Trust, An Unsung Gift We Need

Trust is interesting to me because of all of the ways it’s represented. Sometimes it is established clearly and explicitly by giving word or with a contract. It’s also exchanged between bodies like through eye contact, handshakes, pinkie promises, even the perfect execution of a lift as seen in Dirty Dancing. When I think of the emotional investment involved with trust, it can be so unnerving yet so fulfilling.  

The roots of trust are in feeling safe and secure. It allows us to feel a sense of order because of the every day dependence and reliance on, for example, GPS to get you somewhere or maybe the meteorologist. Both of these examples have disappointed me countless times, but I still keep going back to using them! When people start wondering if their partner is cheating on them, is trust already compromised by felt suspicions, or is a little snooping and evidence gathering simply a result of insecurity? Sometimes no amount of reassurance satisfies.

Upon deciding to trust someone, to some extent we’re projecting our expectations onto them. If expectations are not met, part of the devastation is being wrong. The prediction was incorrect, the idealized person failed to uphold their role, standards might become higher or lower, it’s time to recover. 

Trust balances judgement and empathy. Too much or too little of one of them won’t hold it. When giving trust, a moderately logical decision is involved. We deduce whether an outcome will be in our favor based on what we have learned and “good enough” reasons. On the other hand, we have to pay attention to our emotional intelligence, the “gut” feelings and intuition.

What does it take for someone to earn your trust? To have it rebuilt? For me, I think loyalty is a good pairing for trust. I have to feel that someone else has my best interests or wellbeing in mind. Honesty is a big one. As a truster (trustee?), patience and a little risk are required.

There’s such a deep bond in trust, that to be constantly suspicious, build walls, and be untrusting is to miss out on meaningful human connection. I think what often keeps us from taking leaps of faith is focus on what would (or did) happen if we are betrayed or let down. It’s easy to imagine broken hearts, hindsight bias (the “should’ve knowns,” seeing the clues afterwards and believing you knew it all along), and questioning what is true.

What about the rewards of trust? The small moments that restore us? I think of learning to ride a bike and feeling not yet fully confident in myself but safe in the grip of my father guiding me. I remember being surprised when I told him not to let go because he never promised he wouldn’t; in fact, he actually said “nope, I have to let go!” So I felt a fleeting moment of insecurity, but I trusted his belief that I could do it. Riding a bike is so liberating, and I attribute that feeling to that time I trusted my dad then trusted myself.

When I think of my closest friends, they’re the result of at least 10 years of unwavering trust. I feel rewarded every day by their presence in my life. What joy can we feel as a result of trust?

Are you trustworthy? How do you feel trust in yourself? Think about all of the actions or non-actions you do to keep yourself safe and satisfied. Allow that list to build your own trust! Recognize how you are equipped with innate knowledge and support to help yourself through anything. Some of our harshest lessons involve trust, but like anything else, we needn’t be ruled by mistakes, fears, and past misfortunes. You can do it, trust me. 😉

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