Life’s experiences can taint how we see others, the world, and our willingness to trust others. We’ve all been hurt, betrayed, abandoned or used by others in our life — people we should have been able to trust and rely on the most.
Children begin life trusting, loving and needing the protection of the adults. However, when divorce, abandonment, abuse, neglect and other painful experiences happen, they begin to be distrustful and unsafe. This can cause them to avoid close relationships and marriage and to doubt God exists as they mature into adulthood.
When so many negative experiences have shaped our thoughts and views, how can we begin to trust God and people again? How can we help others learn to trust again?
Be someone who can help restore another’s trust
According to “When Families Fragment, Honor the Suffering,” being a solid example of trust can help bridge the gap between a person who has lost trust and important entities like religion and marriage. Being a friend, building a trustful relationship and demonstrating good character can help another person restore their trust in others, relationships, marriage and with God.
Learn to trust others
Start small. Find friends that respect and honor you. Look for qualities in others such as integrity, kindness and compassion. Of course, there are people who lack that, but there are plenty of people who live by them. Take time getting to know people. As you begin to find those whom you can rely on, you will more readily discover that you can trust some people.
Trust in God
This can be difficult sometimes, especially when you’ve witnessed people who claim religion act horribly toward you or others. There are good and bad people everywhere, including within religions. Additionally, sometimes we wonder why God allows bad things to happen.
Learning about the nature of God can help us understand why bad things do happen. God is a loving God, so much so that he allows each of us our agency–though sometimes that means others may not use their agency for good. Trials and hard times help us to learn, grow and become better people. Seeking to understand the ways and means of God can help us begin to trust him.
Developing a relationship with God occurs as we study his word and pray to him. We can also visit places of worship to feel his influence. If you have a religious friend you trust, ask them about their faith or attend church to learn more. Seeking answers from God comes with a promise, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,…and it shall be given him” (KJV James 1:5). God will help you find the answers you seek as you exercise faith and trust in him. He will also help and guide you through difficult times in your life.
Gain hope for strong relationships like marriage
Developing trust for others and God will open the doors to believing in close relationships and marriage again. As you find people who are trustworthy and learn to trust God more fully, you will feel safer and more at peace with committed relationships such as marriage. Marriages are built on trust. Learning to trust again after a divorce, being cheated on, experiencing abuse or having bonds of trust broken another way can be hard. Allow yourself to heal before jumping in to another relationship. Be willing to trust again and let some of your walls down. Seek after people who are trustworthy and full of integrity.
As we overcome the negative experiences from our childhood or life in general, we can learn to see people differently–including learning to decipher who we can’t trust from those we can. We can learn to selectively trust people again and eventually build close relationships with God and others.