We don’t have a society if we don’t have trust. Imagine all of us being afraid of each other. Nothing would get done. We’d all have to learn on our own. We’d have to find our own food. Nothing would exist. The greatest things in life were given to us by a collective of people. When we lose trust in people we withdraw from them. Have you ever had a manager you didn’t trust? It was also likely that you didn’t want to interact with them either. You didn’t want to talk with them because you were afraid that it wasn’t a safe place to converse about things that were important to you. Trust me, I’ve been there. Trust is something that is inherent to who we are as people. It just happens. We don’t know when we have it, but we do know when we’ve lost it.
If we were to define trust, I would say it’s being comfortable or feeling safe with being vulnerable. When we trust someone, we aren’t afraid to be our most authentic selves. This is the beauty of trust. We engage more with people we find trustworthy. When we think about the people in our lives that we trust, we also seem to share the same purpose and are willing to depend on each other for the things that we need. We are also willing to contribute to the betterment of the people we trust. A strong sense of trust can even bring about devotion.
Let’s say you did trust someone. You had a babysitter that took care of your child. One day you catch her stealing money from your purse. What do you do? You will most likely fire her. It doesn’t matter if she didn’t have enough money for dinner that night. Once she betrays your trust, all sympathy goes out the window. The same thing can be said for a partner who has found them in a cheating situation with their spouse. Once you’ve betrayed that person, nothing else matters. Once there is betrayal it’s hard to ever trust that person again.
No one wants to be in a relationship that has low trust. It’s a relationship in which we detach because we are guarded. We’re afraid that the person we may or may not trust is going to hurt us with the access given to them. I’ve been in workplaces where I didn’t trust people. As a result, I withdrew not only from my coworkers but the work itself. When there is no trust it feels like everything given is a sacrifice because it doesn’t feel like we’re getting anything back in return. Whereas, when there is trust, we receive more when we give. We know that our gift will be cherished.
What are the Characteristics of Trust?
Transparency is a huge factor in trust. Earlier we talked about how we are afraid of the unknown. Withdrawing information is just as bad as lying when it comes to trust. I think this is something companies have yet to figure out. Most information is on a need-to-know basis. However, if I ask a question, I would expect a straightforward answer. In most instances, that’s not the case. Important information in any relationship should be shared. Secrets only get in the way and will eventually break trust.
A relationship built on trust allows us to be more authentic with each other. We can also tell when people aren’t being so forthright. I had a coworker who would lie a lot. To be honest, I couldn’t tell if he was lying. It’s just the things he said didn’t come off as true. The stories that he would tell didn’t seem authentic at all. When that feeling is off, I don’t know if it even matters if he was telling the truth. If a person says one thing and does another can erode trust as well. It’s important to be true to one’s word.
Another big quality of trust is vulnerability. I have a hard time trusting anyone who can’t be vulnerable with me. I’m not going to share something I hold dear to my heart if the expectation is that I won’t receive a vulnerable story in return. I’ve worked with plenty of people who felt like robots. Someone might have the same perspective about me because I’m not willing to give up my heart for someone who I can’t trust to cherish it. If you feel like you’re a person that can never be wrong, I can’t trust you with the truth. To gain trust, I need to see the real you. If not, I tend to put on a mask that’s just as hard.
Living in a Connected World
The part of living in a new world of connection is being able to trust everyone. Yes, even the ones that have betrayed you. That’s why forgiveness is so important. If possible, we should want to be in communion with everyone on this planet. I think we can work towards this goal that some may call outlandish. Should we not seek companionship in which we can be vulnerable and open? Should we not be our authentic selves around everyone? We can’t do this without trust. If you feel like you can’t be your truest self around another person you can probably check into whether your level of trust has faltered. The next step is to find out why and forgive that part of the person, or yourself. Any type of relationship not built in trust and doesn’t express your true nature seems meaningless.