Trust is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: a belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc. I’m sure every human being has, at one time or another, had their trust hurt if not broken. In my life, I had this habit of always picking the exact wrong guy for me. I’m sure they were nice people, but I deserved someone who could stay faithful to the relationship. I didn’t really believe that I had trust issues until I met my husband. In my head, intellectually, I knew and understood that he was faithful to me and would never break my trust. However, there was that occasional small voice in my head that would say, “You are not ______ enough. She’s cuter… They are probably getting together.” It was this same voice that convinced me that I needed to check his email, Facebook messenger, texts, etc. This habit was always magnified when my worthiness issues would be stimulated. I’m well aware that this is not a respectful and trusting way to behave. However, there was a point in time when that’s exactly how my life was. I didn’t even realize that the men I was with in the past were serially cheating. But the stimuli did not meet the current situation. I didn’t want to not trust my husband. I love him more than life, and I know he would do anything to protect me (which includes not hurting me). I took a few simple actions (not easy, but relatively simple) that revolutionized my trust in him.
If you are struggling with trusting a spouse, a partner, a friend, a person who you are just getting to know please apply these steps. I want you to know you deserve more! You deserve to fully and completely trust the other person as well as yourself! Here are the steps I took to increase the amount of trust I have in my life:
- I made a decision: On some level I’m sure that sounds trite. However, it’s really that simple. On a daily, hourly, minute by minute, basis I made the decision “I trust my husband. I am trustworthy.” Sometimes I wrote that statement hundreds of time a day, other days it was simply something I uttered out loud to the Universe.
- Acted as if: No matter what philosophical convictions you ascribe to this mentality has a great deal of validity. Many days, once I made the decision it was easy to act as if I trusted him. However, if he got a text and he smiled while reading it, I did something different. In that moment, I made the decision to act as if I completely trusted him. It was so freeing.
- Reality Checking: Looking back, I cannot imagine how much differently my life would have been if I had said, “It seemed to take you 9 minutes to walk from the driveway to the house. Am I valid in feeling insecure about that?” So when A + B = he’s cheating on me, I voice those things today because he deserves to know where my head’s at. Additionally, I don’t deserve to hold on to those toxic feelings/emotions today.
- Getting out of my own head: In the beginning of our relationship some of the old baggage was so overwhelming that I was drowning in my own fears, doubts, worries, and concerns. When those moments began to hit I would: clean something, write a list of positive things about him, make a list of all the great times we did together, make something for him or someone else.
- Do something kind for someone else: This is one of my favorite things to do to this day! Sometimes it’s extravagant things like sending someone flowers without signing the card. Other times it’s more practical things such as: paying for the car behind me at Starbucks, sending someone a card telling them how great they are without signing it, letting someone else have the perfect parking spot. Whatever you do, make sure you do it with a smile.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate: Seriously, this is the biggest thing for me. I am a very transparent person. I don’t do secrets, lies, and manipulation well. My husband and close friends know the details of my past. We can be walking down the mall and I can in a half second moment tell my husband I’m feeling insecure or paranoid, and it’s okay.
- Be kind to yourself: Do something nice for yourself daily. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but taking action in a loving manner towards yourself helps to heal your issues. For me these things range from getting myself a good book, buying myself some inexpensive flowers, or taking a really long bath.
- Journal: This is one of the things that changed my attention and focus immediately. Everyday I would focus on three great qualities my husband has. Even the most difficult relationship can come up with three positives about the other person. On particularly difficult days I would also make a short list of ways that he was trustworthy. It changed everything!
- Forgive: The definition of forgiveness that I use is giving up the hope of a different or better yesterday. It takes the people, places, and emotions out of the dynamic. Which means that it lets all of us off the hook. Once I forgave myself, and everyone else involved, it made it so much easier to love.
I don’t believe that trust can happen in a vacuum. However, I do believe that there are layers of trust. Every single day that I work on healing myself and my experiences I trust the people in my life a little deeper.
Jenn Bovee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides spiritual counseling and life coaching. Learn more about her here: www.JennBoveeLCSW.com