Healing 2 minutes at a time

Trusting after a loss

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How do we trust after we lose someone, or after a friend betrays us or after a relationship ends? It’s tough. It’s especially tough when those things happen simultaneously or “in threes” which happens…often.

When my mom and brother died, I “claimed” a celebrity death to be my third loss so that I didn’t have to experience another loss so close to my heart. Superstitious or not, I felt like I needed to complete that group of three. I completed that group of three, but the one thing that wasn’t complete after that claim was my ability to trust in others. I still struggle with this a little, but I can recognize this injury so much more quickly in me and am able to be kinder and more understanding with myself which creates a safe space for my heart so that it can reach out regardless. But it took a lot of work and self-healing attention to get to this place. It certainly didn’t happen overnight.

I got there through listening to hours and hours of wisdom. I am a podcast and talk junkie. I am always listening to something while I am driving, washing dishes, tidying the house. Perhaps it’s not the most mindful way to get these mundane tasks completed, but it sure does a lot to grow my heart and my soul. This week, I listened to Brene’ Brown’s talk on “The Anatomy of Trust.” It was so powerful and probably the most accurate depiction of how we build, and destroy, trust I’ve ever heard.
This talk is completely worth the full 25 minute listen. Give it a try on your next load of dishes to wash or laundry pile to fold!

Brene’ Brown’s talk on “The Anatomy of Trust.”

One of the things Brene’ said in this talk stopped me in my tracks so much so that I had to rewind several times and write down word for word what she said. She gave two definitions. One of trust and one of distrust. It was the definition of distrust that brought so much healing to me. It made me recognize, accept and let go of the hurt I carried with many people throughout my life that I felt I couldn’t trust. Brene’ quoted another researcher, Charles Feltman, who defined trust and distrust as follows:

TRUST is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.

DISTRUST is what I’ve shared with you, that is important to me, but is not safe with you.

How many times have we fallen away from friendships, relationships or colleagues because we thought it was their behavior, their opinion, their choices that offended us? Turns out, it was never about any of those things.

I do not trust you when what is important to me does not feel safe with you.

Wow! There is so much power in that statement. But here’s the thing…is it the other person’s fault that we don’t feel safe with them? Chances are, they are so wrapped up in their own logic, thinking and motivations, they do not realize they are making themselves feel unsafe to you.

So what’s our natural response to feeling unsafe? We hide. We retract. We protect.

But where does that leave us? Alone. Isolated. Feeling abandoned.

We paint the picture of what we see in our world. What picture are you painting in your world?

This week, we are going to look at those people we feel we can trust and the people we can’t trust and make a list of how they came to be this way. Those on the side that make you feel safe, give huge unending gratitude for their presence in your life and for the actions that got them on that trustworthy list.

But those other ones…the ones that make you feel unsafe…begin to look at why. Why did they make you feel unsafe? Explore each one individually and think about the many things that might have been going on in their lives during the time that they made you feel so unsafe. Were they really trying to hurt you or were they just being short-sighted? Were they just really busy and not trying to neglect you? Did they feel too insecure about themselves to reach out to you?

Write all of these details and reasons down and watch what begins to happen within your heart. Pay attention to the heart area of your body. You will begin to feel compassion for them. Understanding, even, as you realize there are so many more reasons why they did what they did. Please don’t just think through this one. Grab a scrap piece of paper and tear it up or burn it when you’re done with this exercise but write it out. It is so powerful to witness the many reasons why they might not be trying to hurt you and how this distrust might be remedied.

Guess what happens after this exercise? You begin to heal, regardless of ever speaking to this person. Your heart begins to recognize there is purpose to everything and it begins to feel warm, strong and brave enough to try to trust again, to try for connection again.

Trust is built in the smallest moments. We actively choose to build trust or betray the trust of another.

This also includes you.

What small things are you doing for yourself that helps you learn that you can trust yourself?

Are you going to work toward building trust or distrust in your heart?

I can’t wait to hear how this powerful exercise goes for you this week. Please share your experiences so others can feel inspired too.

Sending you huge brave, trusting love!

Love and Blessings,

begin again


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