Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.
– Robert H. Schuller
It’s difficult to forget hurts of the past. It’s equally difficult to not let it hold you back. On the other hand, it seems crazy to continue to go out in the world with open heart, knowing you’ve been hurt/fooled/betrayed before – and continue to trust. It’s difficult not to be insecure.
There is no right answer. There are arguments from both sides, to trust or not to trust – and they both make sense.
If you are too trusty, and have been hurt in the past, these are some things you may hear from well-wishers (or even from your internal monologue):
You are gullible. So don’t believe everyone says, no matter how nice they appear.
You are far too trusty. People lie. You need to learn that.
You need to open your heart again. You can’t let past hurts/rejections/betrayals hold you back.
You shouldn’t judge everyone you meet now, based on what someone else did to you in the past.
Should you be more careful, or more open? Should you be more cynical, or more optimistic? There is no right answer, no right formula. So the only way forward is to find your personal compass. Here are three ways to figure out what’s right for you through journaling:
Free-writing exercise about Trust
Set a timer for 10 minutes, and do a free-writing exercise about trust. Just let your thoughts flow, and write how you feel about trusting others. Are you scared of it? Do you find yourself trusting anyone and everyone who seems nice? Do you find yourself trusting people who tell you their sob stories? Consider your relationship with trust issues. Also think about if you’ve been influenced by people close to you, and their trust issues.
Gain awareness of and accept your weaknesses
Are you one of those people who gets taken in by sweet words? Or perhaps someone opens up to you, and you think you have a special bond. Perhaps you think that recognition you felt is the sign of a soul mate. None of this is wrong. It’s only a matter of concern if this happened to you in the past, and you were mistaken. if you believed something or someone to be true, and it wasn’t. Journal about the incidents where you’ve been taken in by other people (or by your own unwillingness to see the truth). Accept your vulnerabilities and your weaknesses. It’s not about changing how you behave, but rather about having the awareness of it. Subconscious awareness does wonders – and the more aware you are of your international issues, the more likely you will be to listen to the little warning bells going off in your head.
Give yourself time and space to evaluate/re-evaluate
Always give yourself time and space to reflect. This is where journaling does wonders. Just the simple act of writing things down, laying out your thoughts and feelings in orderly or chaotic patterns, enables you to get to grips with them. It’s amazing how often we can’t see below the surface of our emotions, until we take the time to dig deep. So give yourself that time and space. Lay down some personal boundaries, consider your values so that if you find your values being transgressed, you will know that something’s not right.
Try those exercises, learn to have faith in yourself. Whether or not you admit it, somewhere within you, you know when things are right. You may not have the courage/willingness to admit it. But ultimately, remember these words from Charles Dickens:
Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.
Because those are the things that will give you a life that is full of love.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:
Start journaling today, and follow the three steps above to journal your way to trust, while limiting the hurt.