Are you trustworthy? Do you believe others can trust you? How much, how well do you trust others or believe others can be trusted?
The majority of people believe they can be trusted. Interestingly however, many of these same individuals believe others cannot be trusted to the same degree as they can be trusted.
What I find so interesting is if you are so worthy of trust, why are those you encounter less worth of that same level of trust?
This 2-part muse is a look at trust and how important trust is.
How necessary is trust? Per Walter Anderson, if you want joy and love, it is very necessary, “We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.”
Charles Feltman’s definition of trust shows how important vulnerability is in love and joy, “choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.” The risk of sharing something you value to another, is an act of trust.
To begin to understand trust it’s essential to remember, others must believe you are able to be trusted. But if they have the same apprehension to trust you as you do them, then trust is a challenge. Though, maybe with some insight and an understanding, we can all trust one another more.
To promote trust, we must be willing to be vulnerable. For most of us that’s a huge risk. We’ve become used to protecting oneself and closing oneself off, rather than risk sharing what is personally valuable. To begin, each of us needs to ask, how much and to what degree we are able and willing to share what is so valuable to us that it’s a personal risk to share it with another and trust that other person will honor and respect what we’ve shared about ourselves with them.
All said, it is equally essential to recognize trusting also comes with caution. And before opening the gates of full complete trusting of one another it is necessary to acknowledge at times distrust is also appropriate. Distrust is real, can be done for self-protection, though not always.
If you have shared openly who you are and that sharing has been betrayed, distrusting that person is an honest reaction. And in this case, it’s important to trust yourself enough to choose self-protection over constant hurt. If you choose to share yourself over and again with someone who does not value you, this is not trust, rather it’s foolishness.
Most often though, distrust is not an honest reaction. By this I mean the distrust is not based on reality but perception. And at times, there is a willingness to make an overall, total, and complete distrust of another. This happens for many reasons. One is our perception is too general, unforgiving, and/or based on past experiences with another. When these perceptions are based on our encounters with another, where an impression is formed and then for whatever reason, becomes the influencing factor of encounters with others, who somehow, whether unknowing or knowingly connections are made, and the distrust generalized. Sometimes, the reasons not to trust are real, honest, and justified. Sometimes not. When real, these feelings help keep us protected and safe. When not it keeps us separate and closed off from love and joy.
When we distrust another, but it’s not for real or honest reasons, we can learn to be more discerning with trust and open ourselves to bringing more trusting relationships in our world, hence friendship, love, and joy.
And one other piece of trust verses distrust that is important to mention is when a person decides to never trust another based on just one incident. Too often a person says they’ll never trust so and so, because ‘once that person…’ and they knew they couldn’t trust them with anything. Be careful to over generalize never being able to trust another. Truth is, most of us are not 100% trustworthy. Let me explain. Think about the couple where one says they can complete a project in a week, or however long. The partner knows, their partner underestimates the amount of time a project will take. Is the person who underestimates a project time dishonest? For some the answer is absolutely. For another, it’s just what that person always does, and they’re used it. Its honesty with time is an issue for you, the person us dishonest. However, time may be the only way they are not in complete integrity. They me the person you can share your secrets with and know your secrets are safe. Yet, if you close the person off because of this one issue you may never find out how trustworthy they are. As well, if you share your secrets to a gossip, trusting them is foolish. But this same person may be a talented wood worker, or whatever, and you can trust them with a project that is important to you. And think if you are the gossip, yet say you are very worthy of another’s trust, you are not completely trustworthy, even when sharing information to you is not defined as gossiping.
Remember too, sometimes withholding information may be a form of dishonestly. No, a person does not need to be a tell all person. Really, think about it, all can be too much. But keeping important or essential information, is dishonest. For example, selling something where key information for buyer would help them make an informed honest decision, is purposely withheld has created a dishonest interaction. These days virtual tours of houses for sale are common. When the person conducting the tour does not tell the interested party something important, just so they can make the sale, they are not being honest, thus not developing a trustworthy situation. This becomes important because their dishonesty will be shared and overall, it hurts both parties. Think of your own intense said encounters where something similar happens.
Honestly, we all have areas that we may or may not know we are not always in complete integrity. And most know how they fail the total and complete honesty and trustworthy test. Whether it’s a constant or sometime thing you do, it still is how we are not 100% trustworthy. And honestly it also shows a side of how we are human.
Be careful to not generalize. It is extremely easy to want others to demonstrate better behavior than we are willing to ourselves. The advice here is know yourself well and how you want to be treated. Then remember others want the same respect with frailties as you want for yourself. And if you treat them even better than you want to be treated, most often chances are you will intern be treated even better than you want.
In part 1 on trust, I have covered the definition, importance of trust, and some background information about trust. Where in part 2, I will go deeper into aspects of and a deeper understanding of trust.