in the now. Try to recognise this is a completely different person to the one who hurt you in the past and avoid looking at the relationship through lenses coloured by your past. Enjoy the relationship for what it is. Try not to look too far into the future
– Use your intuition as much as possible and let your feelings guide you. It’s ok if things take time. Read their body language where you can, but be careful not to over-analyse things
– Discuss your fears and concerns openly. Help your partner understand if you’re struggling with trust – it can create a sense of connectedness, which can lead to trust and caring
– Communicate your expectations of the new relationship early and set boundaries. Make your feelings clear on topics of fidelity, sex, money, social networking, texting and phone calls from the opposite sex.

Patience is key. Relationships aren’t meant to be rushed and if the person you’re interested in is the right one, they will have a lot of time and patience for you to build your trust. Don’t allow them to pressure you into trusting them. If they’re impatient, don’t understand or even end the relationship over it – they weren’t the right person for you to begin with. Everything happens for a reason.

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