“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
Every relationship – personal, professional or romantic – is built on trust. It’s the prerequisite of love, friendship and connection, pleasure but also pain.
I’m afraid we all know how much it hurts when out trust gets violated, our boundaries broken, how difficult it is to heal, once the damage is done.
But this blog is about happiness – not heartache – so the point of this post is to establish the importance and mechanics of trust in relationships.
What does it mean to trust? How do we decide if someone is trustworthy or not? How do we conquer the fear of getting burned again? Here’s what I figured out so far.
1. Trust has nothing to do with expectations. I can’t and don’t want to build my trust in someone based on a specific outcome or behaviour – I’d be setting myself up for failure. Asking someone to earn my trust would mean asking them not to make any mistakes, to follow my imaginary scenario of perfection – and that’s simply unrealistic.
2. Trust is a choice. We all have reasons not to trust. By withholding our trust, we think we protect ourselves from getting hurt again. We wait until we think we’re safe – and that’s the problem. Because there are no guarantees in life, except for the fact that we will experience uncomfortable feelings – and that’s ok.
3. We need to trust ourselves first. At its core, trusting means knowing and accepting that we will make mistakes and that we will survive anything that comes our way. It’s understanding that, ultimately, our well-being is up to us and embracing that responsibility.
4. The key ingredient of trust is vulnerability. It’s not about finding the perfect person. It’s about making an effort to commit and connect, taking the risk to be real. Trust means that we choose to believe in the good intentions and motives of the other part, believing in the best possible outcome.
5. Trust takes time. Trust can’t be forced or rushed. It needs to grow organically and naturally. This means allowing someone the space and time they need, treating them with patience and compassion and – fundamentally – accepting the uncertainty and surrendering to the unknown.