When we trust mindfully..
"Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect."
When it comes to trust, it is a big deal. When individuals gain our trust or break our trust, it matters. Trust is deep and when we trust, we are open, vulnerable. Trust is the choice to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else; it isn't about the grand gestures, but the small moments that someone treats what is important to you with care.
When I think about the depth of trust, BRAVING comes to mind-Boundaries, reliability, accountability, vault integrity, non-judgment, and generosity; all of which I believe trust is about. When we trust, in a sense we are practicing the act of "braving." Let's break it down:
To trust someone, it’s essential that we are clear about our boundaries so they can understand and respect our limits. It’s also important that we understand the boundaries of others so trust can flow both ways.
Reliability is when someone does what they say they’re going to do over and over again. They can’t just follow through on their word once, reliability builds gradually.
At work, this means that we know our limits and enforce them so we don’t bite off more than we can chew. If we commit to more than we can manage, we end up unable to finish it all, or we finish it at a lower level of quality than we could have if we had less on our plate. When we overstep our limits, we can’t deliver on our commitments. We can’t follow through on our word.
This idea also transfers to personal life. We need to know when we’re too busy to commit to more plans with others, or when we just don’t want to commit.
We trust people who own up to their mistakes, apologize, and make amends, But others can only do that if we allow them. If we immediately write someone off when they make a mistake, or stop talking to them, we don’t give them a chance to step into their accountability.
This goes both ways in a relationship. When we make mistakes, we need the other person to allow us to acknowledge our mistakes, say we’re sorry, and try to patch things up.
We cannot trust someone if they share our personal information with others without our permission. It needs to be as though that information is in a vault that’s only accessible to the folks we purposely told. By the same token, we need to hold the secrets, stories, and information of other people in confidence so they can trust us.
Oftentimes, we use gossip as a way to try to quickly find intimacy with someone. We feel like if we can secretly talk about others with them, we have a solid connection; this is counterfeit trust. If we are minding our own business and someone tells us confidential information about someone else, we know we can’t trust them. Others will think the same of us.
Integrity is choosing courage over comfort. It’s choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast, or easy. Integrity is more than just naming our values. It’s living according to our values, individually and collectively; when we live with integrity, we not only build trust with others, we build trust with ourselves.
Non-judgment is about being vulnerable with someone without being judged by them, while they can be vulnerable and not be judged by us. This is hard because we tend to be better at giving help than asking for help. In fact, we tend to feel better about ourselves when we help someone but think less of ourselves when we ask for help. You cannot judge yourself for needing help, but not judge others for needing your help; that’s what makes true reciprocal non-judgment difficult.
Our relationship is only a trusting relationship if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions, and behaviors, and then check in with me. This means that if we make a mistake, we will be upfront about it, but assume we had good intentions.
It’s important that we understand the complexity of trust and how to break it down so that we can identify why we do or don’t trust certain people. Instead of feeling stupid or naive for trusting someone when they turned out to be untrustworthy, we can identify what exactly went wrong.
Knowing this can help us build our self-trust, too. We can ask ourselves if we respected our boundaries if we were reliable, if we held ourselves accountable, and if we were generous with ourselves.
Because if braving relationships with other people is braving connection, self-trust is braving self-love. Self-respect is the wildest adventure we’ll ever take in our whole lives; If we don’t feel like we can trust ourselves, we can’t expect others to trust us, because we can’t give others what we don’t have.