Finding Trust Again in Relationships

     Trust is a key component in any relationship. It helps create and establish vulnerability, honesty, and loyalty between family members, friends, and lovers. However, trust is easier to break than it is to build. Hence, the process of finding or rebuilding trust after a betrayal or hurt is able to be difficult; but, it is able to be rewarding with the right people.

     The loss of trust in a relationship is hard to experience. Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D from Psychology Today notes that betrayal and hurt in relationships are able to cut us at our emotional core. You feel exposed because you poured your heart out to the individual(s) who hurt you. You feel like you wasted your time and energy. You feel as if you’re not able to trust without getting hurt again. Fortunately, trust is able to be regained or rebuilt, even though the process may take time.

     Recently, I read another book in the “Boundaries” series called “Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships.” The book discusses ways one is able to rebuild trust in an old relationship or build trust in a new relationship after enduring hurt and betrayal. The book also offers tips for evaluating whether or not someone who has hurt you is deserving of your trust again: such as the person’s full or lack of commitment to changing for the better; the person being more aware of and intentional towards your feelings; and the person learning from and implementing relational lessons to not repeat the same past mistakes.

     Rebuilding trust is able to be doable if the person is willing to change and is repentive towards the one they hurt. The author of the book, Dr. John Townsend, writes that authentic transformation in a person is visible when they: confess what they did was wrong and how that wrong negatively affected you; own up to their negative behavior and the actions it caused; experiences genuine remorse for how they treated you and affected you; and changes their behavior to be more adaptive and healthy in their character with others, themselves, and you.

    Another aspect of the book I thought was interesting was that the person with whom you’re reconnecting or connecting should have other healthy and adaptive interpersonal relationships outside of you: relationships that are uplifting, accountable, encouraging, mature, and positive. Dr. Townsend writes that those who interact with toxic, enabling, and unhealthy people are going to embody those personality traits, creating even more negative and maladaptive relationships in their lives. Hence, he emphasizes the importance of being connected to others who have healthy connections outside of you.

     As someone who’s dealt with a lot of relational wounds, I found this book beyond helpful and humbling. Reading it gave me perspective on what to look out for in relationships of which I may give another chance and to build intimate trust, honesty, and vulnerability in new relationships. 

   The book reminded me of the importance of being in relationships with those who have other healthy relationships around them. If they’re surrounded by toxic and unhealthy people, chances are I’m going to be affected by those enabling and draining influences they carry with them.

   I also began to reflect on ways I’m able to improve in interpersonal interactions, such as being more patient and understanding with others, being more objective when things could go right or wrong, and being more willing to address my own issues if I was the one in the wrong.

    However, before trust is able to be rebuilt or gained, the meaning of trust needs to be understood, according to Crystal Raypole from Healthline. Trust in a relationship-platonic or romantic-involves commitment, good communication, vulnerability, safety, honesty, respect, support, and good listening. Raypole also notes that trust is a choice. If two people in a healthy relationship are serious about the relationship, they are able to choose to trust one another with their secrets, their fears, and their desires. If trust is not established with one or both parties, then the relationship will fall apart.

     Rebuilding or gaining trust requires some steps. Melissa Ricker from A Conscious Rethink lists some ways trust is able to be restored or created through forgiveness, caution, and openness. In order to trust, we have to forgive others and ourselves for poor and inappropriate words and actions that were said and done-or we’re going to constantly be stuck in a cycle of bitterness and fear.

     Ricker writes that we are justified in trusting our gut instinct when someone doesn’t seem like they’ve changed or don’t seem like a person worth getting to know; we also have the right to be vulnerable and open about our experiences-without allowing our past to define our present and future relationships and our own character. We also are validated in having time to grieve our losses and hurt-we just shouldn’t remain in a constant state of victimization. 

     Rebuilding or cultivating trust is able to be difficult. But, with the right people, it’s worth the time and energy.

