Trust is a fragile thread, and if you are over the age of six, someone has broken your trust, or you have lived a very protected life.
Once trust is broken, then what? Can it be rebuilt? Do you hold the rest of the people in your life as emotional hostages because of one untrustworthy person in your life? You can, but it won’t get you far. Blaming others for the dishonesty of one person may seem brilliant from your perspective. But walk around to the other side, and view the relationship through the eyes of the person who is befriending you. The situation looks like you are demanding a long series of proofs, of jumping through hoops, to earn your friendship and trust. In a new friendship, you may not be worth it yet.
It’s easy to turn bitter after trust has been broken, to suspect the next person (and the next and the next) will also hurt you. And if you look very closely at every relationship you build, you will find tiny cracks and flaws in everyone. After a while, you will spot flaws from far away, and then just assume everyone is flawed. And they are. But that doesn’t make them unworthy of your friendship.
It’s a brave thing to trust again after trust has been broken. It makes you vulnerable. What if you are a bad judge of character? Are you ready to slip down another sharp-stoned slide that leaves you in a heap at the bottom?
New people in your life are not responsible for what others did to you. If you hold them responsible for your past, you won’t be able to trust them with your future.
Each person you meet deserves fresh trust. Each person you want to befriend is a risk. And you are a risk to them, too. It’s hard to start trusting again after a bruised ego, a broken heart, a stab in the back. The lesson you learn runs backward, to one person. Hold them accountable for the damage they caused. You don’t have to continue a friendship that’s been damaged beyond repair.
On the other hand, don’t make the rest of the world responsible for your past, either. The dawn is always fresh, and as Rainer Maria Rilke said, “No emotion is final.”
–Quinn McDonald knows a good deal about the DIY-aspect of trust.