When someone betrays you, can they ever earn your trust back again? I was asked that this week and I have two separate and competing responses.
On the one hand, I wonder if you can truly and completely trust that person again. Someone who, haven been given a chance, having been let in, having taken your words and your heart and your friendship, then takes advantage. Can you ever really forgive? Can you ever truly forget? Can you ever decide that once was a mistake and that it cannot happen again and will not?
And yet, I wonder in another moment if holding on to that hurt really hurts the other person, or hurts you instead. Keeping a grip on the pain and the betrayal allows not just the relationship to suffer, but for you to suffer along with it. Because the truth is everyone that makes mistakes. None of us are perfect or blameless or righteous.
So maybe the betrayal should make us question the relationship, but maybe it should also make us take a second look at ourselves. If the relationship is worth it, then it's worth giving it time, giving it space, giving it the forgiveness and the latitude it deserves. Or maybe the loss of trust is the final straw in opening your eyes to see whether what you had was real or not.
No matter the outcome, whether the relationship continues or not, at some point you must let time and space heal you. You must give away the hurt you hold on to. At some moment you will decide to let bygones be gone and allow yourself and your life to continue to expand before you.
This is the life.