Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Delicate Balance of Trust

can i trust uTrust “implies instinctive unquestioning belief in and reliance upon something,” according to Dictionary.com. The interesting word here is “unquestioning.” How many times do we question in the back of our minds the reliability of someone’s words, especially when this person makes a promise? Do we use that person’s history as our personal “background check” to assess the reliability of his integrity? Or do we use our own backbone (or lack thereof) to judge whether this person will follow through? Would you consider yourself a self-reliant person who likes to be in control, or do you completely trust others to the point of delegating tasks to your subordinates without questioning their competence? How many times does a friend have to mess up before you eventually lose trust in him? If he lied once, would you give him a second chance, or would you deem him “once a liar, always a liar”?   Trust is not the belief in OR reliance upon something; it is a combination of both.

They say that without trust, a relationship will not survive. That is true, because you need both character and love to earn someone’s trust. It may sound silly to say that if someone has had a bad academic or work history, he might be a bad life partner. Does he turn in his homework on time or does he always give his teacher excuses for why the paper was late? Does he call in sick to work even if he isn’t? Is he always late to work, even if it’s only five minutes? Believe it or not, these traits affect relationships. If someone has a habit of forgetting appointments with you or always has an excuse ready on their tongue to justify their actions, even if their actions hurt you, eventually these traits will wear you down and although you continue to love them, you lose your trust in that person.

You can feel it when someone doesn’t trust you. They constantly ask you questions as though they don’t believe you are competent enough to do it in the way you know how, or they criticize the way you do things because it’s not good enough, or it’s not the way they were taught. Sometimes a lack of trust stems from someone’s own lack of character, and sometimes it comes from someone’s background if they did not grow up in a loving environment where individual growth was encouraged. Someone who does have character but constantly questions you about yours can just be as annoying as someone who doesn’t have character and drops the ball.

So how do we build trust? A good start would be to assume that the person knows what he is doing, and not just that, but to assume that he does the job well. If he messes up, don’t get on his case for it, because you know as well as I that we have all made mistakes that we are not proud of. People need to be encouraged to keep practicing so they can get better at something; people don’t need to be reminded of their mistake. Failure is a punishment in itself. You know how it feels when someone believes in you more than you can believe in yourself. Someone else’s faith may empower you to do things you never thought you could, simply because someone believed in you. Create a safe haven for others so that they would feel comfortable to ask for assistance when they need it. The key phrase: when they need it. Some feel more comfortable figuring out the problem for themselves; others may want assistance. Let them make that decision for themselves; stepping in and intervening when they did not ask for your input may make you look nosy and intrusive.

The reliance component of trust is a little trickier. The best litmus test is yourself; have you proven yourself to be trustworthy and reliable? Are you known for canceling appointments with others or have you earned a reputation for being reliable? Building trust and bridging that gap between yourself and others means that you have to take a risk. From personal experience, I have always enjoyed working alone because whenever I had to work on group projects, I always did all the work and others came along for the ride, receiving credit for the work I did. Luckily, some of my teachers caught on to something and they gave credit where credit was due, but I am not the type to go rat on someone if I was being used. (Of course, ultimately I am responsible for not allowing others to walk all over me, but I was just a kid back then and now I am redefining what my boundaries are.) Those types of experiences from my education could cause me to not rely on others; I am so used to doing everything all by myself that I want control and I don’t trust others that they could do it. If you have been in my shoes, then you know what it feels like to not want to create drama and conflict, but it is important to reach out and start trusting again, especially if you don’t want to become that “nag” in the relationship. To earn trust is to trust others first.

#TrustTakesTime #BuildWisely #BuildCarefully #DelicateBalance #Musings4Life