 

References:

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Boundaries-Learning-Trust-Relationships/dp/0310330769

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/living-forward/201609/how-rebuild-trust-someone-who-hurt-you

https:/www.healthline.com/health/how-to-rebuild-trust#defining-trust

https://www.aconsciousrethink.com/4204/trust-learning-let-someone-despite-past-hurt/

How Self-Fulfilling Prophecies are Able to Make Us Settle for Less

     All of us want more in life. We may want more employment or academic opportunities. We may want more friends. We may want more out of our romantic aspects of life. We may want more opportunities to travel. We may want a new house, a new car. We may even want a new life period. Yet, we sometimes get stuck in life’s monotonous moments. The question I want to pose is: Why do we settle for less?

     Something I’ve come to see in my field of psychology-as well as reading studies from psychologists-is that self-fulfilling prophecies are able to influence where we are in life. According to Courtney E. Ackerman, MSc, from Positive Psychology, a self-fulfilling prophecy is defined as: “a belief or expectation that an individual holds about a future event that manifests because the individual holds it.” For example, if someone begins their morning being stuck in traffic, they could then make their prediction come true based on their attitude.

     Self-fulfilling prophecies prevent us from seeing the positive, and keep us stuck in a negative mindset; we then dive into a cycle of monotony and unfulfillment and grow to believe that nothing in our lives could change for the better, even if we try. We may also begin to believe that we don’t deserve better for our lives, settling on mediocre things, opportunities, and people to surround us. 

     When we settle for less, we become negatively affected emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Jeff Steinmann from Life Hack discusses that when we plant ourselves in mediocrity, we become more tired due to boredom and unfulfillment; we constantly say we’ll do the next big thing “someday” or “after” something else; we blame other people for our lack of success, and rag on those who are successful and joyful in their lives because we’re jealous of them; and we become numb to our own feelings and desires because we become secure in the mundane-when in reality, we should want something more for ourselves.

     Ackerman goes on to note that those who have a negative sense of self will also find their careers or relationships to be failing, non-existent, or mundane. For example, a man may not put in the effort for a job he doesn’t see himself being promoted or succeeding in. Therefore, when he messes up on a project, he’ll believe himself to be correct: that he wasn’t worth promoting. Or, a woman could be stuck in a relationship that hit a bumpy road, and she’ll see it as failing. She’ll want to leave it because her mindset is the relationship is going to continue to get worse, and nothing she’ll do will fix it. These self-fulfilling prophecies forbid us from having the most abundant careers and relationships-and we allow ourselves to ruin our chances of success and joy.

     We are sometimes so frightened of taking chances that we prevent ourselves from living the thriving, successful, and joyful lives we are meant to live. Adi Jaffe, Ph.D, from Psychology Today states that when we start to accept the “okay’s” in our lives, we lose the motivation to make those okay’s into something great. When we believe nothing in our lives will grow, we hinder ourselves from blossoming into the people we were meant to become. We hinder ourselves from entering the most productive career opportunities. We hinder ourselves from entering the most loving relationships we could ever have.

     Fortunately, we are able to step out of mediocrity. We’re able to leave the mindset of deserving less than what we truly deserve. Jill P. Weber, Ph.D, from Psychology Today gives some advice on how we are able to stop settling for less: 

  1. Stop rationalizing the poor behavior of others.

       One of our biggest problems in settling for less is thinking we deserve toxic people. When we surround ourselves with negative, abusive people, we prevent growth in relationships that are able to be healthy for us; we even prevent growth for ourselves because we are so bogged down by their cruelty. Weber writes that when we accept others’ poor behavior, and walk away from them, we are able to have a healthier self-esteem and more energy to create or preserve healthier relationships in our lives.

   2. Recognize that not getting what you want isn’t a personal curse.

        In regards to the example I shared about the man and his career prospects, we need to remember that we will experience some failures in our career. However, not all of those failures are personal; they don’t indicate that we are unable to measure up. Rather, failures are lessons that are able to teach us where we need to be corrected, and where we are able to execute our strengths.

   3. Don’t agree with what you don’t want.

        Oftentimes, when we settle for less, we often say yes to things we don’t necessarily want or desire for ourselves because we fear we may not get other opportunities to be a little happy or lucky. Yet, when we always say yes, we don’t allow our needs to be met. We also don’t allow our identities to be reflected in what we say and do. We’re allowed to say no to certain things, and to say yes to other things. Weber encourages self-reflection: to look inward and to learn more about ourselves, as well as what we need and want from our lives.

