Vulnerability and Honesty Build Trust

Trust is not just something you bestow upon an individual “just because,” at least not as an adult, especially if you’ve trusted and been betrayed. Only vulnerability and honesty build trust, whether you’ve had it before and lost it, or are trying to share trust in a new relationship.

The depth of a relationship is determined by the amount of trust which can be shared between two people. Vulnerability and trust are the foundation of deep trusting connection.

If you are thinking about offering up a little trust in a given someone’s direction, a wise person does not just throw caution to the wind and say, “I trust you,” (though many of us do, myself included). I tend to be open and honest and just expect others to be the same way, though that is rarely the case as many people have an underlying or hidden agenda in many of their affairs.

When you meet someone, it’s a good idea to trust them with some small things, bits of data which wouldn’t harm you much if they were to get out. Then watch and see how they do. If their trustworthiness appears to be worthy, you could up the ante and see how they handle a little more sensitive information.

Vulnerability is the precursor to trust.

The more you are vulnerable and the more you determine that this person can be trusted, the more you can trust this person.

I have made the mistake of trusting someone whose trustworthiness was unwarranted, and in retrospect, wished I’d followed this sage advice. I would have suffered far less had I taken the time to trust them a little and taken the time to observe their ability to be trusted, before moving into more sensitive areas.

This does not guarantee a foolproof trusting relationship, but it can certainly reduce your losses due to people’s tendency to stab you in the back.

If you previously trusted someone and that trust was broken, it can be rebuilt, but it will take time, effort, vulnerability and honesty, and it will be uncomfortable, the process may even be painful.

There can be no trust without vulnerability.

Before you can rebuild trust, it’s a good idea to start with a clean slate. Not that you simply erase any of the betrayal which has occurred in the past, but you have discussed it. The offender (the one who broke the trust) discloses all the details of the lies, deceit, misrepresentation, and unauthorized disclosures to the victim.

Once the victim has been made aware of all the details, there is a normal negative reaction time, wherein the victim tries to resolve the revealed information. Allow time for the victim to process the information, being vulnerable and honest can be awkward and uncomfortable.

The offender may ask for forgiveness, but this is not necessary. It is up to the victim to decide if rebuilding trust is an option for him or her following the full disclosures.

This serious breach of trust can be overcome using this same process. You allow yourself to be vulnerable a little at a time, and the trust relationship is rebuilt slowly over time.

Note that people are just people, we are all different, and they will do what they will do.

Some people could not tell the truth if they tried. Others couldn’t be trusted as far as you could throw them.

It’s up to you to discover who the people area who pass through your life. To do so you must be aware and the more you trust your intuition, the more you will be likely to ferret them out quickly.

So, the next time you get that feeling inside that “something’s not right,” or you hear something that feels like a lie, pay attention and become aware that you may be trusting someone that may not be trustworthy.

If the person turns out to be a narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath, you would have been able to minimize your exposure to this kind of toxic personality.

Trust the T Word in Love and Relationships

Trust the “T” word in love and relationships. I know, we hear more about trust, and its antithesis, betrayal, all the time. And though it is rare, you may encounter the occasional narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath, who will lure you into what appears to be “genuine bonding” but is only a scam, to exploit you, and leave you broken and nearly lifelessly discarded when he or she is done with you.

Closeup of couple making heart shape with hands

But if you’ve vetted your partner, and you’re sure you can trust him and her, and you can feel your love one for another growing, then you are ready to move to the next phase of love.

You need to know that,

“If I gave you all my love, metaphorically standing naked before you, allowing you to see all my most private, sensitive, and highly guarded secrets and insecurities, I know that you would honor this openness, and return the openness in kind. And I feel assured, that as we enter this new phase together, no matter what happens, no matter what becomes of this, you will love and honor me, as I will you. Because, after all is said and done, I know you really love me underneath it all.”

If you can say that in lovingly assured confidence, you are ready to trust your partner even more.

When you get to this stage, there is a major shift in your love relationship. Your love that you share with your partner is a strong bond like an impenetrable fortress that radiates love to all those who approach your loving energetic field.

Now, it is rare that lovers make it to this stage. More than likely, couples will have thrown in the towel and given up by now. For others, just the idea of moving a relationship to this level of openness is just too frightening, and they will begin reacting in ways that will cause the relationship to deteriorate, fail, or just walk away.

