Trust is like a brick wall.
Here’s a visual that explains how trust works. Imagine a huge brick wall. That wall was built by adding one brick at a time, brick by brick and slowly over a certain period; those bricks accumulate to become a solid and strong structure. It can take years to build, and the only way to build it is by adding one brick at a time. There’s no shortcut to building that wall any faster, and the only way to build it is by carefully adding one brick at a time.
Every opportunity that person has to show they’re trustworthy represents one brink in the wall. Then due to a betrayal and shattering of trust, it takes only moments for it to be torn down.
Now, imagine that huge brick wall tumbling down because of something tragic and unexpected. You’re looking at the rubble that used to be this enormous brick wall, and you can’t imagine how that wall can ever be repaired. Here’s what I believe.
I believe it can’t be repaired, but it can be rebuilt.
You’re looking at a pile of bricks that took years of consistency, repetition, and attention to build. If the entire wall came tumbling down, patching it up simply won’t work. With the brick wall down, you also have an opportunity to see if it can be rebuilt any better, bigger, stronger, or more beautiful.
You have another option too.
That option is to decide if it’s even worth the effort and energy it would take to rebuild or if you’d be better off walking away. If you choose to rebuild a new wall, however, what’s the only way to put it back together again? Brick by brick by brick.
Sure, you can stare at the rubble of bricks and decide that it’s too big and too exhausting of a task to build again. You can question if it’s worth the effort and energy that it will take to rebuild and how you’ll approach this new project. But that’s totally up to you.
That’s how trust works.
It can take years to build trust with someone and in one earth shattering moment, the entire wall can come tumbling down.
While it can most definitely be built again, however, there are unfortunately no shortcuts here. Building that trust couldn’t be rushed when it was originally being built, and it certainly can’t be rushed when it comes to building it again, especially if the intention is to rebuild that trust with the person who hurt you. Let’s dive into this a bit more.
Rebuilding trust in yourself and your decisions and trusting in something bigger, in life, and in your healing is completely up to you. Rebuilding trust in the person who hurt you involves a few other steps, so let’s start there. First, it may or may not be an option. If the person who hurt you is unwilling to take responsibility for their actions, if they’re denying what they did or said, or if they somehow blame you for the betrayal, you really don’t have much to work with here when it comes to rebuilding trust with that person.
Trying to rebuild trust when you’re met with this response isn’t the best use of your time and energy. Your experience may also leave you with the fact that the person who hurt you may no longer be alive or in any capacity to begin this new trust-rebuilding project. So, here it’s best to focus on yourself and your healing so that you can move on.
However, while some people are unwilling to rebuild trust with the person they hurt, some betrayers can be open, available, and eager to rebuild a new and better brick wall of trust if given the opportunity. These people have a very different response. These are the “bricklayers,” the ones ready and willing to do whatever it takes to build a new wall. They’re grateful for the opportunity, and it’s as if the fog has been cleared for them to see you and what truly matters so clearly. These are the people who (if you are willing to try too) are going to do all they can to build something new and beautiful. Once realizing how deeply they hurt you (while being remorseful, taking full responsibility, and, if they’re willing, doing what it takes to regain your trust), you can slowly see the potential here.
If this is your betrayer’s honest response to the pain they caused and you’re willing to consider slowly and carefully rebuilding a new relationship with that person, you’re both in a position to see that brick wall slowly become rebuilt.
How do you know if that person is willing to do the work and if it’s in your best interest to watch that wall get rebuilt? How do you know when it’s best to walk away? How do you rebuild trust in yourself and others so you regain that sense of safety and security that was torn down?
We’re taking it all on in the 5-day Trust Again Challenge. Back by popular demand, it’s the 4th time I’m hosting this Challenge. Trust is so foundation and when it’s shattered, it impacts our trust in others, in ourselves…in everything. When we’re coming from that space, we’ve closed ourselves off to the joy, love and fulfillment that’s available to us when we learn how to safely, carefully and cautiously trust again. You deserve to heal from all of it.
Not only is it possible, it’s predictable.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute