If there is one thing I’ve learned in life it’s that a man or woman with severe trust issues becomes a magnet for malice and disrespect wherever they go. They can acquire large amounts of money, crowd approval and plaques with certifications and accolades but it’s those silent moments alone that really make or break us.
Having trust issues is like carry a backpack full of bricks around daily, with each step the load becomes heavier and not a soul knows until the person attempts to open up. With every new encounter and relationship they stay questioning, accusing and judging, wrapped up in a thick blanket of paranoia. Why wouldn’t they be? If you have been cut down enough or betrayed after years of loyalty, the thought of experiencing that trauma once again is too much to bear. The warmth of the blanket is deceptive, this is not an ideal way to function, as your are emotionally held hostage.
I remember when a really good guy friend of mine said I had trust issues; I laughed and said, “I don’t think so. I’m just making sure I don’t get hurt.” To be honest I cannot recall the situation that led to this conversation but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the dude I was seeing at the time. When you have trust issues you spend more time defending as opposed to listening and understanding.
Here are some changes I had to make in my movements, in order to have more trust in people and today in honor of Women Empowerment Month on Up 4 Discussion- I will happily share 5 of them with you:
1) Direct all accusations inward: When we have severe trust issues it doesn’t take much for the accusation button to be pressed. Once a situation begins to mirror a traumatic one from the past the mind automatically replaces logic with the memory of being in pain, when one goes near a hot flame it’s hard not to remember what it feels like to get burnt. Start to ask yourself these two questions- What about this situation reminds me of the past? Where is the evidence that this will happen again? These questions will usually calm the brain down and force you to welcome back logic into the thought process.
2) Everyone is an equal: People with trust issues tend to go into defensive mode from the jump, that’s just fear showing face really. They tend to announce that they have been hurt or do not want to be hurt without getting to know what the person is all about. Take your time and breathe. Place everyone on equal playing ground from the jump. There is no need to give a warning about not wanting to get hurt, that’s common sense boo. Instead focus on gathering as much information about a person as you can, connecting your interests & values with theirs.
3) Don’t fall for words: Often those of us with trust issues have a deep seated desire to be soothed by words, in fact that’s what may have gotten us into a position of being taken advantage of or hurt in the past. Words and verbal promises are wonderful however language is not as concrete as what our actions communicate. Learn to base your opinions of others on actions, not lyrical seduction. For example, If your partner says they want to be with you for the rest of your life and they go days without calling or show up at random moments without ever planning then you will most definitely have to determine the meaning behind that person’s words via their actions and not the other way around.
4) Ask for clarity: There is nothing wrong with asking someone to explain why they may have said or reacted a certain way. Never make an assumption that you know what anyone is thinking at any given time. Attitude in a voice does not necessarily mean rejection or disrespect, it may mean something completely different. If you care you will ask questions to check in with how a person is feeling. Sometimes it’s not necessary go in defensive mode at the sign of an unwanted behavior or tone in the voice. Trust is formed when respect is established. Respect is established when we learn to connect even when faced with attitude or opposing opinions.
5) Trust yourself: Looking back at times when I completely misjudged a person or situation I acknowledge that I did so because I did not trust myself, meaning I let pre-conceived opinions get the best of me. When I went in with my all instead of dipping my feet in secretly wishing for the worst to happen I’ve had the most success. That is with everything from a new career opportunity to relationships. When I went in fearlessly knowing that I would be fine no matter what the outcome my success rate doubled, tripled, soared.
I want women to soar, I want women to encounter all opportunities without fear or self-doubt. I want us to be better lovers so that our men feel powerful, our children walk with indescribable pride and that our wealth as a community is forever abundant. Just because you’ve had your run-in with abuse, infidelity, heart break, malice, neglect, abandonment and shame doesn’t mean that you are somehow less than, it means you have a high threshold for pain warrior. Women long before us can also relate, don’t ever feel alone, I won’t have it. We are all connected in more ways than one and we must revel in it. Revel in our attractive bodies, our special talents and our ability to regenerate impotence in all forms through true love.
Begin to empty your backpack of burdensome bricks that weigh down your ability to give and receive love. You can do it and you’ve already started by getting to the end of this post. It’s 2013 baby, and change looks good on you.