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August 28, 2020

How To Stay Strong And Trust Again When You’ve Been Hurt Before

This article is inspired by a question I received from a listener. First, I love receiving your feedback and am always happy to address your questions. I knew many women would relate to her question, so decided to make an article about it.

She asked how can I open myself up again without fear of failure, rejection, and heartache. She discussed a history of over giving in relationships, making unhealthy choices in men, and finding her self single again at 50 years old. Her family feels she’s too picky, but she’s fearful of making the same mistakes.

First, I truly believe it’s better to be too picky than not picky enough. No one wants to be lonely and so it seems like settling for something less could ward off the loneliness.  I make a living working with people who are very lonely in relationships and my experience has taught me that it is easier to navigate loneliness when you are single than loneliness when you are in a relationship that is not healthy. You can easily change your relationship status from single to a couple, but it’s a lot harder to go the other way. So if you need to err on any side, you’re choosing the right one.

If staying single is not your desire, you do need to make some internal changes. But listen closely, you can not open yourself up again without facing the very real fear of failure, rejection, or heartache. The fear will be there to some extent and that’s okay. Never feeling fear is not your goal. Your goal is to make better choices, walk with your eyes wide open and learn to open your heart and protect it at the same time.

You protect your heart by not allowing yourself to go down the path of a relationship with someone that you already know is not healthy. This seems easier said than done, but what often happens is that when you date someone there may be a few red flags and you gloss over them thinking that you will address them later if they get worse. you decide that you will just enjoy the time you have with this person now because it feels good. These are two very dangerous thought traps because as you continue down this road, you get emotionally invested.

You underestimate the hold this emotional investment has on you, and before you know it, you’ve rationalized your way to a very dysfunctional relationship. It’s a slippery slope. I see it all the time and it is completely avoidable. If you do the hard things early. you prevent catastrophes later.

At the very point that you realize you are not going to stay with this man long term, end the relationship. Immediately. Do not trick yourself into thinking that you will just enjoy the wonderful time you are having now and will end the relationship at a later date because you are just creating hurt and pain in the long run.

View new dating relationships as a long line of potential men (and yes they are there) and your job is to weed them out- not to catch one, not to hook up with one, not to marry one, but to weed them out. If there is one deserving of the bunch, you will be open to a relationship with them. If not, you are so much better off with your very own wonderful self, and your circle of friends that I hope you are cultivating.

This starts with creating your list of non-negotiables, a list of yellow flags, and a list of desires.

What is a list of non -negotiables?

These are red flags that mean stop immediately. That’s it. You’re done. This list must be created before you even start a relationship. It’s completely useless after a relationship has begun because your emotions override your logic at this limerance stage. You are just not trustworthy and you need a guidepost to get you safely through this phase.

Once your list is in place, you can feel secure, knowing that you have taken steps to protect yourself.

List of desires

Write down your deepest desires for a man, your fantasies,  everything you want. This is a manifesting list. No one is perfect and that’s okay. But you are creating your list because your desires matter. After you’ve chosen him, this list should be torn up because it’s not fair to compare him to your fantasy. But you can and should write it all down now. This is a list, you should refer to daily.

List of yellow flags (created during the relationship)

The yellow flag list is super important because you can get caught up in thinking you will change him. You won’t. There is a saying…“A man marries a woman expecting her not to change and she does and a woman marries a man expecting him to change and he doesn’t.

This list of yellow flags means you are being honest with yourself about his deficits and you are agreeing with yourself that you understand he will not change, nor do you expect him to. You are fine with them.

Next, you need to do some deep work. You couldn’t have gotten through your decades here on this earth without undergoing some wear and tear. If you’ve been really great about understanding your internal and external world and maintaining and fine-tuning, then you may be okay. If you have never done a deep dive, well, now is the time.

Why? Because we all bring our baggage into our relationships. When you are aware of what your issues are and you can articulate them to your partner, you have just won half the battle.

So, you’re going to need to go back to childhood. Look at what kind of relationships were modeled for you. What stories did you learn? What do you need to hold on to and what do you need to let go of? Now, let’s look at your past relationships? What patterns played out in those relationships? Can you see some common variables? What childhood trigger did they all press? And what was your part in the relationships not working out? What trauma have you experience that may make you a little gun shy when it comes to relationships?

These can be some very difficult questions but working through these issues can and will save you from repeating or manifesting what you don’t want in relationships.

The fear is about the unknown.  The fear exists because there is a little- or maybe a large part of you that doesn’t trust yourself to make good decisions. This is something you can work on. It’s ultimately the most important part because you actually shouldn’t worry about focusing so much on trusting someone else. You should focus on learning how to trust yourself. You build trust in yourself by treating yourself with respect and being trustworthy and not letting yourself down, not settling, having firm boundaries. All these build your own trust.

It’s trusting yourself to make good decisions, but also a deep trust that you will be alright. That you will weather the inevitable storms, that you will have resilience when the hurts come. The unintended consequence of vulnerability is hurt. We will be hurt by those with whom we are vulnerable. We have to trust that we have chosen people who will not hurt us intentionally or extensively. And we have to trust that we will be okay regardless because it is much better to experience connection with the possibility of hurt than to have no connection at all.

So do the work, become the person you would want to spend the rest of your life with, build your trust in yourself, and know that you will be good, sis!

You’ve got this!

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