Before arriving to my university, I with the help of my university, rented a private accommodation, a 4 bedroom flat which I was to share with 3 other students, from different East African countries. Despite the hesitancy from my parent, I was excited. I had never been to these countries so I felt staying with them would give a glimpse into these countries. Sadly this wasn’t true.
Immediately I moved in, we formed a routine aimed at fostering a healthy lifestyle amongst ourselves. This went on seamlessly, so I thought, untill the 24th of December when I was robbed of my valuables, my laptop and my phone. As a student, these are the two important things you need.
I woke up at 4 am on that day, with the instinctive feeling that something was wrong, this feeling was further heightened when I found the door to my room opened, as I was sure I had closed it the night before. I reached for my phone, to check the time which by habit was always by my pillow, I couldn’t find it. I got up still sleepy to search around the room when I noticed something odd. My laptop which I had left on my bed the night before was also missing, including its charger. I began to realise that I had been robbed. I just couldn’t understand how and most importantly, why.
My suspicion till date lies with those I lived with, especially realizing I was the only one whose valuables went missing.
I’m never going to generalise and say everyone from these countries are questionable, as I have been a victim of such generalisations. However, my perspective changed from that day, one major aspect that changed was my Trust.
Trust is a very fragile aspect of life. We all want an individual we can trust, it’s a basic human need to desire safety. Despite it been very difficult to create trust, it’s also extremely easy to break it, and unlike other aspects of life, once broken it is almost impossible to fix. Fear, anxiety and even in some case paranoia, creeps into the broken cracks that were once filled with trust.
I’m sure you reading this have had ordeals of broken trust, perhaps not with a similar experience, but people we trusted tarnished the trust given. When this happens the hurt we feel can not be put to words. Having dealt with experiences of broken trust, I would like to share the 3 ways that helped me, still helps me and hopefully can help you.
1)Acknowledged the pain. After this incident, my first reaction was to try to move on with my life. To brush it off and act like it didn’t bother me. Once you decide to trust, there is a certain vulnerability one takes, It involves you lowering your protective walls to let them in. When this vulnerability is crushed, pretending that it didn’t happen isn’t healthy. People then try to distract themselves from the pain, with drugs, drinks and unprotective sex. It sadly only prolongs the healing process. Feel the pain, the hurt, cry if you need to.
2)Do not blame yourself. Another instinctive response is to blame ourselves. I did it. I began to question myself, “what did do wrong to have caused this?”. “Did I offend them?” “Did I forget to lock my door?” “Why did I keep my laptop on my bed?”
These questions troubled me until I realised, I didn’t bring this upon my self. I was wronged. I’m not going to blame myself for another person’s wrong actions.
3) Take as much time as you need. To show a certain level of strength, we try to pretend like this fine. We give ourselves deadlines on when we should have healed. By the 3rd month, I kept berating myself on why I was still remembering the incident. “I should have moved on” was a phrase I kept on repeating to myself.
Don’t do this. Do not force your self to forgive, also forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. Take precautions to protect yourself. This could mean blocking the person from your life, talking to friends constantly about it. Figure out what ways would help you heal.
I have come a long way from where I was when this happened. I have grown and began to appreciate things a lot more. I’m now more protective about my space and who I allow in. I still remember the incident, especially due to the difficulties encountered In replacing what was stolen, but I advise myself not to dwell on it. The incident doesn’t hurt as much as it did some months ago, for which I’m glad time does heal hurts.
With time you reading this would be able to say this as well.