Trust is easy to break, hard to rebuild. By request from listener Kate, this week Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen offers 5 steps to put the pieces together again.
Step #4: Focus on the here and now.
If you were wronged, you may be trying your hardest, but just can’t seem to trust again.
If that’s the case, ask yourself if you’re prone to rumination or worry. Rumination is negative, repetitive thinking about the past, while worry is negative, repetitive thinking about what might happen in the future. It’s playing lowlights of the past or possible future over and over again without coming to a solution.
If that’s the case, when you catch yourself, bring yourself back to here and now. Look at your partner’s current behavior and the current state of your union rather than what happened or what might happen. You can call this mindfulness, or you can simply call it seeing your life as it is.
Step #5: Take a leap of faith.
Having faith in your partner is the hardest but most necessary part of rebuilding trust. The same classic 1985 paper defines faith as the belief that your partner will act in loving and caring ways whatever the future holds.
Letting yourself be vulnerable is the only way to discover if your partner will be responsive and caring, or will let you down again.
By contrast, if you avoid contentious issues or have everything defined by rules, there’s no room to take that necessary leap of faith. To understand that you’re truly safe, you ned to go beyond the evidence of predictability and dependability you accumulated in Step #3.
This means letting your partner out of the holding pattern. It means deciding to trust your partner even though you don’t know what the future holds.
But once you do, it means getting back a trusting relationship. And that is something worth taking a leap of faith.
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