I’ve talked a lot about trust in the past, particularly in this post where I discussed how I replace trust with constancy. Anyway, I came across an interesting comment on this post, and I want to address the questions left by the author–
Trust is an interesting one though…you’ve maybe done it already but it can sometimes be useful to explore the following three areas:
What trust means to you…
What has to happen for trust to be there
What stops you from trusting
What does trust mean to me?
Trust is hard to define. It’s much easier to describe the after effects–i.e., what happens after trust is established. In the most general sense, a trustful relationship is a peaceful relationship. When there’s trust, I feel comfortable calling the person and talking to him or her about anything; I don’t get hung up on my negative thoughts; I simply don’t care what the other person thinks of me. He can judge me all he wants; it’s not going to affect the relationship. Finally, and this may be the most important factor, in a trustful relationship, I not only trust the other person, but I trust myself as well. I’m not constantly questioning or analyzing my behaviors. I can be myself.
Trust is important to me. I want and need to have open, trustful relationships with others. Trust is the willingness to be whoever I am in the moment. There are no walls. Or filters. There’s only me.
What has to happen for trust to be there?
Several things need to take place for trust to develop–
Be honest: Being honest with yourself as well as with the other person. Your actions must match your words, as well.
Be reliable and predictable: If you say you’re going to do something or be somewhere at a certain time, then do it and be punctual. Predictability is important, too.
Have the willingness to share: Tell the person who you are, faults and all, and reveal what you want/need from the relationship.
Take a leap of faith: All of the previous things don’t really matter if you aren’t willing to take a leap of faith. Trust means you have to open up. You have to put yourself out there. You have to put yourself on the line. You have to be willing to be hurt. You have to have faith that the other person will be there when you fall–and you have to be there, too.
What stops you from trusting?
I don’t like myself. In fact, most of the time, I hate myself. I’ve been hurt so much in the past and have gone through so many negative social experiences, that these hateful feelings are ingrained deep within. I can’t seem to penetrate these ancient beliefs; I can’t change them, in other words. Hate is there–and it may always be there.
So, how can I let someone else in when I hate myself so much? If I don’t like what I see and feel inside, why would anyone else? I know exactly what I need to do–I need to learn to accept, appreciate, and love myself. But I don’t know how. Or rather: I do know how. I’m doing it right now. I’m going to therapy, I’m writing, etc. It’s just hard.
Also, I can’t ignore empirical evidence. I have let some people in, and, more often than not, they run away. They must have seen something they didn’t like. And so, I’m no longer willing to take that leap of faith that’s so vital for establishing trust in relationships.
Wow. I can relate so much to this post. I don’t hate myself, but I have been hurt so many times by so many people that I just have started to avoid taking that chance. So often I just avoid putting myself out there. I totally understand where you’re coming from here.
Hey Ellen- Yeah, I’ve been hurt a lot too, especially as of late. It just sucks when you finally get the courage to open up, but the person doesn’t respond the way you want (or at all, for that matter). Anyway, thanks for the comment!