ERP 120: How To Build Trust With Your Partner – Part Three
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Trust is essential to the success of a happy, loving, lasting relationship. Yet, many of us are confused about how to develop trust in a relationship.
In episode 118, I offered you 2 of the 5 tips in how to build trust with your partner. I encourage you to check it out if you missed it.
In episode 119, I discussed Brené Brown’s talk on The Anatomy of Trust, where she offers important components of trust, which is based on her research and findings. Brené Brown gives us an acronym to work with: B.R.A.V.I.N.G.
To recap, B is for boundaries, R is for reliability, A is for accountability. V is for the vault. I is for integrity. N is for non-judgment. G is for generosity.
TIPS TO DEVELOPING TRUST IN RELATIONSHIP
Let’s continue to use the Trust Fall exercise as an analogy as we look at how to develop a solid foundation for trust in relationship.
3. Letting go.
The act of falling back requires taking a risk and being vulnerable. This is especially true when we do not know someone that well or do not have previous trusting experience to rely on.
Before letting go, it is important to have invested in step one, “clarifying agreements,” and step two, “creating safety.” These steps focus on communication, how to work together, and how to set-up the interaction well. It doesn’t provide a guarantee, but it can eliminate a lot confusion and misunderstandings.
- Letting go involves giving up the attempts to control (i.e. not trying to catch yourself).
What comes up for you when you have a choice to “fall back”? Do you notice any level of fear and anxiety? This is normal, and what do you do with the fear and anxiety in relationship? Do you:
- Occupy the space through talking, entertaining, and telling stories and not giving people a chance to respond or be there for you.
- Try to hide or conceal your authentic feelings by pretending everything is great and wonderful all the time.
- Distract by bringing attention to others through questions, criticism, or attacks.
- Denying any of your needs, wants, or desires, by being extra self-reliant and self-sufficient. “I don’t need anyone.” “It’s okay. I am okay.”
With previous trauma or old pain, it can be very difficult to let go. “You don’t have to rely on unreliable people anymore.” (story)
A trust fall does not work if someone doesn’t want to fall or tries to control the process. They don’t get to experience and the benefit of being caught. “You caught me.” There is a certain intimacy and closeness that comes from being caught by someone as well as catching someone who is relying on you.
If we never let go, we never allow someone to catch-us. Letting go requires a willingness to be vulnerable. If you missed the series about vulnerability. You can check out the first episode here.
4. Allowing for Time & Practice.
- Work out the kinks in your interactions. Take the time to evaluate what is working well and what is not well.
- Work towards learning and understanding each other better (i.e. intentions, values, meanings, and approaches).
- Accept what your partner shares with you about their experience and reality. This is very challenging when we think we know what is going on.
- When one partner gets to their vulnerable truth, it can be hard for their partner to believe them and let down their guard. This is most difficult after long periods of cyclical arguments…almost as if they have been adversaries on this issue for so long they don’t know how to calibrate the shift.
- Offer forgiveness, if you can. Try to acknowledge how they were doing the best they could even if it was not what you wanted.
- Prioritize the value of trust. Some people worry that they are being too picky, controlling or uptight. As Brené Brown talked about in her The Anatomy of Trust talk, there are important qualities to the health and trust in relationships.
- It can be crazy making to question whether or not you have trust issues or if your partner is not trustworthy.
- To evaluate the level of trust within you and your partner’s interactions, consider taking an honest look at step one and step two in episode 118, as well as the components of trust in episode 119.
- If you and your partner’s interactions are trusting and trustworthy, then consider looking at your ability to be vulnerable and what is making that difficult for you.
5. Believing in your worthiness:
- Staying in a relationship with someone who is untrustworthy and is not willing to engage in a constructive process together can lead to a toxic dynamic.
- This can be especially problematic when one doubts their lovability and if they will ever find someone else.
“One of the biggest casualties with heartbreak and disappointment and failure and our struggle is not just a loss of trust with other people but the loss of self trust. When something hard happens in our lives the first thing we say is I will not trust myself. I was so stupid. I was so naive.” by Brené Brown
- You can develop self-trust by looking at how you show-up for yourself, how you take care of yourself, and how you advocate for yourself. Consider using Brené Brown’s B.R.A.V.I.N.G. to look at your level of trust with yourself.
“Did I honor my own boundaries? Was I reliable, can I count on myself? Did I hold myself accountable? Was I really protective of my stories? Did I stay in my integrity? Was I judgmental towards myself? Did I give myself the benefit of the doubt, was A generous towards myself? by Brené Brown
- You can’t have a genuine relationship without bringing yourself to the relationship. You can’t enter into a good exchange, if you don’t show up.
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves but say I love you.” by Maya Angelou
- You deserve to be treated with love. You are worthy. The possibility of your creating a trusting relationship does exist. You are not doing anyone any favors by engaging in untrustworthy behaviors.
Is there a way you can improve one aspect of trust in your relationship? Maybe you can clarify your agreements, address a specific area of trust, or let yourself fall back into your partners arms. Try focusing on one aspect to develop more trust in your relationship.
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If you are interested in developing new skills to overcome relationship challenges, please consider taking the Empowered Relationship Course or doing relationship coaching work with me.