These steps have been developed from my own personal experience and research on the subject, and can be applied to many different situations where there has been an ‘erosion of TRUST’. This process has worked for me as I have been on both sides of the fence. This is intended to be a simple guide on a very complex subject. Use your own good judgment to decide if will be right for you.
Before we start, the individual must decide if they have any intention of repairing the trust that was lost because of the situation/action/behaviour. Trust has to be earned, and not just with verbal reassurances either. If they are willing to follow the steps listed below, then the process has already begun. Thank them for their willingness.
Step 1 – Acknowledge the situation/action/behaviour that contributed to the erosion of trust.
This is often called expressing remorse. Saying, “I am really sorry for doing …………………… which caused you to feel ………………….. !” is a great place to start. But the form the acknowledgement takes, must be in direct proportion to the situation/action/behaviour that caused the problem in the first place. Let me give you an example. If one partner has been unfaithful and all the family and friends know, then the remorse needs to be expressed not just to the person that felt the immediate pain, but to all the other people who are aware of (and have been effected by) the situation as well …. rather than elaborate on the reasons why this is necessary, I will allow you to come up with your own list of benefits.
Step 2 – Ask the person/people who were hurt by the situation/action/behaviour, what they need from you in order to regain their trust.
This will give you a guide as to what might work for them. Each person is an individual and has differing needs. Don’t assume you know what is best for them. If you really did know, you wouldn’t have caused the situation/action/behaviour in the first place. If their requirements seem unreasonable to you and you are unwilling to proceed, this is the best place to opt out of the process and say your goodbyes. Of course it could also be the best place to negotiate – but I do not recommend it. You have caused that person/people hurt. They are likely to still be in a fragile or reactive state and neither of these states provide a reasonable or wise foundation to negotiate from. Never-the-less, once you have found out what they’d like, I hope you are willing to move on to the next step.
Step 3 – Make a commitment to do what it takes to fulfill the requests/requirements the other person/people have given you.
Even if you think they are unreasonable or being silly or anything else…make the commitment (to yourself and to them), that you are willing to do what they have asked, because it is up to YOU to rebuild the trust. Be genuine with your commitment. It is often in this step that some of the original requests/requirements that are unreasonable might be relaxed – but don’t expect it! If you have moved to Step 3 in an attempt to manipulate the other person to ‘drop their unreasonable requests/requirements’ you will have wasted your time and theirs. Get out now and save everybody more pain. Yet again, I hope you are wiling to move through to the next step. It is here that you will learn more about yourself, your level of commitment and what it truly takes to build a great relationship with yourself and the people around you.
Step 4 – Consistently change your behaviour.
Consistently change your behaviour according to the requests/requirements they have given you. This can be the part that takes great courage, yet also provides you with the greatest opportunity to regain trust in YOURSELF first. Whether you are aware of it or not, your actions have effected you as much as they have effected the person you hurt. Keep moving through this step, no matter what challenges may seem to come your way, yet from experience, this is the stage where you are likely to feel the most empowered. You have made the commitment to yourself to be the best person you can be. And you are demonstrating changed behaviours that you have chosen to adopt for the benefit of everyone concerned. No matter what happens to your relationship with the other person/people, it is now up to you to continue to demonstrate and for them to meet you half way and notice that you have changed according to their requests/requirements. In saying that – don’t expect it…simply allow the space for that half-way meeting to occur and it will usually take some time if it does occur at all.
Copyright © Elizabeth Richardson
Elizabeth Richardson is an educator, author, mother and business developer. She operates the Mini-Movie-Maker Website which provides valuable resources and support for people who want to make their own Vision Movies. She is also the founder of the The Appreciation Space – a business devoted to supporting people in adopting powerful, life-enhancing habits and beginning each day with a fresh perspective. At Get Rid Of Bad Habits – for good! you’ll find successful techniques, processes and hints to help you achieve your goals and it also takes an honest look at love, sex and intimacy and provides useful information on how to create the most fulfilling relationships you can imagine.
But, there is also another essential aspect of the ‘trust restoring’ process that must be dealt with for a true resolution to take place. Go to Creating Peace For Yourself And The Person Who Has Hurt You