“Trust is choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.” Meanwhile, distrust is deciding that “what is important to me is not safe with this person in this situation (or any situation).” —Charles Feltman, author of The Thin Book of Trust
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #77
It is estimated that 50% of us made resolutions as we rang in 2016 just a few days ago. And while I am always on the boat of making and setting goals whether it’s January 1st or September 1st, study after study reveals that one of the many things successful, happy, content people have in common is that they set goals. Clear goals. Concrete goals, also known as SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound).
And while I won’t be offering a concrete goal that you may select today, I will be sharing with you a goal that I have never placed on my resolutions or goals list because I didn’t know how to accomplish it, until now.
As much as we can blame the outside world for some of the frustrations and headaches in our lives, we also must take responsibility for how we create frustrations and headaches for ourselves. Part of it is ignorance, the other part is obdurateness, the thinking that in no way could we be at fault, and it must be something else. The beautiful realization is that often what needs to be fixed after we’ve changed everything on the outside that can be changed, is our cognitive response.
Statistically, each and every one of us has endured a loss of trust either in our personal or professional lives. But what does losing trust look like? When we say we don’t trust someone or something, what are we really saying?
Whether information crosses our paths when we are looking for it or when we need it, I don’t know for sure, but I do know that Brené Brown’s video for Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions on The Anatomy of Trust, stopped me cold.
I had initially planned to write an entirely different post for today, the first episode/post of 2016. But upon watching the twenty-four minute video, I finally came to understand something that I have been ambiguous about since I was in high school. What is trust? How do we build trust? How do we begin to trust others? And most importantly, how do we begin to trust ourselves?
I encourage you to watch the video as her eloquence and expertise will not be done justice with today’s post, but what I quickly realized as I began to reflect back on relationships and why I didn’t feel comfortable with them or why I let go or why I couldn’t invest further or find a deeper intimacy was because at least one of the pillars of trust that Brown lays out was missing.
Brown shares her acronym for defining or explaining concretely what trust looks like in BRAVING.
- B —oundaries
- R —eliability
- A —ccountability
- V —ault
- I —ntegrity
- N —on-judgment
- G —enerosity
And with each pillar, I found myself nodding my head. For example, I speak about boundaries, and setting boundaries often here on the blog, but one area that is difficult for me is communicating them with others. For a handful of different reasons based on the boundary, person and situation I find myself, this is difficult for me. But I’ve also noticed that each time I do it it becomes easier, I become clearer and speak for more confidently. I have also recognized when others are communicating their boundaries, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this because I know how to precede with the relationship. Now I know where I can go, now I know where you stand, now I know what you are comfortable with and what you aren’t. They communicated, I’ve listened, and we can still move forward getting to know each other.
I think another part of the difficulty with boundaries is sometimes we don’t know where they are for ourselves. We’re still exploring and getting to know ourselves; therefore, unknowingly, we aren’t sure, so we present ourselves as a push-over when in reality, we just don’t know. However, as we continue to become more in tune with ourselves, the boundaries that we don’t want crossed start to crystalize. And when we become clear about what we know, we can be more flexible on what isn’t that big of a deal.
The trust part with boundaries begins when we communicate them clearly and determine if they are being respected, and visa versa, they’ve communicated with us their boundaries and they see us respecting what they’ve made clear.
Before I explain briefly what each of the pillars are, the most important part of trust that we often forget and where are self-confidence either flows from or is unable to sprout from is whether or not we trust ourselves. Self-trust.
When we set boundaries of eliminating negative self-talk, respecting our bodies, spending within our means, we are respecting the boundaries that cultivate self-trust. But if we do not set boundaries to do so, we build self-doubt. So why then, if we don’t trust ourselves to adhere to each of the pillars would it be easier to trust others? It won’t be. Our doubt grows from having been hurt by others but also by how we’ve treated ourselves.
Getting back to my resolution for 2016, to cultivate trust. It begins by trusting ourselves. Let’s take a look at the definition of each of the pillars of trust.
- B —oundaries — being clear about them and holding them, and clear about others’ and respecting them
- R —eliability — trust them to do what they say they will do and this act is repeated consistently over time. Simultaneously knowing our limitations and saying no, so that we can continue to be reliable with the commitments we make.
- A —countability — when you make a mistake, you own it, apologize and make amends. When someone else makes a mistake, they own it, apologize and make amends. And then you move forward and do not dwell.
- V —ault — What I share with you will be kept in confidence. I hold others’ confidence as well and model it as to exemplify that the vault exists with others I have relationships with.
- I —ntegrity — 3 Pieces: (1) choosing courage over comfort, (2) choosing what is right over what is fast or easy, (3) practicing your values not just professing them.
- N —on-judgment — to be able to fall apart, make a mistake, and ask for help without incurring judgment. We cannot assign value for needing help.
- G —enerosity —Choosing to not assume the worst when someone doesn’t call, forgets or makes an error and then checking in by communicating while you missed them or would have liked to have heard from them, you understand it was an honest mistake, etc. State this sincerely, no guilt, not judgment, communicate and then move forward.
Brown’s definition of trust is the tool that has been missing from my vocabulary all of my life. Perhaps you too were looking for the language to better communicate what you need or what was missing from relationships that you are are currently in, used to be in or wish to be in in the future.
In 2015, I made the move, I found the courage, I let go of some comfort and began again here in Bend. It was without question the right move for the life I want to lead, but there is still work to be done. The work now is taking place within: how to build trust and be more trustworthy, to recognize why I cannot be in relationships with people I may have been in relationships in the past and as well, and recognize why I can be in relationships with people as I move forward if I engage and exhibit trust.
Instead of assuming someone new is untrustworthy, base it on what they show you, not what other people have done to you. Cognitively we may have a reason to be guarded, but with attention to why our cognition is working in this way, we can retrain our minds, begin to behave and respond differently so that the results will be different as well. And isn’t that what the opportunity of a new year is all about? Change? If we begin to do and think differently, the world we create and live within will be begin to respond differently as well.
You have more power within you than you realize. I am nowhere near the need of this journey of cultivating trust, but I am now more on my way than I have ever been before. Let’s make this an amazing year. Shall we?
~Brené Brown’s latest book Rising Strong
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Mozart in the Jungle, an original Amazon television series
~Inspired by Blair Tindall’s book (2005) Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs and Classical Music