I Don't Know Who to Trust
What is trust? It is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
Do you trust your bank? How about your doctor? In your personal life, when reflecting on a need for trust, where would you hope it to find it? Perhaps you'd expect to find it in close relationships, like those between lovers or spouses. It would seem natural for two people who share a close bond to have a relationship which involves deep levels of trust. You'd also expect to find levels of trust in your friendships, in colleagues and in business dealings.
What are the requirements for trust? Primarily, to feel able to trust, you first need to feel physically and emotionally safe. You need to feel the other party has regard for your welfare and regard for the privileged information you willingly share between each other.
When people trust each other, they need to feel safe sharing their thoughts, feelings, reactions, opinions and information, without being judged or ridiculed.
But what happens when trust is low? People tend to be evasive, dishonest, inconsiderate in their communication with each other.
How about trust among work colleagues? In an trusting work environment when a team is entrusted with a number of tasks, the more members of the team who follow through on a task, the more resources become available, which makes the work easier for everyone. Tasks can be divided, with more help given to those who need it and from those stronger members of the team, more willingness to offer help to others. With mutual trust, mutual goals can be accomplished much more easily.
What are the elements of trust?
Intent (to do well by others), character (honest, sincere and behaving with integrity), transparency (being open in your communication with others and not having hidden agendas), competence/capacity (your ability to do things), consistency/reliability (keeping your promises, meeting your obligations). It involves interacting with other parties where the risk exists that the elements of trust may or may not be met.
You could say that risk leads to consequences which can be harmful or beneficial to your self-confidence in trusting people. For example, you may have reached out to a friend in the past, disclosing something personal during a difficult time. You may have hoped that your friend would come to your aid with helpful advice and would keep your trust in confidence,however, they did not. They instead shared your personal business openly and subjected you to ridicule. The result for you could have been humiliation, embarrassment, feelings of betrayal, anger, resentment and spitefulness.
You may be thinking, “Well this is all well and good having trust summarised for me, but I still don’t know who to trust!”
At certain points in my life, I depended on the actions of the other person to follow through for me, only to be left feeling betrayed and losing something of great value to me. How did I overcome this? I did it in three steps.
First: Write down who in the past didn’t meet your expectations. What character traits did these people possess? Is there a common thread? Is there a type of person you feel it would be better for you to avoid?
Second: Imagine the types of people you feel you could trust and whom you would want to interact with. Write down the ideal environment where you could find people like this, then put yourself in a target rich environment, where people like these tend to go. A nice smile and "Hello, how are you?" can open doors to trusting relationships.
Third: Devise a strategy where you can slowly build up rapport and understanding with the person or people you identified as someone you could trust. Trust must be earned and this is usually done over a period of time. It doesn't happen overnight and it should not be given blindly. Remember not all people are trustworthy, but if you surround yourself with good people in your life, they will more often than not make an effort to treat you, your welfare and your interests with respect and high regard.
There is nothing wrong in finding it difficult to trust people, unless it is impacting upon your ability to live your life to its full potential. If that is the case, you need to address this issue, preferably with the help of someone who understands the problem and has effective strategies to help you overcome it. We all need someone to trust at some stage in our lives and for most of us, we need to trust many someones.
For help around your issues of trust and mistrust, please get in touch with me.
Contact: David Gillman - The Mindset Mechanic