Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Trust and Forgiveness in a Loving Relationship

Trust and the ability to forgive are factors that are essential to any healthy loving relationship and they often go hand in hand. For some people it is easy to trust other people because they have been fortunate to grow up in an environment where they were able to trust their caretakers, and trust was given naturally to them by their caretakers. These individuals did not have to doubt others and their intentions, and they were able to flourish emotionally as they had the confidence and emotional stability that comes from being trusted continuously in their words and actions.
These individuals formed a secure attachment to the people they loved the most, and will naturally seek and desire a loving relationship that is based on complete trust and sharing. For others, trust does not come by so easily, because they grew up in an environment that was tainted by mistrust, lies, deceit and broken promises. These people were taught the hard way, that other people cannot be trusted immediately (if ever), and they learned, that they only really have themselves to rely on in their lives. This last group of people developed an insecure attachment to others, and do therefore not necessarily seek or particularly desire the intimacy and comfort that comes from being in a mutual trusting relationship. In general, people who find it easy to trust will also find it easier to forgive, whereas people who have been hurt and deceived before, will find it much more difficult to forgive and trust again, if trust was ever achieved in the first place.
Because of these different backgrounds and experiences that we all have, there are great differences in the ways we perceive, value and desire trust and forgiveness in our relationships. And these differences, that we are most often unaware of as they influence us on a hidden and subconscious level, can easily cause misunderstandings, disagreements and heated arguments in a loving relationship. One major reason for these disagreements is, that we humans have a tendency to believe that the world is the way we perceive it, and we tend to assume that others are able to to see the world in the same way as us. And when we fall in love, this tendency to compare ourselves and see the many similarities with our chosen one, is even stronger and sometimes completely irrational, making us see and believe in qualities in the other person that are not even there!
If you feel and become aware of these differences in your relationship, it is foremost important not to assume that your partner is in the wrong, and that he or she has to change for things to become better. It is also important to be aware that you both hold the "truth", because your individual truths are based on real facts from previous experiences in your lives. A real solution to your different perceptions on trust and forgiveness, is to take the time to sit down and openly talk with your partner about your different backgrounds and reasons for being the way you are, and then try together to find a compromise and a solution based on these differences. Evidently, it will more of a challenge for the mistrusting partner to share his or hers thoughts openly, so if plain encouragement doesn't work, you may want to seek the assistance of a professional, such as a psychologist or relationship coach, who can guide you in the right directions and pinpoint your blind-points that may be hindering an immediate solution.
In your process of trying to create or re-establish trust and the ability to forgive in your relationship, it can be helpful to remember the following things:
Trust is an emotion, and therefore it can fluctuate from time to time.
Trust can be build in no time, but it takes a considerable time to rebuild, depending on the severity and frequency of the offense.
Trust will never be fostered by secretiveness. Trust is fostered by openness and patience.
To rebuild trust after a breaking point:
One must be trustworthy one day at a time.
The offender must open his/her life completely to the scrutiny of the offended partner, be it email accounts, saving accounts, stockholdings, calendar, background, phone, whereabouts, details of offense, etc.
One must accept the changes that are happening and let go of past failure and ideals.
One must chose to believe the apology accepted.
About forgiveness:
Forgiveness is a conscious decision and a commitment to work towards a better relationship in the future.
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting past event, and forgiveness does not remove the consequences of the hurtful behavior or the hurt emotions.
Forgiveness is a decision not to demand justice, but to show mercy.
Forgiving someone too quickly can be counterproductive: it can harbor resentment and unresolved anger, but without an eventual and sincere forgiveness, the relationship will fail to grow.
Forgiveness hold the power to give renewed life to a relationship and to rebuild a different relationship in the future that is stronger and more satisfactory than the relationship before the hurtful act. Yes, really!

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