Many of us trust too easily only to discover that we were betrayed. Others of us don’t trust at all. Trusting too quickly, or not trusting at all, usually says more about us than about the other person. Trust is not something that we want to automatically do when we meet someone. We also don’t want to automatically mistrust someone either. Some of us experience an involuntary response to trust, or not to trust, and neither one of these extremes serve us well.

Trust is something that takes time. It’s a process.

Trust is a process

When I say, trust is a process, it means that it takes time to get to know someone. If we enter a relationship at a slow and steady pace, we will discover more about who the other person’s true self. We can then determine whether they can be trusted with our feelings, and our shared personal information, because our trust is the greatest gift we can give someone.

Finding the Balance

Some of us were betrayed early in life, and we don’t trust easily because of that. Others so desperately want to be in a relationship, or a friendship, that we rush to trust someone to make that happen. We don’t give ourselves the opportunity, and time, to get to know that person to determine if they are trustworthy, or not.

In adulthood, often not being able to trust a friend, or a potential romantic partner, may be because we have been betrayed in our childhood, adolescence, or at some time as an adult. The person desiring our trust may very well be trustworthy, however we may not be able to recognize this due to our history.

Our Past Relationships Reflected in The Present

One of the first big tasks of our lives is establishing trust versus mistrust. As a child, we develop a sense that our needs will be met, versus a sense that they won’t. Our view of the world is often determined by how secure we feel that we can rely on others for our expectations to be met. If we have had good, consistent relationships in the past, we may assume as much from our current and future relationships, and trust too easily based upon this experience.

If our parents, or our experiences in past relationships, were inconsistent in meeting our needs, we may fear current and future relationships will respond the same way. We make ourselves vulnerable when we trust. Withholding our trust may be used as self-preservation to protect us from being hurt again. How can I trust myself from past mistakes?

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Sometimes it is challenging to differentiate to determine if we are not feeling trustworthy of someone else. Is it about them? Or is it about our own history? So many times, I have heard during psychotherapy sessions that, “My friend is talking about other people and I’m uncomfortable. I don’t know if I ought to trust them or not.”

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