Trust: Belief in the reliability and character of another
Trust is something that you either have for a person or you do not. Trustworthy people are generous, kind and have integrity. Trust is inherent, it lies within the depths of your soul and you do not have to cultivate it. Trust is based on a person’s character and not their behavior, all people make mistakes no matter how upstanding their character is, hence why trust is character based and not behavior based—a mistake is a behavior. If you have to question whether a person is trustworthy go with your gut, they are not trustworthy to you.
The only successful relationships are based on this foundational level of trust, with absolutely no questions asked about the character and trustworthiness of the other party. Knowing that a person is not perfect, will make mistakes and disappoint you is the key.
Romantically, the only man who I have ever had this level of trust with is my husband, he makes mistakes all the time, as do I. We miscommunicate and do things wrong, emotionally we feel the behaviors of the other but it does not impact character. Ultimately I know that my husband is a trustworthy man with morale, solid character and high esteem, I know that he will never cross me intentionally. Letdowns do happen but they never allow me to question the trust I have for my husband.
The ultimate measure of trust is knowing that you would still trust a person if they messed up.
I hate the mentalities people hold surrounding trust, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ … ‘once trust is broken you have to earn it back’ … ‘I’ve been hurt before, I’m not letting down my wall for fear of being hurt again’ … ‘there’s nobody that I can trust’ … ‘I have to do everything myself’ …
We evolved to be communal and to rely on one another, we are born with nothing but trust for those who brought us into the world. As infants, we are incapable of independence and incapable of seeing the behavior flaws of our caregivers. When we get older we begin to read people and see those flaws, this is when we start to realize that people let us down. We start to differentiate between people who ultimately serve our well-being and people who do not.
There is validation for mistrust and I am not trying to endorse trusting everyone. My plea is for you to look at the beliefs you hold about trust and to explore your body’s visceral and latent reaction to others. Your limbic/survival brain will provide an initial response to a person and your cognitive brain will provide a more logical, delayed response. The majority of the time, you already know whether you trust someone or not upon meeting them. Use the bodily and logical cues that nature has provided and be selective in whom you trust.
The wreckage caused by untrustworthy people is prevalent and emotionally charged. Often, this is the result of forcing trust on a person who did not initially register as trustworthy to your brain and body. The impact is real and we feel intense pain as a result of people betraying our trust. Think of the people that you have surrounded yourself with; do you often hurt as a result of their character? Do you feel safe with them and understanding if mistakes are made? Are you a person who trusts too little or trusts too much?
If you are unhappy in your relationships whether romantic, friendly, work or family—the first place to look is at how you trust others. It is never too late to surround yourself with trustworthy people and to slowly crowd out people who are not.