     Self-fulfilling prophecies are able to hinder us from the lives we truly deserve and make us settle for less. Yet, when we surround ourselves with positive people and learn more about ourselves, we will realize that we have the potential to do anything we set our minds to do; we will realize that we’re meant for more than mediocrity.

 

References:

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/11-warning-signs-that-youre-settling-for-less-life.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/having-sex-wanting-intimacy/201701/5-ways-stop-settling-less-you-deserve

https://positivepsychology.com/self-fulfilling-prophecy/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-addiction/201806/why-you-should-never-settle-okay

The Act of Keeping It Together When You Feel Like Falling Apart

     Hey, everyone! I’m back with another post. I want to discuss a topic that I feel we all have struggles with: the act of keeping it together when you feel like falling apart.

     So, what does keeping it together while falling apart mean? It could mean telling people you’re doing fine when you’re anything but fine. It could mean swallowing your feelings so no one sees how things are truly bothering you. It could mean pretending that life is going great when it’s going terribly. It could mean giving fake smiles to people when you feel like crying. It could mean posting happy photos and statuses on social media when you feel burdened by sorrow in real life. We all have our moments of pretending we’re okay when we’re not even close to it.

     Pretending to be okay is able to be extremely painful and draining. We feel as if we could burden others with our problems; or, some of us may feel that we can handle everything all on our own. We may be too scared or prideful to be open and vulnerable with others on what is really happening in our lives. We may feel misunderstood or judged in our circumstances. However, when we handle things alone, the problems become more suffocating and horrifying. We feel empty, numb, and hopeless in our struggles. We have to be honest and real about our feelings in order to feel support and some relief.

     Being honest with others about what you’re enduring is okay. Asking for help to get back on your feet is okay. And taking care of yourself is okay. We don’t have to keep up an act when we’re hurting inside. In being honest about our struggles, we’re taking the first step towards healing.

Be the Hero in Someone’s Story

     Life is full of connecting with people. We are born into families; and throughout our years, we will come to meet other people. These people will become our friends, lovers, mentors, inspirations. Some may remain in the background of your journey. Some may be the ones who hurt you in your story. Or, some may help you along the way.

     We all have the ability to be a hero or a villain in someone’s story. We may be the ones to make them laugh until they cry-or wound them until they cry. We may be the ones who will lift them off their feet-or knock them on their knees. We may be the ones to encourage them to pursue their dreams-or discourage them from ever trying. We are able to make or break a person.

     Sometimes, we forget that what we say and do is able to positively or negatively affect others. We have the power to raise them up or tear them down in our words and actions. We have the power to make someone happy or sad. We have the power to make someone feel a part of something or to feel utterly alone. We are able to bring harmony or chaos into someone’s life based on how we treat their emotions, circumstances, and overall self.

     Furthermore, we often ignore or stand by when things in people’s lives are falling apart. We think we might be “helping” them in not doing anything at all. However, in doing nothing, we’re not helping anyone; rather, we usually make matters worse for the ones who are suffering in being blind to what they’re enduring. In our excuses and attempts to pretend to be heroes, we in reality are the villains.

     We all have our own story. We have our moments of peace and war, joy and sorrow, and success and failure. Even though we all are capable of making our own choices and thinking for ourselves, we are still able to shape or warp how people see their situations, others, and even themselves. Our smallest decisions-to either help, hinder, or ignore someone-is able to speak large volumes.

     We truly are able to fill someone’s life with either light or darkness-hope and hopelessness. We need to be intentional in being there for those in need. We need to be compassionate when others are suffering. And, we need to give to those who may have nothing. Instead of being the villain in someone’s story-be the hero who makes a positive difference.

Lessons I Wish I Learned Sooner, but I’m Glad I’ve Learned Now

     Life is able to teach us valuable lessons that we are able to accept or reject, to implement or abandon. Sometimes, we’ll receive new lessons. And sometimes we’ll receive old lessons that we didn’t understand the first or more times we received them. I want to discuss lessons that I wished I learned sooner-but, glad I’ve come to learn now.

