We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone -
paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.
~ Walter Anderson
In the last while, I’ve been dealing with a lot of issues that revolve around trust that has had me thinking and pondering. When one realizes that trust is the ultimate value exchange, it becomes an incredible commodity but also can create the most devastating losses. The act of trust is a very emotional act and can be associated with such emotions such as love, comfort, friendship and yet it is a logical act where we predict what other people will do and what situations will occur.
So when did we start losing our trust and when did we become so jaded to believe that trust is just a word with little to no meaning?
Let me explain, the word trust has layers of meaning and while there are those who are “trusting souls” ( trust first then get burned), you are talking to a person who is a bit of a realist ( you have to “earn” my trust) and I have my way of testing.
So what is my test you might ask and is it realistic? I have 4 main criteria that I use when forming trust and I use it in my work and my personal life….
1. Honesty What the heck is honesty anyways? We have governments that say they are honest, we have businesses that use the keyword phrase – trust us we are honest and we have people who say…look at me I am honest..but what is honesty?
To me honesty means being truthful, sincere and forthright in everything we do not just in words but in actions. You would think that being honest would be a simple matter, but it seems that many people have their own definitions to honesty and that is the truth!
2 Did you know that the opposite of the word “Integrity” is hypocritical ( or two-faced)? To me trusting a person/brand means having integrity pure and simple! Far too often I have noticed that people don’t have an understanding of what integrity means and worse just like “honesty” there seems to be a grey area in how we behave or view integrity. I have been exploring a community called the Integrious Project which was founded to inspire & empower people to live with integrity and it was here that I found this example of Examples of Integrity: The Power of Words Video
3. Reliability (that means keeping your word) Oh what a world we live in, saying we will do things, make promises and commitments and then wham…the excuses start happening! I have a favorite expression ( I have a few of them…lol) This one speaks to the issue of being reliable and that is ” without action, words mean nothing” It is easy to say that you will do this or that and maybe the intent is there to carry through. but when you let people down time and time again, then do not expect to be trusted! I have seen kids being hurt because of parents making promises and not keeping them, I have seen businesses fail because of unwise commitments and I have seen relationships fall flat because of “bad faith excuses”. I shake my head at how little people seem to understand that without reliability then traits such as truth and loyalty mean nothing!
4. Loyalty. Is it just me, but has the perception of what the meaning of loyalty changed a bit over the years? At one time you stood by a person, a boss, a government or a brand through thick and thin in some ways wearing rose-colored glasses, always faithful, never questioning and never thinking. Today’s loyalty comes with a clause..I will stay with you because I choose to and not because I have to and I will be loyal to you because it is the right thing to do. To me when you trust a person to be loyal, it does not mean that you put that person in a situation where they have to go against their moral compass or break the law.
None of the above qualities can happen in a day so I will say that the most important criteria for me is the test of time. Trust when earned will last you a long long time and the benefits are beyond compare, so my advise to you is to treat it with care, with respect and with all the attention it deserves.