Friday, August 21, 2009
How To Regain Lost Trust
By Harold J. Duarte-Bernhardt
You can regain lost trust, but first you must understand what TRUST is.
Trust is the most foundational block of any relationship. Trust is involved in all the basic elements of a healthy relationship: namely, love (respect and consideration for another person), communication, commitment and honesty. Without trust you may get feelings, you may get the high of the "moment," you may get patience and tolerance but nothing will provide the strength and the solidity you need for a lasting relationship as trust. Why? Because the root of trust is WHAT YOU BELIEVE about the other person. And your BELIEF about the other person is the accumulation of experiences that have either affirmed or corroded the original commitment or promise. And let me hasten to say that TRUST is not just about big promises and commitments. It could just be the other person's body language, the eyes or an air of authenticity. Have you ever felt like you are in the presence of a person for the first time and you find yourself saying "Somehow I trust this person with my tummy?" Trust is born in the way the other person register in our TRUST radar. Finally what you come to believe about another person is what directs your behavior and actions towards that person. So, trust is critical to the dynamics of any relationship, whether is a business, politics, a working environment, marriage, family or friendships.
When you have believed something about a person and that person has broken your "trust" in that belief, there isn't a whole lot left.
Take marriage for example. The promise to stay married until "death do, us apart" is a serious promise. You trust that person. Would you marry if you wouldn't trust? When divorce happens, what makes you think that the person who broke the promise with you is trustworthy of anything else later on? The tacit promise parents make to raise their children to the best of their ability when they bring them into the world is a serious one. What makes you think children will trust you as a parent, when you did not do your best to absorb information about good parenting and depended on God to be a good role model to them? Cheating, lying, gossip, "backstabbing," disloyalty, miscommunication or the lack of it, dishonesty, not paying money back, not being on time, an unreturned to call, are all promises that once broken change the level of trust someone has placed on you. Trust is broken by changing the belief system another person has about you.
Now, I know we have all broken promises. I have broken many promises, many times and it hurts me in the pit of my stomach when I realize I miserably failed so many times and have let so many people down. So this article is not from a guy that has never lost trust from people but about someone who realizes what happened and took steps to recover the trust I lost when I failed.
Let me say it again: You can regain the trust you lost. That is, if the other person has a good heart towards you. First, you need to accept four basic principles and then follow that understanding with massive ACTION to regain the trust from the person whose trust you betrayed.
1. When you let someone down and betray their trust you have actually betrayed yourself first and foremost all. Further more, that's the first person you must work with: YOURSELF! You must come to terms with your own failure, your own humanity. What happened? Why did it happen? Was an accident or is that a pattern of your character? Proud people stumble on this first one and simply can not do it!
2. When you let someone down and betray their trust you must acknowledge you did it and that will hurt your pride. If you are not ready to be humble and talk to the person whose trust you betrayed, you are not ready to regain trust from that person.
3. When you let someone down and betray their trust it's going to take time and effort to recover it. It will not happen instantly. This is one of the greatest challenges "betrayers" face. They usually want to "just move on." They want instant gratification. It just doesn't happen that way!
4. When you let someone down and betray their trust, in spite of what you may do to regain their trust you should be ready to possibly be rejected and you may never regain the lost trust again. In that case it is out of your hands, even if it hurts! What kicks in here is character: you did the right thing and your heart is right. Move on being the good person you are!
FIVE STEPS TO REGAIN TRUST IN YOURSELF AND FROM OTHERS YOU HAVE BETRAYED
1. Admit your mistake or the way you hurt the other person
This is the most difficult step in re-building trust. Address the issue that caused the loss of trust head on. If it was you not cherishing your spouse, or treating your marriage as a sacred trust, or lying, or mistreating the other person, or not fulfilling a promise... whatever... address the issue and ask forgiveness. Asking forgiveness for some vague, stupid unrelated behavior will be considered by the offended person as one more step into the destruction of trust! It's simply insulting. My recommendation? If you have betrayed someone's trust, don't talk to that person until you understand what you did wrong and you are ready to deal with it honestly. Admitting your mistake honestly is not something you do to "move on" with "your" life; it's something you do to re-establish a broken relationship, to reconcile and regain that person's trust, which is a big issue; regaining trust is not about "your" own selfish pain!