     I could go on and on about all the stress and pain I endured from July to December (which have been mentioned in some other blog posts). I address this hard time in my life again because it truly taught me a lot of lessons-both old and new. These lessons have been extremely viable, and have helped me to heal and recover. I also believe these lessons are able to help anyone-wherever they may be in life. The lessons I learned were:

  1. Being honest with others without overstepping boundaries.
  2. Maintaining a balance between logic and emotion.
  3. Knowing when to let go of toxic people.
  4. Refusing to give credence to lies or rumors.
  5. I am only able to do my best.
  6. I am able to trust my intuition when something seems off or wrong.
  7. I deserve respect and love.
  8. God is the only One is able to fill the void in my soul.

 

  1. For most of my life, I kept everything to myself: my emotions, my struggles, and my thoughts. I never felt comfortable in being vulnerable and honest with people because I was always discouraged to do so; I was taught to see vulnerability as a weakness, not a beautiful trait when handled correctly and with the right people. As I grew older, I started to become more comfortable with being honest about how I felt and thought to others.

      However, I also came to realize that, when I was inappropriately honest, I was able to overstep others’ boundaries and my own; me being inappropriately brash caused more confusion, anger, and sadness for other parties and me. I’ve come to see that I am able to still be honest with others without divulging much personal information; I’m able to be appropriately honest while respecting others’ boundaries and my own.

2. I am able to be a logical person-sometimes. Usually, I’m pretty emotional. As I went through an extremely emotionally exhausting situation, my emotions were in overdrive; unfortunately, my logic was almost stamped out often. I allowed my emotions to get the best of me because I was so overwhelmed, tired, and unhappy with everything happening. I had to take a step back and examine my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The action of giving into my emotions will always be one of the hardest things for me to overcome. However, I’m more aware of how important maintaining a balance between logic and emotion is important for my relationships and my own sanity.

   3.  Since I’ve started this blog nearly two years ago, I constantly encouraged all my readers to let go of toxic people. (I’m pretty sure all my loved ones in real life hear me preach this nearly every other day, week, and month). For the past eight years of my life, I became more dedicated to letting go of toxic people and surrounding myself with more positive, healthy people. However, I still have my flaws and am able to be quite merciful to the wrong people sometimes. 

     I lost a lot of people these past six months-but honestly, I’m not really upset by it anymore. A lot of those people were toxic, often creating rumors, drama, and strife to hurt others and me. They’d admit to belittling and hurting others; and I’ve come to find out they never cared about me. Others were simply as stuck as I was in thoughts and emotions; and these types of interactions aren’t usually the healthiest for either party.

      I used to feel guilty thinking about letting some of these interactions go. But, I’ve come to realize that letting go of toxic people is better for my health, my relationships with good people, and my own self-worth. I truly understand what having peace means when I walk away from negative, life sucking people. 

4. Many lies and rumors plagued me in the situations I’ve endured. No one was telling the truth, and a lot of assumptions, lies, and gossip were created to fill the holes in a story that may never receive a true answer. These lies and rumors wrecked me; I would have days in which I woke up nauseous and fearful of what messages would possibly appear on my phone and what “friends” would try to whisper to me. I had to sit down with myself and truly reflect on how I needed to stop listening to these rumors before they destroyed me completely.

     Because I’m an overthinker, I still have some moments in which I’m not sure if the lie is the truth and vice versa. However, through God, a good support system, and treatment, I have an easier time detecting lies and rumors-and letting them go to take care of my health.

5. I’m an overachiever and a perfectionist. I desire to do well: to be the best worker, the best student, the best family member, the best friend, and the best lover. When I disappoint people or don’t do well, I’m a mess. I feel like a failure; I feel like I’m not good enough. And all these thoughts reached an unhealthy all-time high in the past six months.

