I have never been one to confide in people or speak freely about my emotions and problems. It’s a daunting task, or rather, an excruciating chore that doesn’t come easily to me. Perhaps, the introvert within plays a role in my inability to trust and open up to people, but I suspect there are other characters as well, namely, my past experiences and the innate need to protect myself. Sadly—and I use this term loosely, there are many people like me; people the world wrongfully describes as a hard nut to crack.
The truth is, no one, not even those with closed-off personalities want to pass through this earth with the weight of the world on their shoulders. We all crave to have someone we can tell about the monsters under our bed that steal our sleep at night, and the skeletons in our closet. But time has proved one too many times that people like that are indeed rare creatures. So we wipe the tears and flash a brave smile. Is it healthy? Of course not, hence why we’re first to acknowledge that we have trust issues.
Why do we find it difficult to trust?
Traumatic events, deception, betrayal, lies, manipulation, and history with unscrupulous people are the most common reasons off a very long list. Experiences differ from person to person; for some, trust issues stem from childhood issues, infidelity in relationships, falling victim to financial scam, or even injustice at the hands of authoritative figures which can lead to a distrust in institutions and not people.
For others, it could be a result of abuse—sexual, physical, and/or emotional. Generally speaking, a lot of things can cause someone to feel insecure, be cautious in their dealings with people, and have anxiety in their daily interactions. Signs of trust issues include: the belief that people are out to get you without reason and lack of intimacy or friendships.
How do you overcome trust issues?
George Horne, an English churchman said, “When a man deceives me once, it is his fault; when twice, it is mine.”
While this statement, for obvious reasons, is in fact true, it fails to take into account two other important statements that say a lot about life; the first, by Charles de Lint: “There’s bad apples in whatever way you want to group people—doesn’t matter if it’s religious, political or social. The big mistake is generalising,” and the second, a popular saying: “People change.”
The way to overcome deep-seated trust issues is to:
- Recognise and deal with past issues, or seek help.
- Make a decision to forgive those who have hurt you.
- Redefine yourself and rewrite your story by choosing not to allow fear to rule your life.
- Learn to have faith in yourself, instincts, and decisions.
- Take a leap of faith and be willing to be vulnerable.
- Believe that good people still exist in the world.