According to Webster's dictionary, trust is defined as a belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc. Is that your definition of trust? I will be perfectly honest and admit that it's not always been my definition of trust. Let me give you some real life examples and share my experience here.
I have been married to my husband for nearly two years. In that amount of time he has been consistent, respectful, open, honest and transparent. He has never lied to me, kept anything from me, mistreated me, manipulated me or cheated on me. He is a man who is full of integrity, trust and authenticity. And yet...There's a disconnect there which is very clear to me.
I have attempted to navigate this issue in many ways: ignoring it, avoiding it, shutting it down, lying about it, staying so busy it can't touch me and none of them have been effective at all. Many of you already know that I'm a psychotherapist and a life coach. As such, I constantly tell my clients that resisting a feeling is only going to make it grow bigger and bigger. I empower all of my clients to instead just take a few moments and actually experience the feeling that is surfacing for them. Resistance is futile, because the feelings demand to be experienced!
Anyone who has ever interacted with me is acutely aware that my poker face sucks, so there's no ability to pretend I'm happily and madly in love, when secretly I think he's messing around with other women. Which doesn't mean I don't occasionally try, but it remains the same nevertheless.
I suspect that the vast majority of people have trust issues. We live in a culture where some people lie as if it's a game, manipulate as if it's their passion, and are dishonorable at the drop of a hat. Let's get real for a moment: Some of us have been abused, neglected, cheated on and left. At some point, every adult comes to the fork in the road that says "Do you want to be bitter or better?" At which point, we make the decision to forgive and to let go of the hurt, anger and fear. We are gliding along the road of life until we get into another relationship and experience a trigger. And then BAM we are back there again!
I am absolutely willing to admit that trust is not something that I come by naturally. I'm an observer by nature, so my primary skill set is to sit back and observe. I have recently made the decision that I'm unwilling to allow mistrust into my existence. So I am taking the following actions/steps to overcome these issues:
1. Make a decision: This more than likely sounds a little hokey. My experience as a mindset coach is that everything comes back to thoughts and decisions. Making the commitment to trust my husband sets the very firm foundation for trust to flourish and grow there. Without the decision (which act as a commitment) there is very little possibility of true growth.
2. Acknowledge the fear: From now on, each time that pesky thought creeps into my brain I will be telling my husband. I'm acutely aware that this is counter intuitive for most of us. But here's the thing: I have a very open, honest, and transparent relationship with my husband. As such, expressing the thought simply takes the power away from the thought and fear, and returns it to us.
3. Laugh despite the pain: The reality is my fear of my husband cheating has nothing to do with him. It has everything to do with every mismatched man I was with before him who couldn't manage to be faithful or honest. So I will make a joke and laugh about it. Fear and jealousy are lower vibrational responses to stimuli. By engaging in laughter I'm not only changing the vibration, but I'm raising it as well. That seems to be a very empowering response.
4. Forgive easily: This may shock you, but I don't mean forgiving our partners. I am absolutely convinced that the forgiveness needs to be focused on ourselves! My experience is this; each and every time I struggled with trusting my husband, I massively beat myself up! This is one of the most counterproductive activities I have experienced. We are all only human after all. Maybe you need to cut yourself some slack as well!
5. Speak it into existence: In the past, when I was struggling to trust my husband I have been known to just send him a quick text that says, "I trust you completely!" Because my husband is a very gracious person, who typically responds with, "Thank you. I love you!" This type of interaction doesn't create some big long drama or debate, it's just easily accepted.
6. Act as if: There's a lot of magic held in this phrase. Acting as if allows the energy to be focused on creating the experience for us. Therefore, if I act as if I completely and wonderfully trust him completely then I am creating the environment for this experience to occur. This example is true in every area of my life!
7. Accountability: I have people in my life that I can text, email or IM at any point in my life and say, "So I decided that my husband is a lying cheating fool. What do you think" And they will call me on the craziness that is occurring within my head. This is done in an effort, energy and spirit of love and compassion. I'm massively grateful to these people in my life!
8. Check the ego: For me there's a huge connection between prior hurts and my ego working to keep me safe from being hurt again. I suspect that my ego is responsible for the majority of the lack of trust I experience.My ego, really does love me and wants me to be healthy and happy. However, it can be very self-condemning. Naming my ego has helped tremendously. So sometimes I just call it by name and tell it to stop. This is one of my favorite techniques!
I've said it before, and I firmly believe that many people in the world today are hurt and have some trust issues. How different would the world be if we created an environment to take back our power and reclaim our right to trust? I would love to hear from you and what progress you are making to overcome your trust issues.
Jenn Bovee is a psychotherapist and Life Coach. She offers in person sessions and distance/online sessions.Learn more about her here.