     I felt like I failed everyone around me. I felt that no matter what I did, nothing was going to be fixed; nothing was good enough for anyone. I often felt that I was even a failure to God as one of His children. And yet, I’ve learned that all I am able to do is my best; I am not a failure, especially through God. I cannot base my personality, accomplishments, and failures on the opinions of others because I will always be unhappy and unfulfilled. I do have my flaws; I will make mistakes and disappoint others. But, I know I do my best in all areas of my life; and that is good enough. 

6. We all may have what we call a “sixth sense.” Usually, that is able to be perceived as intuition. For most of my life, my intuition was pretty tuned in warning me who or what was good or bad for me. However, often in my desire to be merciful and empathetic, I often ignored my intuition-getting myself more hurt and humiliated than if I listened to my intuition from the beginning. I’m learning more that I’m still able to be compassionate to others; but, I’m also able to be cautious and careful.

7. I always preach self-respect and self-love on my blogs; and I truly do believe in these concepts. However, I didn’t always apply them to myself ironically. I’ve learned that I need to respect and love myself in order to receive the love and respect I deserve.  I still have my insecure moments, but I’m more aware each and every day how much I deserve the healthy respect and love from others that I need to give to myself.

8. Lastly, I’ve learned that only God is able to fill the void I may have within me. No person or thing will be able to give me the purest and holiest love, compassion, justice, and respect that only God is able to deliver. At the end of the day, God is the only One who is able to make me feel whole and complete within my soul and spirit.

     I hope to carry these lessons with me as I still continue this life journey. In regards to the old lessons, I dearly regret not accepting and implementing them in my life prior to this situation; perhaps the pain could have been minimized; perhaps I would have made better decisions. However, I still have time to accept and implement the old lessons in order to be wiser and kinder in my present and future. In regards to the new lessons, I’m more willing to accept and implement them, as well. 

     This situation was horrendous to endure. However, I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, and to God for helping me out of this valley.

Sometimes We Hinder Ourselves

    I want to start this message by posing a question: have you ever felt that your life was at a standstill? We may experience monotonous moments in life based on circumstances we endure or people we encounter. However, sometimes we might be the reason why life is in a rut; we may be the reason why we’re not growing.

    Sometimes we hinder ourselves from being our best selves. We become stuck in our pride or pain to the point we’re unable to move forward and live a thriving life. Sometimes we prevent ourselves from confronting our issues because of our fears and stubbornness. We remain in a standstill and then wonder why life doesn’t seem so quite fulfilling; we stay in a self-pitying mold instead of breaking out of it to become better than who we originally were.

     I also think we hinder ourselves by embodying a victim mentality. A victim mentality is different from enduring horrific experiences such as trauma that would deem one a victim. According to Dr. John Townsend, author of “Beyond Boundaries” and coauthor of “Boundaries,” a victim mentality is when one believes that everything and everyone cause you to experience what you experience in your life; you don’t believe you deserve what you endured, and that everyone around you is either worse than you or should have it worse than you. Crystal Raypole from Healthline takes it further and states that a victim mentality is also able to stem from feeling that any attempt to fix things will not help things improve. 

     In my personal and professional life, I’ve seen many people take on the mentality of a victim: blaming everyone and everything for why their lives are messes, not being willing to confront themselves, and not doing anything to help their lives, relationships, and characters improve from what they endured. I’ve witnessed these people make some poor choices in order to be perceived as victims who had little control when in fact they had all the control in their decisions. I’ve realized that I myself went through periods in which I allowed myself to be the victim-and didn’t allow myself to improve in a healthier fashion.

     I went through a lot of painful, confusing, and heartbreaking situations these past six months. I lost a lot. However, as I reflected on what I faced, I began realizing I could have handled things a lot more maturely and healthily than I thought I did. I unfortunately fell into the pattern of having a victim mentality. I became so stuck in my pain that I was too prideful to step out of it. I allowed my boundaries to be overstepped in whom I confide my problems. I allowed my own emotions of anger, sadness, loneliness, confusion, humiliation, fear, and grief to control my reaction to my experiences and made some poor decisions. 

