Trust Is Easy to Break, But Not Impossible to Rebuild

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It could be said that without trust, how could society even function? Trust is at the core of human relationships, whether they be romantic or otherwise. But what happens when that trust is broken?

It’s no exaggeration to say that we’re living in a world built on mistrust.

“Don’t lose your trust in everyone just because someone has hurt you.”

It’s inevitable that at one point or another someone will hurt us. This doesn’t mean, however, that we need to live in fear.

The Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda shares what we can do when our trust is broken:

If a friend betrays your trust, just forge new friendships. Don’t lose your trust in everyone just because someone has hurt you. If you don’t trust anyone you may avoid being hurt or disappointed, but you’ll become a closed, narrow person. In truth, those who have suffered deeply are able to be kinder to others. You have to be strong.

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace, part 2, p. 282

He continues by discussing how chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for that person’s happiness leads to a change in the situation, even though this may be the last thing you want to do. When you chant for them, either you will change or that person will. It doesn’t mean we need to stay in unhealthy or dangerous situations. We can even chant for someone from afar.

The point is, giving into losing trust in all people because of past experiences only diminishes our ability to experience wonderful human relationships moving forward.

The point is, giving into losing trust in all people because of past experiences only diminishes our ability to experience wonderful human relationships moving forward.

Is it possible to rebuild trust with others when it has been betrayed many times in the past?

Short answer, yes, it’s absolutely possible.

Shakyamuni Buddha, or Siddhartha as he is sometimes referred, taught that our destiny is not predetermined; instead, by taking the best actions in the present, we change the future. In other words, each day is a new day.

Based on Shakyamuni’s teaching of the Lotus Sutra, the 13th-century Buddhist reformer Nichiren Daishonin taught that because each of us has the Buddha nature, or Buddhability, we have the inherent power to free ourselves from the past.

For example, if you’ve been in unhealthy relationships in the past, it doesn’t mean that’s all you’ll experience in the future. Or the fact that you struggle with friendships doesn’t mean you’re destined to be a loner.

In short, Buddhism teaches that are our future is not determined by what happened in the past; we have full power over the future. We need to believe in the possibility of others and ourselves.

Buddhism teaches that are our future is not determined by what happened in the past; we have full power over the future.

Of course, Buddhism inspires us to bring forth wisdom in any situation. Just because we are open to other people doesn’t mean we should be gullible or shouldn’t look at things closely so we don’t get duped by someone with bad intentions. Rather it means having hope and moving forward regardless of what has happened or what someone has done to us.

What steps can I take to move forward when I’m stuck in the past?

The first step we can take is to try chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo about our situation honestly and openly. When we do this on a daily basis, it roots our lives in the Buddha nature that exists in us. It’s a much better space to take action from rather acting from only hurt or anger. Maybe you’ll decide to have a dialogue with the person or simply chant for their happiness as you move forward in your life.

It’s also important to see a difficult time as an opportunity to decide what type of person you want to become. Rather than pointing to the situation and saying, “See, that’s why I shouldn’t have trusted this person.” You can say, “Even if that person behaved that way, I never will.” Not only can we look toward the future but we can also become a person who positively contributes to a trust-based society.

Cheat sheet:

1. Chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo tap into our Buddhability

2. Then, take action from a space that moves our lives forward rather than from a place of hurt and pain.

3. Decide what type of person we want to become.

Trusting others can be difficult. It takes courage to open ourselves up and believe in the potential of others once trust has been broken but we already have a limitless source for that: our Buddhability.

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