How do I learn to trust again after I have been so hurt in past relationships?
The ability to trust, to open my heart to love and to be loved, is something that I consider my most precious asset in life. I recognize that I am in charge of it, of the ability to trust, and that it resides within me.
Does the behavior of others ever affect that? Absolutely. The ravages of relationships gone wrong have certainly shaken my faith in love and caused me to question my trusting nature. From time to time, I have felt damaged in my ability to trust. Even so, I still consider it to be my job, my obligation to myself, to find a way to recover from even the deepest hurts. I will not allow someone else’s bad behavior prevent me from experiencing love and trust in the future, to stop me from sharing an open heart once again with a special partner.
So, out of this commitment to myself and to having a full life, including loss and pain, I pick myself up, dust myself off, do my emotional healing work, and go forward. I endeavor to forgive myself, to forgive others, and to open my heart to love and be loved with someone new. Suspicion, wariness, fear, and holding back - these are not the emotions with which I choose to live. I do everything in my power to prevent these negative feelings from dominating my life and my choices.
In reflecting on this question, I was drawn once again to the timeless words of Kahlil Gibran (on love):
When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for Gods sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Lifes heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only loves peace and loves pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of loves threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, God is in my heart, but rather, I am in the heart of God. And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate loves ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.