I mean, think about it. If you’ve been protecting yourself just to make it through each day of life ‘til now, just ignoring and denying the past, your inner demons, and cries of your inner child, just to get to today… why would you risk all the effort you’ve exerted? It’s been like a brutal battle that you fight every day. Why would you risk it all?

Then there are other couples who have survived together for decades drenched in denial, secrets, and live a good life, without taking any risk of truly opening up, and that’s okay, too. There’s no judgment here, we’re all just doing the best with what we have. Right?

But just like in the personal performance or spiritual growth and expansion paths, it is the digging down and allowing all those negative energies to bubble up so that you can deal with them, and let them go, that takes us as people to the next level, and is an important part in our expansive evolutionary journey as the human race.

To be free from the past, to be free from the fears, to be free from the chains that bind you, is where true freedom can be found, and to have the chance to share that kind of freedom with another leads to true freedom, and bliss.

And know this is a process. It’s not like it’s a one-shot deal, where you go away for the weekend and tell each other’s everything to each other. No, it’s a lifelong process, as each of you peels back more and more layers of the onion which is you.

This is hard work. Sometimes tragic. You might be privy to information that you might have rather not known, sometimes about people who you have to see and interact with periodically throughout your life.

You love your partner, and when he or she tells you these most intimate details, you don’t judge, ridicule your partner, or make light of it, because you love your partner, more than anything. You might find yourself being strong for your partner, or joining in a tearful brigade that could fill a lake.

And your genuine bonding need not only be deep and dramatic, you could do eye gazing. Just 5 minutes of doing nothing but facing each other and staring into each other’s eyes will release significant levels of the bonding hormone, Oxytocin. What happens after that is up to you.

Your Relationship is in Trouble What Can You Do?

It’s not uncommon for a couple to run into problems in a relationship because you really are two different people trying to live as a unified pair and it’s nearly impossible to pull that off without some inconsistency, suspicion, or misstep, for, after all, this is life, and very rarely are we able to move through life without challenge.

Challenges arrive in life to give us opportunities for growth. Without growth, we become mediocre and stagnant. While that may work for some who find survival and barely getting by as acceptable, you find yourself wanting more.

A little conflict opens opportunities for inviting something more into your life, and great conflict, even more.

Of course, no one is blaming you, but to respect your partner and the relationship you share will go a long way toward a bright future you can powerfully share together without allowing the fire of your shared flame to go out.

If your relationship is in trouble, what can you do?

Establish trust. When relationships get rocky, it normally is d to a deterioration of trust. Whether there has been an actual betrayal or not, one or both of the parties in this relationship is experiencing a lack of trust.

To build or rebuild trust, just try to be normal, reestablishing routine. You still want to allow room to grow and change but if you’re changing it up too much, too often, you may find your partner responding to red flags which do not actually exist, raising unfounded suspicions.

Try sticking to a predictable schedule so that your partner knows what to expect. This will make him or her feel more secure, but still, allow a little space for informed spontaneity. Switch it up a little bit every once and a while, just to breathe new life with a little unexpected joy into your relationship.

When you’re feeling awkward in your relationship, be open and honest about it. Otherwise, it will look like you’re covering something up (and you are, your feeling awkward, for whatever reason), and your uneasiness will be infectious. When your partner is left in the dark, it allows his or her imagination to go to some dark places. Be honest open, and invite the light of life to illuminate who you really are, including your quirks and inconsistencies, and don’t be afraid to share and ask, “What are your thoughts on this?”

Be congruent. Make sure you and how you present yourself is in alignment with what you really mean. Often, we find ourselves just going with the flow to avoid any potential conflict, but if your partner starts to pick up on your mixed energies, these could be misinterpreted as potential problem areas.

Being open and honest about who you are (I mean the real person you are beneath all your persona and façade) engenders trust. Being uniquely you, naked, afraid, needy, expressive, overreactive, and vulnerable is the biggest power move you can make in taking your relationship to the next level. Be you, and share all of you with your partner. When you’re holding back, you throttle your relationship’s potential.

We all bring stuff into a relationship, our inconsistencies, insecurities, trauma, and emotional wounds from our past, and some of us have better communication skills than others. This is not a competition, but a cooperation. If you find yourself in a situation where you have tried to express yourself and it was received incorrectly don’t panic or get defensive. Just try to be understanding and willing to restate what you were trying to say in a way that might be better interpreted by your partner.

If you are keeping secrets from your partner, you can expect trust to erode. I know, there are a million reasons to justify keeping secrets from your partner, just be aware that this energy will affect the relationship, and your partner will be aware that something is not right, even if you’ve been so careful to cover it up that he or she will not be able to figure out what’s really going on. You might be able to sustain a relationship long term while keeping secrets which are never disclosed but be aware that such a relationship will never achieve its highest potential.