     No one told me to make these choices; and if anyone did encourage them, I most certainly had the choice to refuse. I realized that my choices were my choices at the end of the day. Yes, my pain was valid, but I was able to allow my pain to help me or hinder me as I continued to persevere in this life. I allowed my situation to hinder my progress in life instead of helping my progress.

     I eventually decided to let go and let God: I let go of my pride to be humble, and to be removed from a path of pain, bitterness, and heartache to a path of healing, strength, and forgiveness. I cut away toxic people and things from my life and kept safe people and things close to me. Accountability and prayer became my greatest levels of support I have received from those around me. 

     However, I truly wonder if I would have branched out of all the mud and mire a lot sooner if I didn’t hinder myself. Yet, the past is the past; staying contained in self-pity isn’t healthy either. Therefore, I must learn from what my behaviors and experiences and move forward to become a better person-something we all need to do to heal and to help ourselves.

     We have the ability to help or hinder ourselves in our experiences. Nancy Carbone from Psych Central wrote that those who have a victim mentality have the belief that they are not in control of their lives, and often resent others for living their lives. However, that belief is one of the biggest lies we’re able to tell ourselves. We are in control of how we react and respond to what we endure. We are in charge of whether or not we will have healthy relational boundaries and a healthy sense of self-esteem as we move forward from hurtful and grieving moments.

    We all have the choice to be stagnant or to grow; we all are able to say yes or no to both positive and negative people and things that surround us. We all are able to help or hinder ourselves. The choice is ours.

 

References:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-10-warning-signs-of-having-a-victim-mentality/

https://www.healthline.com/health/victim-mentality

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Boundaries-Learning-Trust-Relationships/dp/0310330769/ref=sr_1_1?crid=20F58K3ZS4E8K&keywords=beyond+boundaries+learning+to+trust+again+in+relationships&qid=1580591851&sprefix=beyond+bou%2Caps%2C319&sr=8-1

Losing Your Identity in People or Circumstances

     Life is a journey that is full of good and bad times, good and bad people, and good and bad character development. We each are given a path in our time on earth that is able to advance or hinder us, depending on how we react. We also grow into our identities throughout life. However, we need to be careful where we create our identity.

     Oftentimes, we place our identity in either people, circumstances, or both. We carve our place on earth in our career, hobbies, and relationships. We identify ourselves by what we do or with whom we surround ourselves. We cement our worth in the positions and relationships we hold. While none of these things are necessarily bad, they are able to negatively shape us if they become our sole source of identity; furthermore, people or things are able to worsen us if they themselves are unhealthy.

     We often lose our identity in people and circumstances. When relationships don’t work out, we become despondent and either blame others or ourselves for things not working out the way we wanted. We feel hollow from the loss as if we were cut to pieces. Especially in romance, we try to jump to someone else because we hate to be alone with ourselves. When circumstances don’t work out, we often feel that we failed or that we weren’t good enough to keep or deserve what we lost. We feel that we didn’t work hard enough, that there’s something internally wrong with us at our core.

     Grief, anger, confusion, and sadness are normal emotions to experience when we’re dealing with loss or conflict. And anyone is perfectly validated to be upset or furious when relationships or circumstances don’t pan out. However, when we treat them as our main source of identity rather than components of our lives, we lose sight of who we are-and who we’re able to become. We lose sight of our true worth-and of how much we’re meant to be and do in our life journey. When we stumble to-and-fro through life in placing fragments of our character into what or who is around us, we end up feeling unfulfilled, discouraged, and hopeless. We end up hurting those around us and hurting our chances of growth in careers and hobbies due to losing our identities in everything and everyone else.

     We need to cultivate our identity in who we are. We need to look deep within ourselves and learn about who we are, why we are the way we are, and what could we do to be better in our character. We need to find out what our purpose is outside of the people around us and the circumstances that surround us. For those that believe in God, we must solidify who we are in Him in order to find out what our identity means to us in the grand scheme of our life purpose. 

     Relationships and careers are able to be wonderful elements in our lives, especially if they’re healthy for us. Yet, we’re harming them and ourselves if we place our identities in them. In order to be the best we are able for others, things, and ourselves, we need to find our identities in our characters. Only then will we be able to flourish.