Whether you have experienced addictions firsthand, or from a loved one, or you just are a human being, and you live life, there have been times in your life that your trust has been really tested. There have been times in your life that unfortunately your trust has been violated and now you understand that trust is a necessary component of life, and you want some of it back. So however you decide to take this, whatever perspective you choose to take, all this will apply. And if you can’t find something or someone to apply this to, guess what? You can apply it to yourself. Yes, my friends, when you look in the mirror do you trust yourself, do you trust the actions and behaviors that you’ve taken over an extended period of time, when you say I’m going to do something do you trust the fact that you’re going to follow through with it?
1. Take Full Responsibility
To take full responsibility for your part there’s a wonderful saying that’s been around for a long time and it says,
Taking responsibility is the highest form of human maturity.
So when you’ve done something that’s jeopardized and impacted the trust someone has for you you gotta take responsibility for your part. When you just say, “I did something because I did something,” it’s different than saying “I did something because you did this, this and this.” That’s weak. Full responsibility says, “I’m only looking at my actions, what I said, what I did, how I behaved in certain acts, how I engaged in certain behaviors.” When you take full responsibility in the rebuilding trust process you don’t look at anything external. Maybe you do that on your own with your own time, with your own therapist, with your own sponsor, with your own journal and notepad. But when you’re taking responsibility, when someone else is involved, just look at your part because if you don’t what’s going to happen is that you’re going to say something, they’re going to say something back, you’re going to say something, they’re going to say something back, you just spin in circles and it’s hard to do. Because sometimes we do things because other people have done things. We react but when you’re trying to make things right, you’re not looking at your reaction. You’re looking at your response. How am I going to show up in this moment and just own up to what I’ve done, to what I’ve said, and how I’ve harmed them?
You’d be surprised how many people can’t take responsibility after they’ve hurt somebody. It’s a defense mechanism, yes, is it also our pride again? Yes. Is it also our ego again? Yes, but do we have to take responsibility in order to heal and rebuild trust. So whichever one it is you want to do is the one you’re going to do and if you want to rebuild trust I strongly suggest you start learning how to take full responsibility for your part – it’s the highest form of human maturity.
2. Communicate with Transparency
When trust has been breached and trust has been violated or broken, something that happens is now the two parties must communicate with each other, and sometimes the party that’s had their trust violated wants a lot of information, wants a lot of details, wants a lot of transparency, and the person who broke the trust says, “whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa, you’re asking for too much. I don’t want to give you the details of everything I’m doing, where I’m going, this and that,” but here’s the thing. What if I told you that for the person to heal they’re going to need some transparency, they’re going to need some openness, they’re going to need some proof that your actions are matching your words, especially in the initial stages of rebuilding trust. Because if you just say, “hey I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do,” what does that really mean? It’s like, “well, I don’t want to tell them everything I’m supposed to be doing.” Well, guess what? Then the person you love, that you’re trying to rebuild trust with, is staying at home, staying up at night, wondering what the heck is my loved one doing, are they still doing the same behavior, have they actually changed? The only way to bridge that is by communicating openly and honestly. And yes, I know it feels like you’re in a power disadvantage. I know it feels like the person that’s done harm has to give more to build to get back what it is they’ve lost, but that’s just where it stands. How can you expect someone to believe everything you’re saying, without telling them exactly what it is you’re doing?
I know this can cross a fine line of unhealthy communication, or codependent communication, or unrealistic expectations of communication. And I’m not saying you got to do this forever. I’m just saying you got to do it until the trust that’s been broken has started to mend a little bit, the other person can breathe a little bit, knowing that the way you’re living your life based on the actions and the promises you’ve made are matching what it is that they’re experiencing. We kind of owe it to them. There’s nothing wrong with that. Some people just don’t want to do it, “it’s none of their business what I’m doing,” and again, what happens in that moment: ego, pride, selfishness, righteousness, all that kind of stuff pops up.
Listen to understand, not to respond.
Most people in life, when someone is talking to them, all they’re doing is waiting for that person to finish so they can talk back, but what if when someone’s talking to you, you sit to actually listen to what it is they’re trying to say? What emotions are filled in those words and how you can actually just receive that information, and sometimes not even have to say anything back? Just say, “thank you for sharing all that with me, sounds like it’s been a lot. I appreciate you feeling safe enough to share all those thoughts and feelings with me right now.” Rather than waiting for them to finish, “how do you feel that way, why do you feel that way, well it’s not my fault you feel that way.” You see that we’d be surprised how much improvement in communication we could have if we just listen to others without the urge or the need to say something back right away. Beautiful things happen when we just kind of practice being a body of water that’s just calm. We want to throw rocks in it, and just see the little waves and all that kind of stuff, and calmness has a beauty to it.
3. Consistency is Key
Uphold the promises you make and follow through on your commitments. That is the defining moment that the person who you are trying to rebuild trust with starts to see with tangible evidence, with undisputed results in life that you are actually following through with what you said that you will do in order to rebuild trust. And sometimes this even happens unconsciously – you’re not doing everything you’re doing, and following through with your commitments in a consistent way with the sole intention of rebuilding trust. You’re doing it because that’s what you’re doing, and as a positive consequence of that, as a byproduct of that, the other person whose trust has been violated is looking at you and saying, “Wow, they’re actually following through.”
A lot of people start things in life, I don’t know why we just can’t finish what we start, and if you’re in a position that the world ain’t trusting you, and that’s the pattern you have of starting things that you don’t finish, guess what’s going to happen? The world ain’t gonna trust you. I’m sorry to say it so frankly. I know I wish they would trust you, but until you demonstrate that your word means something, that the actions you take, after you say something means something, that the consistency of those actions means something, that the follow-through of those actions until the task has been completed means something. And what does it all mean? That you are demonstrating to the world that you are a trustworthy human being, that you can be trusted and that you will follow through on your promises and your commitments.
If you do this single factor right there that consistency is key, you will be able to get the trust of the world behind your back. And guess what? Most importantly when you look in the mirror you’re going to trust that reflection, you’re going to trust who you are, and what you’re all about. You’re going to trust that when you say you’re going to do something you’re going to do it irregardless of what the world thinks. And man, when you start trusting the reflection in the mirror it is very easy to gain the trust of the world, very very easy.
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