Why Bother Trusting Again?
When a relationship you once trusted tears apart, it makes it difficult to think you will ever trust someone again. When our sense of security dissolves after a long term union, being vulnerable with anyone again feels impossible. When we count on someone to be reliable and they are not, our thinking shifts. We no longer believe anyone is trustworthy, we convince ourselves no one is reliable and we tell ourselves to trust no one. Broken trust breaks our hearts, raises defenses, and steels us in such a way that keeps other people away. Yet, the very thing that reinstates us to experiencing faith in others is the very thing we resist: trusting once again.
Most of us start out early in life relying on some adult in our lives. Mom or Dad made sure we were fed. An older sibling changes our diapers and someone makes sure to cover us up with a blanket when we are cold. Unable to take care of ourselves, someone else does it for us. Then something happens and everything changes. Maybe it was the divorce of our parents, the death of one of them, physical abuse or neglect. What had once felt like a reliable world to live and grow up in, suddenly becomes a chaotic and confusing place. Kids do find a way to survive such things, but when they grow into adults, they are more wary of relying on anyone but themselves.
Distrust, unlike a physical defect, is something disguisable. It can be covered over with busyness, appearing perfect or an air of self assurance. A hard protective shell covers our mistrust in others. But just below this veneer is a heart longing to believe in someone we can count on. We wish for a helping hand, a wise word of advice or intimacy, but letting down our guard is too scary.
To trust again means we could get hurt again. It is a risk and we have to decide if the gamble is worth taking. Yet, remaining a distrustful person has its disadvantages too. There is the problem of loneliness, isolation, self-medicating, one way conversations, unresolved anger and depression.
When we are hurt by someone whom we thought trustworthy, we don’t have to throw out the rest of humanity. Not everyone is a suspect. To allow others back into our lives we will have to take baby steps of courage. And baby steps of courage can lead to having confidence once again in another human being.
Why bother trusting again? It is worth trusting again when we consider the alternative of distrust and its pathway to loneliness.