Every time you neglect to take a stand or protect your time or energy, you send a message to yourself that you can't be trusted.
Should You Trust Them? 10 Questions To Ask.
Trust Is Risky Business
By LAURIE MOISON
Trust is risky business. It involves the risk that the trusted person will pull through for us by safeguarding whatever it is we have put into their possession. Some trust involves relatively minor issues that are pretty straightforward. You take your clothes to the drycleaner and trust that in exchange for $5, you will receive your beautiful cashmere sweater back nice and clean. If the drycleaner messes up and shrinks it to a pre-teen size, you lose a sweater, which can probably be replaced for a reasonable sum.
Relationship-based trust involves higher stakes. In this type of trust, we allow ourselves to become vulnerable to another based on an assumption that this person means us well. When we marry, most people stand at an altar and promise to stay together “until death do them part.” We entrusted our future and our hearts to someone because we had faith they would take good care of what we had given them and “always be there for us.”
When it all falls apart in divorce, we can feel betrayed and our ability to trust others and trust ourselves can be shattered. After all, we picked this person and it didn’t work out. Feeling confident that we have a good handle on when trust is and isn’t warranted is an essential part of moving ahead after divorce. It’s also crucial to the success of future relationships.
HOW TO REGAIN TRUST IN YOURSELF
Often those who have been betrayed live in the agony of self-doubt and engage in constant second-guessing about their decisions. So, before you can begin to trust others, you have to find a way back to trusting yourself. Here are three steps you can take to rebuild your trust in yourself.
1. Understand how you got into the situation.
Einstein said, “If mankind is to survive. We will need new ways of doing things. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you always got.” So, after you spend some time grieving the end of your marriage, it’s important to take a step back and understand your part in the breakdown of the relationship. This is not about taking blame. It’s about seeing what didn’t serve you.
Ohio State University Professor Dr. Roy Lewicki says, “Take stock and ask yourself how did I contribute to the problem? Was I too naïve? Did I step over red flags? Did I allow something I was uncomfortable with? Are there things in the way I make decisions that I need to take a look at?” Once you get clear about how your beliefs and actions contributed to the problem, you are in a great place to develop new beliefs and learn new behaviors that will contribute to creating the kind of outcomes you want.
2. Listen to your intuition.
Your intuition is a valuable early warning system that something or someone is either good for you or not good for you. Our intuition is often based on things we are observing about how the other person conducts their life. “Our trust in another individual can be grounded in our evaluation of his or her ability, integrity, and benevolence. The more we observe these characteristics in another person, the more our level of trust is likely to grow,” Dr. Lewicki said.
According to Dr. Lewicki, assessing another’s abilities involves analyzing that person’s skills, knowledge, and competencies so that we are assured they have what it takes to perform in a way that will meet our expectations. Assessing another’s integrity involves asking yourself whether that person’s past actions, communications, and commitment to standards of fairness adhere to principles acceptable to you. Assessing their benevolence involves observing actions such as honest and open communication, delegating decisions, and sharing control. Actions such as these show this person is concerned enough about our welfare to advance our interests or at least not torpedo them.
If someone is regularly failing to meet your standards of ability, integrity, and benevolence, pay attention to that sick feeling in your gut and act accordingly.
3. Develop good boundaries.
Boundaries are imaginary lines we establish around ourselves to protect our souls, hearts, and minds from the unhealthy or damaging behavior of others. In her bestselling book, “Stand Up For Your Life,” Cheryl Richardson writes, “Every time you neglect to take a stand or protect your time and energy, you send a message to yourself that you can't be trusted.” When you allow someone to treat you disrespectfully, self-loathing develops. Let’s face it, if we don’t stand up for ourselves, who will?
When boundaries are weak, we attract needy, disrespectful people into our lives. They waste a lot of your energy. And when boundaries are healthy, trust is rarely an issue and fear is diminished. Family and friends respect you more and you start growing more emotionally, she writes.
HOW TO ENFORCE BOUNDARIES
Yes. It is possible to enforce boundaries and still have friends, but you'll want to be big about how you handle this. Respond immediately at the first sense that the other person is about to get near or cross your boundary. If you wait, you are playing a hopeful or victim game. Do not be a DQ (drama queen). Stop the disturbs before they happen — and most are predictable if you'll make the commitment to take care of yourself this well.