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On Trust

I decided to write about trust because even though it's not everyday we deal with trust issues, boy, when we do... be it in a romantic situation, a friendship, when we bring someone close to our business or our hearts, it's the places of the heart and mind that damage can be significant if trust is betrayed.. These can all be huge matters in our physical world, too... from job or financial loss to devastation in relationships, to major life destruction. Although I'm writing on this topic in general terms, there are implications about how trust fits into each of our worlds and how it wreaks havoc on very specific and individual matters.

For me and in recent years, matters of trust have surfaced and been important and have often defined the path towards my future as I move through trust issues. I have been both distrusted by someone I cared about and there have been betrayals in my life which have, at times, crushed my spirit deeply. There have been times that I distrusted when there was nothing at all confirming about what I distrusted... I simply had doubt and stifled action because of such doubt. Likewise, I have been doubted by others and there have been missed opportunities for better communication, stronger friendships, deeper love. I have no doubt that if you have lived your life a certain amount of time, you, too, have come to know all sides of the trust/distrust dichotomy and have life stories which affected you.

I want to speak to human nature as it relates to trusting, but first, a preface....

I found this interesting tidbit online, unfortunately without an author's claim to the wisdom. So much to ponder about these fine things....

10 Things About Trust
-Author Unknown

1. Trust is a decision.
2. The bestowal of trust is a gift; its maintenance, a reward.
3. Trust engenders trust; distrust engenders distrust.
4. It is far better to trust and be disappointed in a person than to distrust and be disappointed in life.
5. Trust differs from blindness as love differs from obsession.
6. The proper limit of trust is prudence, not fear.
7. Trust permits risk, which permits change, which permits growth.
8. Trust in the future is called hope.
9. Hope, like all forms of trust, is based on a combination of desire, experience, and will.
10. Without hope, life is not possible.

The above sentiment favors trust over speculation and it is my nature to agree philosophically. It is an unnatural state... at least for me... to feel distrust. Usually, distrust occurs in response to some action by another which was questionable, at best, and for which a decision must be made by me to trust again (not easy to do). It can be done, however.. you can CHOOSE to trust. But like the teenager who sneaks out the bedroom window in the middle of the night and gets caught by the parent, that parent will need some time to trust again, no matter how sorry the child is for disobeying. Oh the power of TIME in healing wounds, in helping trust return.

Some matters of betrayal may seem insurmountable. Are they really? Only you know as you go through your life what you decide is tolerable or not. It is an individual response each person decides as to what the threshold is for betrayal.

If a man or woman cheats on his or her spouse, can the betrayed person forgive and find trust again? Statistically, our divorce rates tell us we can't handle that kind of betrayal, yet people do it all the time... stay together. Recover.

More examples:

Your best friend at the office talks about you behind your back.... backstabber. Forgivable?

Your boss/mentor commends your work and keeps you working more and more even though he knows the department is restructuring and you will be laid off in a month. How many of us has that happened to? Makes you rethink what is real.

There are so many examples, so many times in one's life in which betrayal occurs. I have written about such events in my blog probably one or two times in the past year or two and that feeling of being "robbed" when such betrayal occurs.

Generally speaking, it seems so much easier to live a life that is honest, even if it is fraught with imperfection, and to be authentic and trustworthy rather than one of pretenses or theatrics. If you can't be authentic with others, at least get your head right each night knowing what your own truths are... and be on speaking terms with your God and be OK with how you conduct yourself. I've written about the importance of self-reflection

Depending on the situation, I think there are sisters and cousins to the term "trust" and these include:
  • lies versus truth
  • pretenses/theatrics/posing versus sincerity, '
  • fantasy versus reality
  • avoiding conflict versus facing trouble
  • weakness versus strength
  • selfishness or self-gain versus kindness and good will
  • take versus give
  • ... I'm sure there are more
What are your thoughts on Trust?


Roger D. Curry said...

My cynical instant response when asked if I trust someone is "Of course I do; Trust is the ability to predict behavior."

But when not joking? How many people am I willing to trust to the point that if the trust is misplaced the loss will be extreme? Enough examples come to mind unbidden that I know why my answer to that question is this: DAMN few. Damn few. On the other hand, without certain experiences, I'd be a different - and probably less useful because every class at the College of Hard Knocks translates to improved performance. But it's a damned hard school, and you never, ever graduate.


Anonymous said...

I dont trust anyone any more personally but still like a lot of people I just tend to expect the worst from them all eventually

Jilly said...

i struggle with forgiving people when they cross the line. I still haven't talked to my mother and it's been months since she made me angry. i haven't talked to my brother in almost 5 years or my foster brother in almost 7. i have former friends who try to contact me after a betrayal of trust who i refuse to talk to even when we meet in public. this is something that i need to work on because in the end, i'll probably suffer more than they will, but i can't trust them to care about me, so why should i be around them? it's a hard situation to be in. realistically, i know that if my brother or foster brother were to die beore we did talk, i'd probably regret it.



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