Recently I have been thinking about the issue of trust, and when that barrier, of trust is lowered, enabling us to trust others. I want to begin by asking the question, when does a person begin to trust another person? There are people who we know well, who we do trust, and others who we know just as well, that we don’t trust. Then, there are people who we dont know that well, whom we nearly automatically trust, because they appear like the ‘type of person’ we could trust. Trust is a major part in the foundation of interpersonal relationships. It is just as easy to build trust as it is to break it down on a daily basis. I have thought of 5 key elements in the trust process:
Past Experiences: This can play a part in the development of trust, a bad experience trusting others of similar nature or even that same person. A past experience of your trust being violated or betrayed, can easily lead to you keeping problems to yourself and not confiding/trusting anybody with them. When a person has also not taken the trust layed onto them seriously, this can in turn, cause a bad experience of trust, and can also cause low self esteem on the person who was not taken seriously. We can all think of a time when our trust has been betrayed, violated or not taken seriously, however intentional by the person. in some cases this can lead to a knock on effect of not taking their own issues seriously, therefore finding it difficult to seek out the motivation to trust a person enough to help them or listen or give advice, whatever.
The Bonding Process: this refers to the time in which 2 people develop an understanding of each other and in this post, i am referring to the bonding process of two adults. SOme people we bond with easily and others we find it more difficult to bond with. This can be attributed to interests, likes, dislikes, hobbies, culture or religion. If someone was trying to bond with a person who loves nights on the town, rugby and watching the football, and the other loves cycling, camping and books, the bonding process of these two individuals is going to go through some barriers. On the other hand, two people attempting to bond who dont like team sports, love the theatre and/or both have a passion for politics, these people are going to bond pretty easily! Therefore, the bonding process is a part of trust building that is highly important, meaning that if the bonding process was successful, the issue of trusting each other should come more naturally.
Popularity: if a person has a lot of friends, who like them, and appears to hold traits such as agreeableness, assertiveness, sociable and honest, this can lead to the thought that ‘this person is trustworthy’. in my opinion, quite illusive, but, this can happen.
Career Choice: if you have an issue to do with their career or field, you might trust them more with it than another. Similarly, if you have a personal problem you may trust a doctor, counsellor, lawyer, community worker,(seeing these persons as friends rather than the professional context) more than, say your friend who works at the supermarket or local shop.
Persons Life Experience: if the person has been through the certain issue or problem you wish to trust them with you may be more willing to accept and trust their advice or confidentiality, rather than a person who has not experienced it.
These 5 factors contribute to the amount of trust we have in other people in our lives. But the development of trust begins with our first relationships, our parents/gaurdians. Trust versus mistrust(0-1yr) is the first stage of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. So it would be accurate to say, that if a child goes through this stage concluding that people are not be trusted, he/she is gonna have a few issues trusting people as they grow older. This can also lead to the person not accepting the trust that others put on them, as they may not have learned the importance of trust.
I know that in my lifetime, I would have overestimated the trust of some, and it has led to unwanted circumstances. But through trial and error, I know the people in my life who I can count on when I really need them. An interesting question a friend brought up recently is ‘who would you call at 4am and trust they would answer and help you with whatever?’ I think we all need that person in our lives, that 4ammer. I know who mine is, and I know that he would not only answer and listen to whatever had me call him in the first place, but he would actually want to help also. But, I only know that he would, because of past experience, he has been by my side when most would run a mile. I think it is important that we all sit down and think not only who would we call at 4am, but who would call us? Although this post has focused on our trust with others, we must also think about our own trustworthiness. More importantly, how much do we trust ourselves? I know there was a time in my life I did not trust myself, and I know others didn’t either. Part of this I believe is to do with knowing ourselves, going back to the second factor of trust which is Bonding. We also need to bond with ourselves, if we dont know ourselves, how can we trust ourselves. Knowing the self can be a long process and everyday we are discovering more about ourselves. But, it is important to take risks, try new things, put yourself out there, as it is the only way you are going to know yourself, therefore trusting yourself, and ultimately having the confidence that you are a person worthy of trust and therefore boosting your self esteem!
If you take anything from this post make it this