In my last post I shared about The Trust Hinge and how it connects the Wall of Character and the Door of Opportunity in our relationships. Like a door hinge, trust hangs on the firm, established wall of character. And when we act with character in a trustworthy manner, doors of opportunity swing open in our relationships.
So that raises a question: What do you do when you’ve lost trust in a relationship? Whether you’ve broken trust, or someone has broken your trust, it always comes down to two things: BEHAVIOR and INSECURITY.
When somebody doesn’t trust you, it’s because they’re wrestling with your behavior or their insecurity. I can correct my behavior and my insecurity, but I cannot correct your behavior or your insecurity. Everybody has to own their behaviors and their insecurities without taking the blame for somebody else’s shortcomings. When you don’t take ownership, you will always break trust. And when you take the blame for somebody else’s behavior and insecurities, you’re allowing them to take advantage of your value and vulnerability.
It’s not easy to repair or restore trust, but at the end of the day you have to take two steps to begin the process:
- Correct your behavior consistently over time – Notice I said, “consistently over time.” Anybody can do the right thing once. But trust is only established when there’s a pattern of consistent, credible, and reliable character and integrity. Furthermore, the timetable for the restoration of trust is always determined by the person who was hurt in the relationship. They get to decide when they’re willing to trust again. That’s why hit and miss attempts at character will only reinforce your behavior gaps and lengthen the healing process.
- Address your own insecurities – What insecurities in your life make you unwilling to trust others? Have you been hurt in the past and now you live life with a guard around your heart? Is it your addiction to others’ approval that causes you to become vulnerable? How you respond to your insecurities will dictate your level of trust in your relationships. When you are secure in who you are, you tend to value yourself and others because you view one another as made in the image of God.
As you take these steps, you’ll demonstrate how much you value the relationship and you’ll act in a trustworthy manner toward others and toward yourself.
Question: What other tips would you offer to restore trust in a relationship?