In my previous article, "To Trust or Not to Trust", I gave some suggestions and recommendations on how to assess and determine how trustworthy a dating partner is. However, I fully understand that just because you might accurately determine if someone is "trustworthy", that doesn't mean you will automatically feel and act trusting of them as a result. Why not? Scars. Emotional baggage. Other pain and problems creating "trust issues".
Perhaps you have been strongly hurt or disappointed in previous relationships. Perhaps you have abandonment, abuse, or neglect issues from your childhood/ family background. Maybe you've had bad previous dating experiences and breakups. Perhaps you have been through a divorce and along with the emotional scars you also took a strong financial hit and have a challenging co-parenting situation. So whatever your reasons and background, maybe you're now pretty hesitant relationally, perhaps even a little paranoid, cynical, or "snake bitten".
Whatever your family and relationship background is, logically determining someone is trustworthy is just the first step. The second step will be a challenge of, "how do I now let down my guard, allow myself to be emotionally vulnerable again, and allow this trustworthy person inside and give this relationship the best chance to succeed?" Or, you might ask yourself, "I know he/she is trustworthy, but how can I feel and act trusting when I have been hurt and let down before? How can I get myself to take that risk again" That's the challenge, isn't it? So here are a few suggestions on how to let go of pain and defenses, trust the trustworthy, and give a promising, healthy relationship the best, fullest chance possible to succeed:
1) Get some counseling from a professional, licensed, experienced and qualified psychotherapist--preferably a licensed marriage & family therapist or a licensed clinical psychologist. Get the professional help you need to work through and let go of your old pains, wounds, and scars. Work through your remaining anger, depression, guilt, and anxiety. Open up and work it out. They have professional training and experience to help you in these ways. LDS Family Services have fellow therapists who understand, respect, and share your principles and values. Other licensed LDS psychotherapists (or at least those with an understanding of and a respect for such principles) are also recommended. Ask you medical insurance for your "behavioral health" benefits, and then ask for those on their panel who identify as LDS. Of course, meeting with your bishop and getting his spiritual and practical guidance is helpful as well, as needed.
2) Read or listen to some good, helpful self help resources promoting healing, letting go, and preparing yourself to be open and vulnerable again. Here are a few possible suggestions of healing oriented books, which you can look up and read descriptions and reviews of on Amazon.com:
--The PTSD Workbook by Williams and Poijula
--The Feeling Good Handbook by Burns
--Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life by Spradlin
--He Did Deliver Me from Bondage by Harrison (LDS addictions workbook)
Also, the self help books offered and sold at LDS bookstores are either written by LDS authors or are at least respectful of LDS principles. LDS bookstores to browse for these kinds of healing books include www.deseretbook.com, www.seagullbook.com, and www.lds.com (for Ensign articles and other free online materials to read, listen to, or watch). Some relational healing articles at www.psychologytoday.com can also be helpful, as long as they are respectful of LDS beliefs.
3) Practice putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Seperate from dating, go out. Meet new people. Leave the home. Go to activities. Talk to new people. Make friendships. Try new hobbies and interests. Go to the gym. Go the church activities beyond 3 hours on Sundays like dances and singles activities. Go to a singles ward (if available). Introduce yourself to others. Stop waiting for others to approach you. Own the need to liberate yourself from your shell and stop expecting others to help you or do it for you. Stop blaming and finding excuses. Be proactive. Just the act of getting your out there can help you heal by expanding your comfort zone through new connections and experiences. Stop fearing and start living. Go out alone or with others. It doesn't matter. Just get out and do. You can't expect much to improve if you stay home, avoid, and isolate. Move. Go. Do. Get out. Recommended book to help you do this: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
4) Practice choosing to forgive and let go regularly to those who have hurt you. How can you do this, you might ask? Besides the ideas from suggestions 1 and 2 above, I also suggest filling in the blanks and saying out loud answers to the following statements regularly--even daily--perhaps in a mirror:
A) I choose to immediately and completely forgive and let go of_________
(what someone did or failed to do that hurt me or let me down)
B) Because I would like__________
(Why? What personal benefits are you hoping to enjoy by choosing to forgive this person and let go of the pain? After all, that is why you are doing this exercise)
C) I understand__________
(The circumstances, conditions, and things going on at the time that may have led to or contributed to the offense, including anything done from my end as well that may have added to the situation).
D) Therefore, I choose to forgive this and let this go, and I commit and agree from here on out to__________
(To do something better in a healthier way. For example, to trust again, to be open, to be vulnerable, to commit, etc).
Go for it. Choose a life of forgiveness, letting go, healing, cleansing, love, and connection. Remember, "nothing ventured, nothing gained". It's all worth it. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
|2016-03-25||Randy Gilchrist||Dating, Communication, Conflict resolution|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).