From a recent letter: Since my mother has broken my heart and my trust so many times, I find it so hard to trust in my relationships and open my heart fully in fear that my husband will break my heart. How do I open my heart to him without fear that he will hurt me as my mother has so many times before?
Dear Peaceful Daughter…
First thing: trust is an inside job.
Our mothers can break our hearts and our trust with the things they do and say, but even more problematic is their own lack of self-trust, which makes it impossible for them to model it for us. The good news is that you can develop self-trust. One simple way to do that is to make and keep promises to yourself. Even small ones.
Second thing: consider changing the lens through which you view the situation
You know how the tag line at the bottom of my emails says that I am dedicated to the concept that the truth never creates suffering and that all stories can be told through the lens of truth?
Your current lens creates suffering for you: “Since my mother has broken my heart and my trust so many times, I find it so hard to trust in my relationships and open my heart fully in fear that my husband will break my heart.”
Consider, instead, these lenses:
“My mother broke my heart and my trust when I was a child. I am no longer a child and I am learning how to trust myself, so I can trust others.”
“My mother broke my heart and my trust in the past. I now choose a different story.”
“What if my mother broke her own heart and her own trust? What if it has nothing to do with me, even though it feels so personal?”
“I used to believe that my mother broke my heart and my trust. I now choose to believe that she never really had the power to do that.”
Say them out loud and notice how you feel as you repeat the words, slowly with with consideration. Create some of your own.
Your internal compass will let you know when you’ve landed on the words that make the most difference and cause the least suffering…or maybe no suffering at all.
Third thing: the Alpha Mare (with thanks to Martha Beck and Elizabeth Gilbert)
“According to Martha, at the top of the hierarchy of a herd of horses is an Alpha Mare. She is the leader. She is calm, because her boundaries are impeccable. She knows who she is, and the other horses do not mess with her. They do not approach her without her invitation. The Alpha Mare does not let herself be influenced by another horse’s fears or anxieties or aggression. She knows the right thing to do, and she does it. The other horses follow her lead. She doesn’t need approval or permission. She lives and breathes from a place of integrity and certainty, because of her strong and appropriate boundaries. As a result, she is relaxed and at peace. She has an undefended heart.”
Fear makes us defend our hearts. It makes us hide. Never relaxed. Never at peace.
Healthy boundaries alleviate fear.
Healthy boundaries allow you to stand in integrity and speak your truth.
Healthy boundaries communicate what is okay and what is not okay.
Healthy boundaries allow you to have an undefended heart.
Healthy boundaries allow you to “walk in the world with your guard down, your eyes filled with curiosity, your soul filled with simple wonder. That is the alpha mare, and she’s inside you.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
So, to sum up:
#1 Trust is an inside job: start with making and keeping small promises to yourself.
#2 Consider changing the lens through which you view the situation.
#3 Develop healthy boundaries (and stay tuned, I am creating a course on this very subject! In the meantime, revisit Chapter 7 in The Peaceful Daughter’s Guide To Separating From A Difficult Mother).
The really, really good news about this
If you’d like explore working together, click here to schedule a free discovery session.
Much, much love!
I am dedicated to the concept that the truth never creates suffering and that all stories can be told through the lens of truth.