How do we rebuild trust when it is gone?
We know that words have no value when it comes to reestablishing our partner’s trust.
We hear, “Talk is cheap” “Actions speak louder than words,” “I simply don’t believe you.”
So, how may we rebuild their faith in us? Can we be forgiven?
Towards rebuilding trust, look at what we might call a “Staircase to Forgiveness.” The higher up we go the more your partner’s faith and trust may be, might be restored.
The Staircase to Forgiveness:
- “I’m sorry” has a negative value when your goal is rebuilding Trust that has been broken, or shattered. Nobody has believed our, “I’m sorry” since childhood. So why say it?
- “I apologize” – heads us in a positive direction. However, our partner still is not sure what it is we are apologizing for.
- “I apologize for – not taking care of the back yard.” This second step lets our partner know what it is we are apologizing for. However, it doesn’t yet include
- “I apologize for – not taking care of the back yard. Please forgive me.” This third step is the first step that reaches out to, and involves our partner. We invite them to forgive us. Note that they are not obligated to do this. Forgiveness may come later on. Forgiveness is not automatically granted just because you asked for it. However, it is the right thing to say at his point.
- “I apologize for – not taking care of the back yard. Please forgive me. I promise to do it.” This fourth step is your first step towards healing a trust that has been broken. You have now given your Word, promised future Actions from which your trustworthiness may be re-assessed by your partner.
- “I apologize for not taking care of the back yard. Please forgive me. I promise to do it by the end of this week.” Adding a timeline adds power. “by the end of this week,” is essentially a second promise to your partner. When you fulfill both promises “by the end of this week” you’ve demonstrated new trustworthiness. After you’ve fulfilled your promises – they may begin to see you as worthy of their trust once more.
- “I apologize for not taking care of the back yard. Please forgive me. I promise to do it by the end of this week. I ask for your support. Would you please get together with me so we can plan a backyard that works for both of us?” This is the most inviting seventh step, inviting Partnership Adding a timeline, you’ve made two promises, asked for forgiveness, asked for their support and invited your partner to work with you to build the “backyard” that would please them, too.
Inquiry complete: we can imagine that the higher you rise on this “Staircase to Forgiveness” The more likely your partner will believe you, trust you, and forgive you so the two of you can move on.