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How to Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship (And Learn to Love Again)

How to Overcome Trust Issues in a Relationship (And Learn to Love Again)
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Chances are good that at some point in your life, you will experience betrayal by someone you love. In most instances, this is not intentional because as humans, we make mistakes.

How you and your partner handle the situation is key to your relationship’s survival.

The Importance of Trust in a Relationship

Trust is the act of placing confidence in someone or something else. Trust is necessary for a relationship to thrive. Without it, fear rules.

For a loving relationship to flourish, several aspects need to function optimally. One of the most important aspects is trust. When there are trust issues in a relationship it can create judgment and fear. Over time, suspicions and doubts about the relationship may grow.

To be truly happy in a relationship, both individuals involved must be able to trust each other. At the beginning of the relationship, there is usually a lot of excitement and small transgressions are easily forgiven and set-aside.

Once you get past the initial infatuation, however, and the relationship begins to blossom, you truly begin to learn where the relationship is headed, and a deep foundation of trust can begin to develop or diffuse.

Your subconscious will begin asking these questions:

Does this person honor what they say? Are they open about their feelings, even the negative ones? Do their actions match their words?

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These questions can help you determine if they are someone you can fully trust.

What Causes Trust Issues in a Relationship?

If you have trust issues in your relationship, there are usually two places this can emanate from.

One is from an experience you had in a previous relationship that prevents you from trusting.

The second is when something has happened in your current relationship that has stirred mistrust in this relationship.

If your trust issues stem from a previous relationship, it is important to remember that no two relationships are the same. You cannot hold your current partner responsible for something that occurred in the past and something they had nothing to do with.

If your trust issues are due to your current partner creating mistrust in your relationship, this should be addressed head-on. You need to determine if you desire to move past the betrayal and work on your relationship.

If you both desire to work through things, it is worth a shot. If one or both of you is not interested in repairing the relationship, then there is not much you can do with that.

What If You Have Previous Mistrust Experiences?

Trust issues often come from early life experiences and interactions with our parents, siblings or guardians. These issues may originate as far back as childhood in the form of trauma at school with classmates.

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They can stem from abuse, social rejection or just having low self-esteem. People with low self-esteem are less likely to trust others.

It may also stem from a previous romantic relationship that involved infidelity. Trust issues can be associated with depression, anxiety, fear of abandonment and attachment issues.

Take the Relationship Trust Quiz

Being open, honest, and trustworthy can help your relationship grow. These will also help you build confidence in each other. The key is to open your heart and authentically trust your partner.

It is important to trust. If someone proves to be untrustworthy, then you can start to reevaluate your relationship.

Every relationship has its issues and challenges that push our buttons that arise during the relationship. The important key is to be proactive in addressing these issues and confront them head-on and find a resolution.

You can try taking this relationship trust quiz to help you reflect on yourself and current relationships.

My Personal Experience With Trust Issues

Have you ever wondered if friends of the opposite sex are okay? They are if you know how to set boundaries.

I had this issue come up within our relationship and had to do a reality check. A year into our relationship, my partner had a secret friend of the opposite sex. It was an emotional relationship and not a physical one, but it was on a slippery slope.

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It could have ended our relationship, but fortunately for us, we were both able to move past it. Our relationship became stronger than ever because we are both committed to us being together.

The shift for us was when I found this blog from First Things First. They list some great questions about what is healthy and what is not. When I read them out loud to my partner, it was a huge wake-up call, and he realized how he had stumbled down a dangerous path and hurt me.

Luckily for us, there was a huge shift. We met with an Emotionally Focused Therapist (EFT) and addressed the issue head-on rather than shoving things under the carpet.

For the first few months after this occurred,  I did not trust him 100%, even though he said he was committed to us and our relationship.

One of my favorite quotes is by President Ronald Reagan:

“Trust but verify.”

So, while I am not proud that I did check up on him for the first few months, it did allow me to get the reassurance that I needed. It helped me realize that he was true to his words, and I learned to trust him again.

Now, after several years, there are times that something will come up that makes me cock my head – like what a dog does when they hear something. It is something that I am aware of may come up again due to my experience in this relationship.

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Our relationship has been changed forever by this experience, but in many ways, it has become stronger and has helped strengthen our bond.

I learned to trust again, and you can, too.

If you have doubts about fidelity in your relationship, you may find yourself having a tough time trying to believe or understand your partner’s actions. They may be constantly trying to convince you of their loyalty.

How to Bring Back Trust in Your Relationship

Here are some ways to bring back trust in your relationship.

  • Open Your Communication. Lack of communication can cause irreparable harm in a relationship, especially if you are relying on “hope” to magically erase issues and to go away. That simply is not going to happen. Sharing how you feel authentically is important.
  • Share Secrets With Each Other. Having secrets just between the two of you can strengthen your bond. Remind each other with words and deeds to express how much you mean to each other.
  • Make Sure Your Partner Knows Your Inner Circle. This will make them feel that they belong, and this can increase your bond and ease any insecurities.
  • Try to see things from their perspective. If they are not feeling comfortable trusting you fully, put yourself in their shoes to see what you can do to alleviate their concern.
  • Seek therapy if needed. Find someone you can talk to individually and together to get to the bottom of your trust issues so that you move on with your life.

Final Thoughts

In the book, Not Just Friends: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity, Shirly Glass mentioned that it is normal to be disoriented and confused for some time after infidelity.

Movies or songs may trigger you and electrify the incident. Betrayed partners cannot seem to stop obsessing about the incident until they have all the answers, and this can take months.

Forgive the pain, but remember the lesson. Things will never be the same again when betrayal has occurred, but you can still heal and have a happy trustworthy relationship with time.

It is possible to rebuild trust in a relationship after it is broken if both partners are interested in fixing the relationship and moving forward. The key is for both individuals to open fully and communicate their feelings and realize that time heals all wounds.

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Also, seek the counsel of a trusted therapist. It is ok to get help. You will be glad you did.

More Tips About Strengthening Your Relationship

Featured photo credit: Joanna Nix via unsplash.com

More by this author

Dana Lam

Dana is a busy mom of two boys, author and co-founder of the Surprise Date Challenge.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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