Often, we have built up walls to keep us from getting hurt after having bad experiences in the past. But it is important that we don’t keep these walls up for everyone, but rather learn to discriminate which people in our life deserve our trust.
Trust is hard to give, but it is even harder to go through life without opening up and giving your love and friendship to others.
That is why learning to forgive is an important practice that we can do to keep our hearts open. We must trust that if we open ourselves up again to give kindness and love to another friend, that we will receive it in return. Even if it comes from another, unexpected place.
Don’t let the idea of change hold you back– let go of negative or old beliefs that may prevent you from doing what it takes to become open to this practice.
Write down the beliefs that you may have about trusting others– and for each belief write down the counter belief that is the positive opposite. Each time you have a negative thought arise, battle it! You don’t have to take these thoughts for truth– you can trust others and you can find people who won’t hurt you– you can change what you experience.
Relationship psychology tells us that many of the most common social interactions we perform daily can be thought about as ways we can build trust with others. For example:
- Making eye contact. And each time, really looking closer into the other’s eyes when they speak to you. (This is fun to practice with someone who you already close to, and seeing how much closer you feel to them after having a conversation where you really try giving each other more eye contact.)
- Increasing proximity (the proximity effect). Like standing or sitting closer to each other, according to comfort levels.
- Seeing each other more often (the familiarity effect).
- Sharing personal information. What is happening on a deeper level in your life (but not too much too soon–being sensitive to the stage of closeness you share with the other).
- Mimicry. A lot of social advice talks about how copying another person’s movements helps them to feel more comfortable around you.
- Doing exciting things together. When we have a raised heartbeat when in another’s company our body reads this as excitement and associates it with this other person. (Like when on game shows, couples fall in love after doing some crazy stunt together.)
It is fun to experiment and practice these things with friendships you may already have, and see how they can make people feel closer. However, the psychology research only touches the surface of building true friendship.
Learning to deepen our relationships is of utmost importance, and learning to trust is the first step.