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7 Tips for Restoring Trust

What happens when we have a breach of trust? Maybe a romantic partner did something that was painful for you, or maybe an agreement with a business partner or hired help failed. When we step on each other's toes, as we inevitably will, how can we restore trust?

Here are 7 tips for helping restore trust after you've felt hurt.

1. Remember self-empathy and grief-work. We can't think clearly when the pain has us emotionally swollen. By now you have experience giving yourself restorative empathy in as little as 3 breaths. If the challenge is too much for that, ask a friend to help hold space for you (and show them what SORTTing It Out looks like). In any case, first and foremost, attend to the pain you feel until you get to at least a 2 out of 10 of emotional charge.

2. Try not to jump to generalizations. If a child makes a mistake, you don't decide the child is wholly bad, you simply correct the mistaken behavior. Likewise, yes, this person may have broken an agreement or breached a trust. They may have even done it more than once. That doesn't mean they are wholly untrustable. It simply means they are untrustable in a particular area. We are all trustable in certain ways and untrustable in certain ways; this is the nature of human type and type dynamics. We can both love someone and recognize areas they are less trustable than we'd like. This kind of care, compassion and consideration can help us find win-win strategies that account for each others' strengths and weaknesses - in other words - our natural, human limitations.

3. Try not to make sweeping judgements about a whole groups based on behaviors of a few. If you want to resolve issues, it won't help if you have preconceived judgements about a group of people. Ideas like, "women are bad drivers" or "men are mysogenistic" may be funny for stand-up comedians to play around with, but they take away from restorative resolution. All issues about a single person's behavior need to be addressed with that one person. If you're SORTTing It Out with them, you have a path to resolution and restoring trust. If you have sweeping judgements about this person's type, race, age, gender, etc., it will only interfere with your power to find resolution in your favor.

4. Be here now, make a doable request. Remember that sometimes, distrust is the face of fearful future thinking. What is it you want, fundamentally? What needs are you trying to care for? Make requests toward that, that can be done right here, right now, within 10 minutes or less, and you replace distrust with restorative action.

5. Be here now, resolve it using The Handshake. Remember, sometimes distrust is the face of past unresolved wounds. Resolve the unresolved pain, and you can return to the now and be present to current resolution and doable requests. What were the underlying needs you wanted that didn't get cared for? What requests can you make of yourself or others, today, that will help you care for that pain? Do your shadow work (use The Handshake song if needed), fill your cup, resolve the old wound and it will help you return to the present and be more generative in the now.

6. Practice appreciative inquiry and gratitude. What are things that you know you can trust about this person? What are some benefits to you of dealing with this challenge? How can this incident help you become more loving, considerate, compassionate or powerful at making doable requests? By reframing the incident, you can shift your focus to a more generative conversation, and come back to the underlying core values and requests of yourself and others. What is one thing about this incident that you're authentically grateful for?

7. Trust greater than yourself. The Nature of Nature is complex, most of it invisible to us, and as they say, "God works in mysterious ways." There are tides in the tapestry of Great Order that you could never imagine. Breathe, do your SORTTing It Out, and come back to the present. Sometimes Nature has a way of working things out that we just cannot have predicted, planned or imagined.

These 7 tips relate to a previous article about Restorative Justice. Where these 7 Tips relate to one-on-one issues, at a cultural level, Restorative justice helps us apply these skills to recognize human innocence, resolve grief, and generate requests that feed the dis-integrated core values.

Use of these 7 tips can replace anger, blame, shame, guilt and punishment with personal responsibility, emotional intelligence, improved communication and power with each other.

If you'd like help applying these tips, or to get support to restore trust in your life, click here.

Here's to more open, loving hearts and care for us all,


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