Nothing rebuilds trust faster than doing what the other person will perceive as you having changed! Whatever you did to betray another person's trust needs to be changed! This is a no brainer. You want to create a trusting environment with the person you betrayed. Share specifically what your plan of action is to regain that person's trust. Ask that person to hold you accountable to your promised changes. Believe me, if you are being honest and the other person has a heart, he/she will love you for it. There is nothing more refreshing and affirming than to know that someone cares for you so much that they are willing to change what hurts you!
3. Share honest information
Information is power. This is the number one trust builder. Most situations I have faced where trust has been betrayed are directly connected to lack of communication, lack of information, lies and cover-up stories. If you are afraid, say so. If you made a wrong move, tell the truth. If you fail, admit to it. If you are guarding "privileged information" and your relationship depends on the other person knowing what's going on, be brave and say it. Information makes the other person feel like "we are in this together." Withholding information when it's due to the other person is one of the most painful forms of betrayal. Be straightforward and honest. If you are trying to regain your spouse's trust, open up about finances, time management, the people you meet, your appointments and your whereabouts. The more information you provide the better it is.
4. Share yourself with the other person as a team player not as a victim
A "win-win" situation is difficult to obtain when you have betrayed someone's trust, but it is possible in time. Just remember one thing... The person you betrayed knows you and he/she will not accept external, superficial changes. That person is your worst and most vociferous critic because you hurt him/her, and you better know if you heart is changed or not before you play the "game." What's the classic statement of a victim? "I did it because..." A victim's fingerprint is: BLAME, JUSTIFY AND EXPLAIN. A non-victim person assumes responsibility for his/her deed and seeks reconciliation with the other person because he/she needs him/her in a relationship.
5. Be consistent
If you betrayed your spouse's trust, focus on being consistent and following steps 1-4 steadily. It may take more than one conversation. It may take time for the other person to observe you and realize that you are "walking the talk." If you betrayed your bosses trust, focus on being consistent in building your trust level. The same applies to your children, relatives and friends. "Walking the talk" is what builds trust again.
Though the idea behind following these steps is to regain the trust of someone you betrayed or let down, ultimately, doing what's right (admitting you're wrong and CHANGING) is for your own sake and the core of your character. Good people don't only do good things to get results. They also do the right thing because they know that at the end the greatest reward is looking at themselves in the mirror and knowing they are authentic and honest. That's what brings the greatest happiness in this life and that's what it means to live in The Life Zone!
If you are dealing with a tricky situation and you want to regain your spouse's or children's trust, be careful! Don't rush into it, don't postpone it forever, and don't expose your "laundry" irresponsibly. That may be the beginning of your honest journey but the end of your relationship with that person forever. Irresponsible honesty hurts, responsible honesty heals! What's the difference? You do it for the other person and considering the greater picture. Many times a person from the outside can help you with perspective, timing and the mode in which you will journey towards regaining lost trust. I can coach you on the best steps to regain trust without destroying what you have.
Harold J. Duarte-Bernhardt is co-founder of the "LIFE ZONE." Harold is a consultant, a seminar speaker and a LIFE Motivational Coach. The "LIFE ZONE" is a resource and a coaching center for personal and spiritual growth committed to providing sound strategies for dynamic living and LIFE FITNESS. Harold believes that PAIN is the greatest window into the best life has to offer! PAIN is never pleasant, it's never fun; but great people have always faced PAIN and difficult times before they found the key to a magnificent life. Harold resides in Southern California and is the father of four wonderful human beings!
For more information and coaching visit: http://www.lifezonelive.com or call 1-888-MYZONE2 (699-6632)
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