Myth #2 When you forgive, you must trust them again.
This myth has caused people to open the door to a cycle of disrespect, abuse, and internal conflict. Love, forgiveness, and trust are not synonyms. Yes, these three verbs are essential to healthy relationships. Understanding how they interact with each other is just as important.
- You can forgive a person and not trust them again.
- You can forgive a person and not tolerate their abusive behavior.
- You can forgive a person and still establish healthy boundaries.
When you forgive and leave the door open for reconciliation, you are allowing that person an opportunity to earn your trust back. However, understand that TRUST is NOT automatically given with the decision to forgive. To think otherwise is to believe a lie designed to keep you in a destructive cycle.
A betrayal of trust isn’t always involved with forgiveness issues. We are all human and fall short of the expectations of others. However, some acts do betray a person’s trust, like cheating, stealing, backstabbing, etc. It is not uncommon for a cheater to say, “I made a mistake. I am only human.”
SORRY! That does not fall into the mistake category. I am a life coach, and I call it how I see it. Cheating is a conscious decision not to keep a commitment you made to someone who loves you. A mistake is paying the electric bill twice, not sleeping with your boyfriend’s best friend.
When this level of betrayal has taken place, you want to understand the dynamics of trust to regain your peace again.
How is relational trust developed?
You develop trust over time by observing another person’s behavior. Especially in romantic relationships, you want to watch their interactions with people outside of you. Often, we get caught in the trap of, “Well, they don’t disrespect me like they disrespect others.” Just wait! If they are rude to a waitress, then one day they will be rude to you. If they lie to their siblings, then one day, they will lie to you. It is a character thing. Observe a person’s character outside of their interactions with you because their real character will show when the love grows old.
A tip for the singles: Make a list of character traits you want in a mate. Rate the characteristics with flags of red, yellow, and green. Then pay attention! Don’t give your heart to a person who hasn’t earned your trust.
When you are determining a person’s trustworthiness, these are some good questions to ask yourself.
- How reliable are they?
- How do they treat strangers?
- How do they treat their family?
- Are they honest in the little things?
- What are their character flaws, and can I live with them? (Believe me, you will not change them.)
- Do they operate with integrity or do they have to be forced to do the right thing?
- Are they dependable?
- Do they keep their word in the little stuff?
- Do they maintain the confidentiality of past relationships? (HUGE)
These are just a few questions on my “Trust Filter.” You may have different ones but make sure you have a “Trust Filter” before opening yourself up to a partnership in business, friendship, or romantic relationship. If you want to maintain peace in your life, be mindful of a person’s character. When you connect with trustworthy people with strong character, you reduce your chances of being hurt and betrayed.
Trust is earned over time but destroyed in a moment!
When trust is betrayed, it opens the door to offense leading to resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness. Be Careful! Instead of getting offended – accept it for what it is and nothing more. The meaning you attach to their betrayal has the potential to cause you to suffer longer than necessary. Their betrayal of your trust doesn’t define you; it defines them.
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”Maya Angelou
Yes, be disappointed, but don’t get bitter!
Yes, you may regret that you ignored or didn’t recognize the red flags but don’t become resentful.
Yes, it hurt, but you don’t have to suffer in the pain of unforgiveness and judgment.
Release your right to be mad and forgive them, but that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to trust them again. Find a way to give your pain a place to land and let it go. You will live freer because of it!
If you need help breaking through the barriers of your past, let’s chat. God knows I wish I had someone to come alongside me and help me overcome my past. It would have undoubtedly reduced the years I suffered in pain. You don’t have to go it alone.