Why Bother To Trust Again?
To trust and rely on others is a basic human need. But, when that trust is broken our hearts break, our defenses go up and we become guarded individuals. Our thinking shifts after an experience of shattered trust. We may think that our best defense from ever feeling disappointment in someone again is to keep ourselves from ever trusting anyone again. It is a natural response. But, just because it is natural does not make it good. The very thing that reinstates us to experiencing faith in others is the very thing we resist: trusting once again.
It can be difficult to think of ever trusting someone again. Being vulnerable may feel impossible, even life threatening. When we’ve counted on someone to be there for us and they are not, our thinking shifts, not only about them specifically, but about everyone in general. We may no longer believe that anyone is trustworthy.
When my father ended his own life, my defense shields went up. Suddenly what had once felt like a reliable world, suddenly became chaotic and confusing. I found a way to survive such a thing as my father’s suicide, but when I grew into an adult, every person I encountered was suspect to leaving me high and dry just as my father had.
Distrust, unlike a physical defect, is something disguisable. It can be covered over with busyness, maintaining an impeccable appearance or putting on a false bravado. Though mistrusting individuals may wear a hard outer shell of protection, our thin veneer covers a heart longing to believe in someone. We wish for someone whom we can rely on. But letting down the guard is too risky. To trust again means we could get hurt again.
To trust again is a risk. 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 means taking baby steps of courage. And baby steps of courage can lead to gaining confidence once again in another human being.
Why bother trusting again? It is worth trusting again when you consider the alternative of distrusting and being alone.