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Relearning How to Trust: Establishing Trust with Yourself after It's Been Broken

Trust is a delicate aspect of our lives that, once broken, can be challenging to rebuild. Whether you've experienced betrayal, disappointment, or made mistakes yourself, relearning how to trust is essential for personal growth and overall well-being.

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Photo: Media from Wix

Trust is a valuable component in our lives. It gives us the confidence to relax and enjoy life, knowing that someone or something has our back and will take care of us if needed. Trust is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. So when we experience a breach of trust, we are shaken to our core. The cracks in our once solid foundation, gives way for self blame, loathing, and doubt to seep in.

When this happens, we begin to question everything and everyone around us. We become hyper-vigilant in our relationships, constantly looking for clues that they are not what they appear. This can be exhausting and leave us feeling even more isolated than before the betrayal occurred.

Rebuilding trust is a challenging and delicate process and it starts with mending the most important relationship you'll ever have, the one with yourself.

When trust is broken, it can be easy to default to ourselves in order to explain why it happened. In the following sections, we'll discuss best practices for gradually establishing trust with yourself after it has been shattered and end the vicious cycle of self-blame in its tracks.

Rebuilding trust is a challenging and delicate process and it starts with mending the most important relationship you'll ever have, the one with yourself.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

The first step in regaining self-trust is to acknowledge and accept your emotions. It's natural to feel hurt, angry, or confused when trust has been broken. Take the time to acknowledge these emotions, write in a journal, or discuss them with a trusted friend or therapist.

A word of caution, be careful not to internalize these feelings. It's tempting to blame yourself for the actions of others or to see yourself as being responsible for what someone else has. Don’t do this. This is a destructive habit that can lead you down a path of self-blame and low self-esteem. Instead, try to focus on acknowledging your feelings and accepting that the emotions are there.

By opening yourself up to feel, you begin the process of healing.

Practice Self-Compassion

During this journey, it's crucial to practice self-compassion. Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes, and this applies to you as well. Treat yourself with kindness, patience, and understanding. While we like to think we should have known better, the reality is we see what we want to see. We nurture our relationships with optimism. Do not equate letting your guard down as a sign of weakness.

When we decide to let people into our lives, it’s normal to want to believe they have our best interest at heart. This is not naive, but rather a sign of strength. It takes strength to be vulnerable enough to let someone in your life.

Set Realistic Expectations

Setting unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and further erosion of trust. Be honest with yourself and set achievable goals when learning how to trust yourself again.

Don’t set out to do things that are beyond your capabilities. Understand that relearning to trust in yourself is a process in rebuilding your self-confidence. This takes time. Rebuild at your own pace and anticipate setbacks. If you find yourself moving faster than you're comfortable with or beyond what you have the strength for, slow down.

Start small, take one step at a time, and celebrate each milestone you achieve.

Consistency is Key

Rebuilding trust requires consistency in your actions and behavior. Stay true to your word and commitments. Consistency, however, does not mean perfection. You will waver and that's okay. Get back on track once you realize you've veered off course. The goal is gradual progress toward consistency.

Show up for yourself and follow through on the promises you make, whether they are big or small. By demonstrating consistency, you send a message to yourself that you can be trusted.

Practice Forgiveness

Sometimes, the only way to move forward is to let go of past mistakes and forgive yourself. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what happened was okay or that you were responsible for someone else’s behavior. It means letting go of resentment and anger so that you can focus on moving forward toward personal growth.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People

Building a support network of people who are both trustworthy and supportive is vital to building your self-trust. You want to surround yourself with people who are willing to listen when you’re feeling down, celebrate your achievements, encourage you when progress feels slow, and provide accountability for the things that matter most in life.

Seek out friends, family, or a therapist who can provide guidance, encouragement, and a safe space for you to share your thoughts and challenges. Their support will help you regain confidence and clarity along the way.

Practice Mindfulness

Engaging in mindfulness exercises can be helpful in rebuilding trust with yourself. Practice being fully present in the moment and cultivate self-awareness. This will help you identify triggers or negative thought patterns that may hinder your progress.

When you practice mindfulness, you'll be able to explore your experience in a way that's nonjudgmental and accepting. This will help you gain insight into what's happening within you and around you.

By staying mindful, you can make conscious choices that align with rebuilding trust

Consistency is key. Show up for yourself and follow through on the promises you make, whether they are big or small. By demonstrating consistency, you send a message to yourself that you can be trusted.

Celebrate Progress

Don't forget to celebrate your progress, no matter how small it may seem. Recognize and acknowledge the efforts and achievements you make as you gradually rebuild trust. Celebrating milestones will reinforce the belief that you are capable of change and growth.

Relearning how to trust yourself is a challenging but worthwhile journey. By acknowledging your feelings, practicing self-compassion, setting realistic expectations, demonstrating consistency, practicing forgiveness, seeking support, practicing mindfulness, and celebrating progress, you can gradually establish trust with yourself after it has been broken. Remember, trust is a process, and with time and patience, you will regain confidence and belief in your own abilities.


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