"Look at what you bring to the world, not what you lack." - Miranda Kate

Monday, 28 May 2018

Trust issues: how to resolve them & be more you

Image showing the silhouette of a willow tree with the sun behind it, with text: Trust that the sun will rise, Trust that you will stand strong, Trust yourselfDo you struggle trusting people? 

Are you never sure if they are going to support you?

Do you second guess the decisions you make?

“Trust is earned when actions meet words.”- Chris Butler

I’ve spent a lot of my life being unsure about the people around me. I want to trust them but I don’t know if I can. I pledge myself: my loyalty, my time, my care, my interest, but time and again I am let down, disappointed and hurt.

For me it started within my own family, first with my mother and then with my sister. Being family I automatically trusted them to love me, to care about me, be there for me and be supportive of me. And when their actions and their words said otherwise, I believed that it was my fault, that I was doing something wrong. So I’d remain open and trusting, leaving myself open to more abuse, allowing the cycle to repeat itself. 

I knew with my mother early on that it was her and not something I was doing, so I took steps to limit the contact I had with her once I left home, reducing the toxic effect on my mental and emotional health. I did, however, have moments where I thought it was safe to ‘let her in again’ only to find that I was mistaken. By the time I started my own family I had learnt to keep a tight control on how much I interacted with her, and still do to this day.

With my sister it took many more years to realise the extent to which my trust was being abused. My sister had been someone I could turn to about my mother, but I realised that although she showed me one face, she showed another to my family, telling them private things I had trusted her with, as well as claiming I had done things I hadn’t. When I refused to continue tolerating this, it created two large show downs over a span of five years, and sadly resulted in a complete disconnect, which remains to this day. 

“The only way to win with a toxic person is not to play.” - Unknown

Looking back, I realise that the abuse of my trust and the self-blame I put myself through has been going on since I was a young child. It affected my ability to form and create lasting relationships and friendships. It caused me to second guess everyone around me, breaking off perfectly good friendships and in some cases withdrawing entirely, especially from social interaction. 

I reached a point where I knew it had to change. I couldn’t continue to live in isolation, emotionally and physically. So I asked myself, how can I change this? How can I start trusting and being open again? 

I understood the reasons behind my problem, but I needed to heal from the trauma of it. I had taken the first step by removing the people who were toxic to me, but how did I risk exposing myself to other people who could be potentially toxic too?

I found the answer in the dictionary:

Trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth or ability of someone or something. 
Synonyms: confidence, faith, belief, sureness.

And the person I had to have confidence, faith, belief, and sureness in was myself

“Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.”- Benjamin Spook

I realised that trust is like seeking approval: you can seek it externally but only once you give it to yourself will you start to live the life you are looking for. 

If I started to trust myself and be sure of myself, then it didn’t matter what the people around me said or did, I knew I was there to support me and care about me. If they wanted to as well, great, but I no longer needed to worry about trusting them, because I could trust myself.

But how do you start going about doing that? 

It starts by listening to yourself: hearing how you feel about something, hearing what you believe about it, and being honest with yourself. 

“Listen to your own voice, your own soul. Too many people listen to the noise of the world, instead of themselves.” – Leon Brown

I don’t mean listening to the chatter of negative thoughts in your head, I mean listening to your heart. 

Be still with yourself a moment and ask: 

How do you feel about you?
What do you want to do with your life?
Who do you want to be?
Who do you really believe you are?
What are the things you love?
What are the things you hate? 

Listen to the answers.

All of us have an inner child:  a version of ourselves inside that still feels as we did when we were a child. Sometimes that child still feels sad or upset or disappointed by life and people. We need to nurture that child within, comfort them, and love them. Listen to their feelings, believe and trust them. Because that child is us. 

“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?” – Danielle LaPorte

I then understood that the inner peace and calm I was looking for came from connecting to my feelings: listening and believing them. Being honest with myself meant that I could trust myself to live my truth. I no longer second guessed myself and thus the people around me. I knew who I was. I no longer had a desire to alter myself to suit others: if they weren’t happy with who I was then they didn’t need to be in my life. 

And as an added bonus, as a result of trusting myself, I gained a sense of security within myself, of self-assurance and self-belief, and the feeling that I was OK, so everything around me was OK. 

Why don’t you try it? Surely no one is more deserving of your trust than you. 

"The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become." - Gisele Bundchen

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