As you move through life together, times change, you change, your expectations, needs, and desires change. Be open and loving about what you need, want, or expect.

Sometimes, you might feel like if there’s something that you want from your partner, you think that giving it to your partner will make him or her want to give it back to you. If you aren’t open about your intention and just expecting your partner to “get it,” don’t be surprised when he or she just thinks you’re being weird.

Be willing to put yourself “out there” enough to say, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about it, and I think I’d feel better about where we are and where we’re going if I could have a little more,” (fill in the blank). Of course, your partner might respond with, “Oh yeah, well I could use a little more…” No problem. This is an opportunity to get it out on the table and negotiate. Maybe there’s a way you can both get what you want.

Decline with dignity. If you find yourself giving in to things that do not resonate with you, start saying, “no,” to the things which do not serve you or do not make your heart sing. Keeping in mind also that it can be exciting to share something new, outside of your wheelhouse, just to mix things up.

If your partner is going through a self-destructive phase, you are under no obligation to participate. If you’ve come to the point that you cannot tolerate it, and you refuse to go down with your partner’s boat, there is no crime in getting off the boat. Just as long as you are open about removing yourself from the situation, which may include the relationship altogether. Then, be willing to walk away with your dignity intact.

Trust and the Past

The longer you’re with a partner or get to know a potential partner, the more you will discover about their past. Even though you know the past is the best predictor of things to come, people do change. So, it’s important to note the past and look for clues that they have changed since then, or not.

Haven’t you done things in the past, that have taught you valuable lessons? Haven’t you changed since then? We all learn lessons from mistakes and sometimes their effects are life-changing.

Sometimes people do not learn the lessons and continue to make the same mistakes over and over. That’s why you must keep your wits about you and be observant enough to see if your partner has changed. Even so, you need to know that he or she is not likely to have a relapse.

You want to look for patterns that repeat themselves.

How they talk about their ex may be a clue about what you may be facing. If they have nothing good to say, chances are when they are done with you, they will have nothing good to say about you.

On the other hand, if they are transparent about the things that went wrong and the part that they played in a past relationship, this is a good sign the next relationship (potentially yours) may benefit from the lessons they learned from their past relationship.

If they intimate details about physical abuse in their former relationship (even if they make it sound like a joke) this may be something to take note of. If it looks like he or she loses his or her cool and has a tendency to fly-off-the-handle, this may indicate trouble down the road. You might want to think about ways to protect yourself or avoid the situation altogether.

You will never have to tolerate and abuse in any relationship. Thankfully, in our modern day and age (unlike in the days of our grandparents) you can simply opt out or an abusive relationship and move on.

Some things that you learn about your partner may feel like a bigger deal than they are because of fear, jealousy, or deeply buried wounds that you’ve collected over time. Do not make your potential or current partner pay the price for someone else’s sins.

You might get a twinge of fear or are emotionally triggered because an ex- had more previous partners than you and moved on too quickly for your taste and hurt you in the process. That doesn’t mean that everyone who has had a lot of partners in the past isn’t going to love you incredibly. If you think you’ll have a tendency to overreact, best just let it be.

Be careful about the questions you ask, and if you don’t like the answers, try not to be too judgmental if you don’t get the answers you expected. Allow your partner to have the available bandwidth to be honest without feeling that the (potential) relationship might be put at risk for the sake of openness and honesty.

What if your partner had a checkered past or a previous occupation or vocation which might be questionable? You might jump to the conclusion that such a person might be untrustworthy. Not necessarily. Being able to be open and honest about your past is a key ingredient in successful relationships. And like it or not, people are not just simple two-dimensional beings. They grow, change, and evolve if given the opportunity. Some more successfully than others, but it happens all the time.

It’s very rare that anyone stays exactly the same all their life, though some are consistently predictable much of the time.

When you’re talking about the past, you can get furious about exes. You can ask (maybe start by telling something about your’s first, a bit of quid pro quo) but be careful not to confuse that twinge of insecurity for your intuition. It’s a common mistake that anyone could make.

It could rob you of any potential you and your partner might have had. Keep your fears in check.

Trust is the most important thing between you. If you want it, you must think about giving it first. Set the example and given the opportunity your partner will rise to your level of trust.

You need to figure out what you can and can not tolerate. This is your life.

Love like it’s the only thing that matters because it is.