How do you regain someone’s trust after you did something to them?
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about trust. How do you regain someone’s trust after you did something to them? Or, how do you trust someone after they wronged you?
I usually do not trust people easily. It takes me a long time to open up to someone and to reveal parts of myself. Hence, it is no surprise that many people think I am stuck up and unapproachable. And I prefer it that way. Over the years, I have embraced people’s misunderstandings of me.
However, people’s misunderstandings haven’t pressured me to become a version of myself that I am not comfortable with. I do not want to please people. I think it is an undignifying way to live your life. But let me get back to trust.
So there are two ways to look at trust. One is from the “victim’s” point of view, and the other is from the “perpetrator’s” point of view. And for me, the answer to the question has always been consistency.
If one party say they are sorry, do the other party have to believe them? For me, it is less about the act of saying “I apologise” or “I am sorry” and more about the actions that follow. I always check if there is any remorse or whether the person’s behaviour continues in a similar fashion that led to a lack of trust in the first place.
If the consistency is towards repeated painful actions, the one party is definitely not sorry and will repeatedly do it. They will continue to do so because they can. Or, they will continue to do so because you forgive too easily. This is where I cut my ties and move on.
If the consistency is towards remorse and a behaviour change, it might be the one party is genuinely sorry. But, this still does not mean that there is trust between the two parties. There is, however, a possibility for healing.
In the end, it comes down to whether the wounds will heal enough for the one party to forget that something bad had happened. Yet this does not mean the scars will go away. As soon as something similar happens, it might trigger and open old wounds, and that may cause a temporary lapse in trust. But then again, there is more than one side to any story, and this is my side.