Trust…what a word! A word that I would define as believing in someone that has honor, is courageous, respectful, and with much integrity. And yet, it seems to be noticeably absent today. Maybe even becoming extinct like the dinosaurs of a world long ago. Trust is, in my opinion, definitely absent from our government, our schools, communities, and yes, even our own families and social circles. There appears to be a tamping down of trust almost to the point of losing it altogether…in our world, but mostly in ourselves. Trust seems to be replaced by the suitable colors of personal likes and dislikes. Forsaking trust for empty words, for the pleasure of us and what we desire ourselves to be. But make no mistake about it, when we say something, but it never seems to be fulfilled, it turns out like the old American Indian saying, “You speak with forked tongue”. They had every reason to say this since they were promised much but delivered so much less.
Let me ask this, “are we trustworthy?” Can someone say of you and me, “you can’t trust him! He says some good words but when it comes right down to it, he never comes through”? Do we see the flaw in this? Do we see, and understand, how this opinion has been credited to us as a person? It’s not good, it’s not healthy, and it’s certainly not who you or I desire to be. Or…maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe as long as I think I’m okay and good, that justifies it. Remember that a self-sustaining view point has the potential to cover up the fault thereby providing a well-liked opinion of self so that one is able to say, “ Oh well” or “it’s not me, it’s them” and never calling into question the distinct possibility that we can be at fault. Or, at the very least have a part in this. And even then, we can lead off with, “But….” And this is where we let slide our mistake for a greater good. My greater good.
In all fairness though, I think there’s value in taking a deep look at why we trust so readily and why sometimes we trust poorly. Most importantly, what we can do about it. Trust has been a virtue that since young we have been conditioned to seek from others. For example, we learn to feed from mom, to look to parents for care and nurturing and to learn the value of trust in other people. Even though parents never verbalized that we needed to trust them, we did. It is part of the innate qualities of a baby, finely tuned as they grow and mature. I guess one could say that it is a societal quality but at the same time it is that same society that squelches it or perhaps blindly places the distrust in its place. Trust in others is a daily occurrence for all of us and we really don’t conscientiously pay attention that we are doing it. When we drive on our public roads we trust others, when we order food, go to the doctor, and so on and so on. However, we don’t wake up that day and think that before I go out for a drive, I am going to psych myself so I can trust others. We just don’t do that, we just jump in the car and go. Trust permeates our life in so many ways yet, we rarely consider it until someone lets us down, when it’s personal and hurtful.
Well then, how do we amplify our ability to trust or to use it to serve us better? Actually, there’s not a whole lot we can do about that except to place it out in front knowing that we can trust and choose to trust but be cognizant that it can be broken, and it can be painful. Why would anyone want to do this intentionally? Here’s the deal, we can’t ever truly be certain of another’s motivations, or their intentions. Because we don’t have this knowledge, we are subject to whatever actions they may choose to do for us or to us. Simply said, the best we can do is to choose between trusting someone or just settle on not trusting anyone…ever. We may think we are protecting ourselves and fending off any chance of being disappointed, but the bigger picture is that we are missing out on the many blessings we may receive on all the love and benefits we can receive from other people.
All in all, the best thing we can do, in my opinion, is to believe that the good in others outweighs the bad; look for that good instead of focusing on the bad. Be willing to risk because all good things involve risk in some form or fashion and when we get hurt, focus on a larger picture of what may have happened instead of being self-focused and only see this in our way. The author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, wrote, “seek first to understand, then to be understood”. When we have a bigger perspective, we may be able to understand better the reasons we get hurt, the reasons, not the person. Understanding the actions or words of others can diminish our hurt somewhat and what this may do is maintain a relationship because we learn to see the personal value behind the hurt instead of placing an enormous fault on the person. Either way we become winners in life and although hurt will come many times in our lifetime, we can see right through it and retain the intimacy of trust in someone else.