“The harsh reality about learning to trust yourself after heartbreak is that you may realize you never trusted yourself to begin with.” So writes Najwa Zebian, an activist and poet, in her new book, the Scribd Original Trust Your Heart. Zebian’s advice — both in the book and here, in this series of videos — is all about (re)establishing trust with yourself so that you can build healthier, more loving relationships.
The most important question, addressed in this first video, is of course: Do you trust yourself? Do you really trust yourself? If you’re the type of person who makes New Year’s resolutions every year but never keeps them, you may not be as trusting as you think.
Transcription: Do you trust yourself? Really think about this question. Now, answer this: What was the last promise you made to yourself that you kept? And what was the last promise you made to yourself that you broke? If someone you really trust promised you something, and over and over and over, they broke their promise, could you truly say that you trust them, if you don't trust that their words align with their actions?
So, if you are not keeping promises to yourself, the truth is that you are not putting your trust in yourself into action. You are telling yourself, “I don't trust that I will do what I say I will do.”
And this is no cause for shame or judgment. This is just to bring you awareness of the indirect messaging you are giving yourself, saying, “I actually don't trust, when I promise myself something, that I will execute it.”
So many times, what that does is it puts you in positions where you are more likely to trust that someone else will keep their word than you are. But when you make the active decision to keep the promises you make to yourself, you are making the active decision to trust yourself. I hope you can do that for yourself today.
Breaking promises to ourselves is, sadly, easy, but the pain of other people breaking their promises to us is harder to take and stings much more. In this next video, Zebian gives advice on how to reestablish trust between yourself and others after being burned, which is the crux of her new work, Trust Your Heart.
Transcription: One of the pains I always talk about is the pain of having someone break your trust. And just how hard it is to go through something like that, where you feel like you have opened yourself up again after being burnt and hurt and after having your trust broken so many times, and you think, “Wow. I actually took the leap. I took the risk of saying — despite all these voices in my mind that are saying, ‘don't do this’ — I took the risk and I did it. And this person broke my trust. And this person didn't see how difficult it was for me to actually open my heart up again and to be vulnerable and to become, in a certain way, attached and bonded to this person.”
And when we go through something like this, we think that the relief will come by that person saying, “I’m sorry that I hurt you. I’m sorry that, after everything that you’ve gone through, I put you through that again. I'm sorry for the pain that I caused you.”
We think that that's the relief we need, but the true relief we need is from ourselves. To look at ourselves and say, “I know how hard that was. I know what you’ve gone through. It was so difficult for you to open your heart up again. And it was so difficult for you to have faith in people again.”
I know how hard it was for you to go through that moment when it hit you that your trust was going to be broken.
We really need that relief from ourselves and we really need to come back to ourselves and build the trust towards ourselves that we need, to get to a point where we can say, “I trust that I will be able to go through this again. I know that I’m opening myself up to heartbreak by opening myself up to love. I know that I’m opening myself up to having my trust broken by trusting someone else. Again, I know that, but I trust that I will be able to get through it, because I trust myself. And to say I trust myself means I know myself.”
Look at how powerful that is.
Now that you know the value and importance of trust, Zebian lays out 14 concrete ways to trust your heart, which are expanded upon in her Scribd Original.
Transcription: Hi. I put together a list of 14 ways to trust your heart. Pick two numbers and let’s see what you get.
Number one: Become your own home. Come back to yourself.
Number two: Thank the part of you that’s swearing off of love or off of trust. Thank the part of you that says “never again.” That part of you is trying to protect you, so thank it and tell it, “You can trust me. Moving forward, I will discern who is good for me and who is not good for me, who deserves my trust and who doesn’t deserve my trust.”
Number three: Begin the journey of self-discovery. You cannot trust who you do not know, so you can’t say “I trust myself” if I don’t know myself. Get to know yourself so that you can know who you’re trusting.
Number four: Think of the times you overrode your intuition by trusting someone else over yourself. Those times are doors to your intuition and how aware it is of your surroundings and of what’s going on around you.
Number five: Give yourself the compassion you need. Become your own crying shoulder. There's nothing more beautiful than that.
Number six: Reflect on your past relationships when someone broke your trust and ask yourself, “What is it about them that made me trust them? Is it that they gave me reasons to trust them? Or is it that I am someone who trusts others easily?”
Number seven: Validate your own story. Tell the story exactly as you lived it. Don’t make excuses for them. Don’t try to justify what they did or explain why they did what they did. Tell your story exactly as you experienced it.
Number eight: Accept the story as it is. There is no saying, “I shouldn’t have gone through that. I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have had to deal with that.” You went through what you went through. Accept it as it is. And acceptance doesn't mean it was okay, it means you are actually validating what you went through.
Number nine: Go back to your childhood traumas and the conditioning that they taught you. Go back to all the beliefs that you started believing about yourself at a very young age. That’s how you can change them.
Number ten: Don’t fall into the trap of comparative pain. Don’t sit there and say, “Well, it could have been worse.” Don’t minimize your pain and don’t gaslight yourself out of your pain.
Number eleven: Give yourself closure. Stop needing their apology or their acknowledgement. You know what you went through. You can give yourself closure. The closure is their treatment. The closure is the fact that they broke your trust. There doesn't have to be a reason. The reason will not take the pain away. You still have to feel it.
Number twelve: Answer, “Who are you, really?” Without all the labels you attach to yourself, without your job, without who your family thinks you are, who your friends think you are, who are you? What are the things about you that you wish people would see?
Number thirteen: Keep promises to yourself. You wouldn’t trust a person who constantly breaks their promises to you. So if you break promises to yourself, then can you really say, “I trust myself”?
Number fourteen: Forgive yourself and forgive them. It doesn’t mean what they did was okay. It doesn’t mean you’re proud of what you did. It just means that you say, “I trust that I will be able to move on from this. I don’t wanna be stuck to the person I was before or to the pain that someone else put me through. I trust that I can get through this and lead the life I want and know I deserve.”
Find more of Zebian’s healing, forgiving wisdom in her latest book, Trust Your Heart.
Have your past heartbreaks made you wary when you approach new relationships? Activist and author Zebian provides helpful advice on how to heal from past traumas with partners, parents, and friends to foster a healthy relationship with the most important person in your life — yourself. Trust Your Heart is a spiritual journey of self-discovery.
About the Author: Ashley McDonnell
Ashley is a Senior Editorial Associate at Scribd who loves Ernest Hemingway, “The Hunger Games,” and ice hockey. When she’s not reading or at the rink, she’s making nerdy podcasts about anime and manga.