How to get over the past and trust again might be two different issues, but I see it as one problem for this post. Life is full of pain and hurt. It is a part of life and unavoidable. But when the pain runs deep, it can affect every aspect of life.
My pain in life runs deep and long. I’ve stepped into many traps and was hurt so many times I can’t count all of them on both hands. So how can I trust again? How can I move forward? How can we all keep from getting in the rut of protecting ourselves to the point of no life?
The subject of trust spans many aspects of life. I want to cover the trust of those around us and how to get past the pain to trust again.
Why Protect Ourselves From Pain?
Is this sound like a silly question? I mean, who wants to hurt? No one. So we set out to wall our lives off so no one can hurt us again.
Think of it like this: you have surgery on your knee. I use this because I have had seven knee surgeries, and it is one of the most painful. It is three days post-surgery, and the pain is excruciating. Most people will protect their knees from further pain. Don’t drop things on your knee. Don’t bend it to cause more pain. Don’t jump up and down. All of these things would send the knee pain level through the roof.
So if a person is hurt emotionally and someone breaks their trust, they will avoid the things that caused that pain. Just like avoiding physical pain, emotional pain is real.
how Do People Protect Themselves?
First, I want to list a few ways people protect themselves in a dysfunctional manner. At first, these ways may be the only way to function, but in time it is imperative to move on and learn to protect in a functional way to trust again.
- Run and hide – I know in my past when I was in severe emotional pain I didn’t want to see anyone. I didn’t trust that I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again and I felt if I didn’t interact I could protect myself.
- Cut all emotional ties – when the emotional pain runs too deep we tend to shut our emotions down. Don’t feel and the pain will go away.
- Beat yourself up – it must be something we did. Why would someone do this to a person unless we asked for it. “It has to be my fault.”
- Feel sorry for ourselves – why me and why did this happen? Now this is not always feeling sorry for yourself. Sometimes it is reflecting and working through the pain. But we are all prone to occasional pitty parties.
How To Get Over The Past?
Getting over the past is not an easy task to accomplish. How does one let go and get past emotional pain? Well, in my opinion, the most significant factor is time. As time passes, the pain dulls. But there are some things that we all have to work through to trust again.
- Forgiveness – forgiveness is a tough one. Many think to forgive means to forget. But our minds will always hang onto what happend and how we were wronged. Forgiveness is for you not for the other peson. To forgive another is to allow ourselves to move forward. Forgiveness is releasing emotions. It is making a decision to let go of the pain. It is not condoning what happened or saying what someone did is OK. Forgiveness is setting your heart free.
- Acceptance – another hard concept to follow. How can a person accept when something really bad has happened to them? Acceptance is not saying it was OK or that you are OK with the act. It is however realizing that the circumstances are in the past and cannot be changed. Acceptance is saying “I have no control over the situation” and it can no longer harm me.
- Testing the waters – to trust again we have to test things out. We have to step outside of our comfort zone and get to know others again. We do not have to trust another person until they earn our trust. But unless we mingle and interact we can not learn to trust others or ourselves.
How To Trust Again?
Learning to trust again is a lifelong process. It isn’t about just getting over it or letting it all go. It is, however, taking one baby step at a time.
But along with those baby steps learning to love yourself and committing to self-care is the foundation to working through it all.
What happened to you is not your fault. I know I chose the person or chose to trust when I should have seen the signs. But I did not make that person do the things they did. That was their choice, and I was an easy target.
The first step in self-care is to forgive yourself and stop beating yourself up. It is so easy to blame ourselves because we can’t understand how another person can be mean or hurtful.
In your self-care, accept that there will never be an answer to why? Why did this happen? We cannot dictate or control the actions of others; therefore, we cannot know how their mind works.
Give yourself time to work through the issue of trust. Nowhere does it say that we have to trust another person blindly? People have to earn our trust to be a part of our lives.
And when a pity party is in order because it is a way of working through all of the pain, allow yourself a time frame. Set a time limit on feeling sorry for yourself. I give myself an hour or a few hours or a day. During that time, I indulge in my pain and why or why me, then I make myself let it go. To stay in that moment too long will produce unneeded depression and a lack of self-care.
Setting boundaries is the highest form of self-care available to us. I am not talking about a wall we put up to keep others out but rather an invisible fence. A fence that we design to protect ourselves.
Boundaries are to let others know what we will allow in our lives, and if a person mows down those boundaries, they are not allowed in our lives again. It is a way to recognize toxic people and move them out of our safe zone.
Pain and hurt are a part of life. Sadly, some cause suffering, it does happen. We protect ourselves because it is an instinct. But we don’t always do it functionally.
I listed a few functional ways to protect ourselves, forgiveness, acceptance, and testing the waters while healing. Learning self-care is the foundation to healing. Setting boundaries will help detect toxic people so we can move them out of our lives.
Time does not heal all pain, but it does allow us to learn and grow. Then time will dull the pain so we can let go of the past and trust again.