In high school one of my friends told me a deep dark secret. I can still recall with vivid detail the wide-eyed searching look on her face as she revealed herself. Honored by her trust, I held her story close to my heart. Being trusted feels good.
She shared her secret with only one other person, but that person did not deem the information so delicate. When my friend stopped speaking to me without warning, I asked the other girl what happened.
“She thinks you told people,” she said casually.
“I did not!" I said. "Which means it was you. You have to tell her. She won’t even speak to me,” I said, rooting around for a conscience in there.
She looked at me with a wry smile and said, “No way am I telling her. She’ll hate me.”
In a matter of moments, my trust fund was bankrupt.
It's difficult enough to figure out something like this when you’re an adult, but try making sense of it at age 16. All at once, my friendship was flattened by unwarranted mistrust, and a demonstration of how trust can be unapologetically abused.
The safer we feel in the world, the larger our trust fund. Someone can make a withdrawal from our fund and we may trip and fall. But secure in ourselves, we dust off and trust again. Some situations require more dusting off than others. If the withdrawal was too large, we can stay overdrawn for years or even decades.
Looking at the world from the perspective of mistrust robs us of our chance to forgive, to start over, to reinvent ourselves, and to be truly free from the scripts of our past. Unless we refill our account, we cannot create the life of our dreams.
The person who harmed us is responsible for their hurtful actions, but we are responsible for refilling our own fund. The sooner we can bring the focus back to ourselves, the better.
What can I do to trust again?
1. How big was the withdrawal?
If it was a big one, get professional support. Find a counselor who specializes in what you’ve been through and make sure you feel comfortable with that person. Once you begin getting support, remember that just like any cleanse, initially it can get worse before it gets better.
2. Don’t force feelings.
Some people believe they need to be in a space of constant light and love. This is not realistic for anyone. Sometimes we can force ourselves to forgive and forget too quickly and miss the valuable lessons in the situation. Instead, take your dark feelings to your journal, your best friend, your mat, your counselor or your dog. Get them out or they will get stuck inside you.
3. Remember that the hardest lessons carve a strength into us like nothing else can.
It's very hard to remember this in the darkest moments, but keep reminding yourself anyway. Soon your mind will catch up with your broken heart. One day you will benefit from this experience. It will help you empathize with others, and it will help you refine your own choices. That day will come.
4. Watch your language!
If you were rejected or abandoned by someone, you were not dumped! People dump garbage, toxic waste, and other unmentionables. You are not garbage and there is nothing nasty or disgusting about you. It was not a good fit anymore and something had to pry you away from that situation. Think of yourself as being released rather than dumped!
This does not necessarily mean that you need to continue your affiliation with the person. Forgiveness is more for you than the other person. It rapidly speeds up your healing process. If you don’t feel forgiving yet, give it time. When you are ready to begin the forgiveness journey but don’t quite feel it, declare to the Universe: "I am willing to learn how to forgive."
6. Make a deposit in your trust fund.
Plan something special for yourself that shows you trust in the beauty of your future. Choose something just a little bit out of your comfort zone. Plan something that truly celebrates the miracle of who you are. It might be a weekend away, a yoga retreat, or a trip to the spa. If you don’t want to spend a lot, plan a decadent visit with a special friend and pay attention to the minute details. Having something special to look forward to can help us rebuild the fund. You are absolutely worth it!