The Importance of Trust

Trust is a fragile thing. It can be easily broken and, once broken, can be very difficult to mend. We may trust too easily and get hurt as a result. Or we may find it hard to trust others because we’ve been hurt in the past.

Trusting again after being hurt can be one of the hardest things to do. But just because one person has hurt us doesn’t mean everyone will. And just because we have hurt ourselves doesn’t mean we can’t trust ourselves again.

Building trust is a process. But with time, understanding, and patience, we can find our way back to trust.

Step 1: Be Honest with Yourself

Being honest with yourself is the foundation of building trust in your life. After all, building trust with others is impossible if you’re not even being honest with yourself. But when you are, you can see the world more clearly.

When you’re honest with yourself, you’re better able to achieve your goals. You’re less likely to put yourself in situations where you can’t deliver on your commitments. You’re able to be more authentic in your interactions and relationships. All of these pieces work together to build trust. Not just with others but with yourself as well.

Step 2: Communicate Openly and Honestly

The willingness to communicate openly and honestly is a sign of strength, not weakness. It takes courage to let down our defences and give someone else a chance. To give ourselves a chance.  

Two women having a conversation in a cafe around trust

This level of vulnerability – whether with a friend, family member, therapist, romantic partner or even ourselves – can be scary. However, without trust, we would miss out on the intimacy, connection, and closeness that come from being able to share our deepest thoughts and feelings. We would also miss out on the joy of being able to rely on someone else and how that can help us to process, understand and accept ourselves for everything we are.

When we open up and share ourselves with others, we also create an opportunity for them to do the same. In turn, this creates a deeper level of understanding and communication. It creates more meaningful relationships that enrich our lives.

Step 3: Be Reliable and Keep Your Word

If you want to build trust in your life, start by being the most reliable person you know. Trust is the foundation of any relationship that allows us to feel safe confiding in others and work together towards a common goal. But trust doesn’t just happen – it has to be earned.

One of the most important and practical ways to build trust is by keeping your promises. When you say you’re going to do something, follow through. People are more likely to trust someone who is consistent, dependable, and follows through on their commitments. In other words, don’t just say – do. If you want others to be more likely to put their faith in you, give them a reason to by showing them what they can expect.

The same is true when it comes to developing more trust in yourself. Setting realistic goals that you can achieve and following through on your plans will set the foundation for your growth, healing, and overall success.

Step 4: Learn How to Overcome Mistrust

At some point in our lives, we’ve all faced the challenge of overcoming mistrust. Whether due to past experiences or current circumstances – or due to relationships and life in general – mistrust can be difficult to overcome.

The feeling of being lied to, manipulated, or used can cause a deep sense of insecurity and vulnerability. Likewise, when life lets us down, it’s easy to allow ourselves to feel like we don’t have what it takes to get up and try again. But it’s important to remember that mistrust is only a barrier if we let it be.

Young woman in therapy session discussing trust

Learning to overcome mistrust is an essential life skill that can help us build stronger relationships and lead more fulfilling lives. The best place to start is by being honest about your feelings. Acknowledge the hurt you’ve experienced and give yourself time to grieve.

If you’re finding it hard to trust again, try talking to someone you trust about what you’re going through. They may be able to offer some insight or understanding that can help you move forward. And don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you’re struggling to overcome mistrust or doubt on your own.

Step 5: Give Others (and Yourself) the Benefit of the Doubt

Building trust can seem like a daunting task. After all, trust is built on faith, and faith can be hard to come by these days. And yet, having faith and optimism through giving others the benefit of the doubt can be an invaluable practice for cultivating a greater overall sense of trust and peace in your life.

So when someone cuts you off in traffic, try assuming they’re having a bad day instead of assuming they’re a jerk. If a coworker doesn’t respond to your email immediately, try assuming they’re swamped with work instead of assuming they’re ignoring you.

And if you’ve made a mistake, or acted in a way that now appears out of your best interest, be gentle with yourself. Try trusting that whatever you did was what made sense at the time and that there is a genuine benefit, something to learn from, buried somewhere in every choice you make.

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Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic is a top-rated drug rehab and alcohol treatment program for women in British Columbia. We offer treatment for substance use, mental health, PTSD, and trauma. If you’re struggling with mental health and/or addiction, visit our website or call us today to learn more about our programs and how we can support you.