To be trusted, first you must trust. Think about it, if you don’t trust another, why would you believe they’d trust you.
Trust does not come easily. First, to trust you need to believe another will respect and value what you share as valuable to you. And, to experience love and joy you need to be vulnerable enough to trust that another will and does value that which is valuable to you. Likewise, to be trusted you need to treat that which is valuable to them with care, respect, and high regard.
This premise is based on Charles Feltman’s definition of trust, “choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.” And of course, the opposite is equally true. Ultimately true as well, is trust makes us vulnerable. It is this vulnerability that connects us by creating a mutual respect of what you or another value with care and respect.
When meeting or interacting with someone share honestly. Developing trust is a joint endeavor. Share who you are but this does not mean immediately tell your secrets and things most valuable to you. I would not recommend blindly trusting everyone or in all ways. Use discretion and build the trust with another by mutually sharing what’s valuable to each. When we share what we hold dear we become vulnerable. And likewise, when another shares what is valued by them, they are showing they are willingly being vulnerable with them.
So, if you don’t believe you can trust another with who you are, thus you cannot be vulnerable with another, don’t be or selectively share in ways that are comfortable. And if you don’t want another to be vulnerable with you, tell them. Be selective with items shared while setting limits. This is usually done by trial and error. Learn how, in what ways you can trust another and how much you want them to trust you. This means there may be areas and ways you trust or can be trusted and other ways you cannot or should not be trusted.
This means trust doesn’t just happen. It develops through care, consistency, mutuality, it’s a two-way street. It takes as much effort to give as it is to receive honest mutual trust. Trust creates a mutual sharing. Think about it, in order for you to believe you can trust someone, they convey trust. In turn for another to know they can trust you; you must convey trust. Together the relationship develops through the perception that each is worthy to know what valuable to one another.
However, even when willing to believe trust is mutual, be careful. If you are not sure another is honest with you, trust yourself enough to honor your instincts. For a time or in certain ways, self-preservation may require you hold back. Trust can be given the benefit of the doubt but for only so long or in only certain ways as is comfortable.
Trust is closely connected to our flight or fight response. Sharing what you value is hard. The most common reaction is to protect and want the other person to prove first. Commonly its flight first until they prove trustworthy, just not practical. Remember to trust, you must show you are worthy and open to encouraging another to share and receive respect for what they value, so they know to value who you are. When you sense this is not a safe encounter, the flight automatic response is activated. If and when this happens, honor the sense by backing off the amount or what you share. Though, be careful, to not allow unrelated instances, from your past to unfairly adversely taint the current encounter. Too often we allow past things to influence the present by association, honest or thinly related. Try as best you can enter each new time with a willingness to be open to developing a mutual trust. Yes, you can use some caution, just be aware how much you hold yourself back. This sets up how the other person might treat you and encourage less mutual trust because of what’s withheld by you.
For each encounter to be authentic, you come with sincerity and in integrity. Come open to be and receive trust. Be honest in your words and deeds. Let your words be honest and actions reliable. Don’t make excuses when you’ve been out of integrity. You may explain, to explain, but that doesn’t excuse being out of integrity. Apologize when you’ve not honored your side of the trust. Excuses and explanations doesn’t automatically generate forgiveness or exoneration. When you are not honest, you have to earn the lost trust back. And in turn it’s important to be willing to forgive or be willing to allow the other person who wasn’t in trust with you to earn back your trust. But remember, some people show words and actions that demonstrate they cannot be trusted or more realistically trusted in all areas of life by how they share their trust/lack with you. So, though trust is wonderful and powerful, share wonderfully, but as well, judge wisely.
An extremely important way to show trust is through listening to another. This means you can’t be thinking about what you want to say next. Instead hear what is being said to you and then when appropriate formulating your reply.
Think about what signals trust for you. It’s generally the same for most of us, with of course, some personal variances. We trust because we are respected, honored, and so on, and want to the treat the other person similarly. You think about another as highly as you want to be thought of.
Above all, remember trust is general and specific. Specific, because you may choose to trust another in certain ways, though not all ways. When you have decide to trust, it’s because you know they have a skills or areas of value or ways you know to trust. However, all your encounters with them, have reached a level of general trust. Co-workers, contractors, people in authority, and so on are in this category. While general trust is more often the people we have as friends, partners, and like people in our life. We generally trust this other person in most ways and times. In reality, it’s in most ways and times because, as said, we are not in integrity always, in all ways. However, the way or ways the person is not in full integrity are minor or show such a common pattern, that is easily overlooked. For example, when one partner says they can complete a project in X amount of time, and you know they habitually underestimate project timed. Or the promise to never do something ever again, can seldom be achieved without a plan. (Such declarations are considered, heartfelt but not honest, as change is a process, not automatic) The person might want this, ‘never’ is unrealistic, especially when they have made such declarations before. Even though, they have an honest intention, and it happens time and again, they could be seen as trustworthy. However, trust does not need to be completely compromised because you understand the desire is real and they’ve proven to be generally overall worth your trust. It’s a balance. And remember none of us is perfect. Give one another some balanced understanding, grace, and respect, even when proven, like all, to be a bit fallible. When we expect to be forgiven or understood we also need to do so for others – fairly.
It’s important to have enough strength in character to show you are trustworthy and will demonstrate you’re willing to trust another. Even more importantly, discern how and when to realistically and healthfully balance the give and takes of mutual trust with when a person does show they are or not worthy of your trust.
Trust, trusting, and earning trust begins with you, it spreads from you to be given back to you. Not everyone earns it but when one does it’s marvelous to share and grow.