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Three strands of trust

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Trust is the foundation of all human connections. The term, trust, is used to describe a complete belief in a person. Belief that they will do what they say they will do. It is a reliance or confidence in the integrity, strength, and ability of someone or something.

Trust forms the basis of every relationship. Everything from chance encounters to friendships, and intimate relationships all hinge on trust. It governs our every interaction, and it must be upheld for every relationship to survive and thrive.

Without trust, it would be impossible to establish or sustain a relationship in any area of our lives. Basic things such as counting on other drivers to stay in their lanes and on pilots to remain sober and alert when carrying out their flight responsibilities revolves around trust.

Our entire human existence – culture, civilization, and community all depend on trust. We define our lives by how we view ourselves and the types of relationships we create. Trust is at the heart of all that.

For you to fully enjoy the best life possible and truly experience peace and happiness, you will need to master trust on three different levels. These levels are:

• Building Trust
• Trusting Others
• Trusting Yourself

In this article, we will discuss various tips on how to build trust (gain the trust of others), how to trust others more willingly, and how to trust yourself more. Building trust, trusting others, and trusting yourself are all very important in enabling you to lead a peaceful and happy life.

Understanding the significance of each of these forms of trust requires making a consistent effort at cultivating and upholding each one of them in our daily lives. Let’s find out more as we analyze various strands that can help us build trust, trust others, and trust ourselves.


Building Trust


Aside from making others trust you, you must be able to trust them as well. Without trust, you will have to do absolutely everything yourself as you will not be confident in others to get the job done. It is practically impossible to do everything yourself anyway, as that would be an exercise in futility.

However, for many, building trust can be a challenge and there may be several reasons for this. It could be as a result of having low self-esteem or from having multiple disappointments because of past failed relationships. But should these factors hinder you from building trust? Certainly not!

When trying to establish a relationship, in any area of your life, it is essential that you build trust first. That will help you to easily and quickly gain real value from the relationship and to enjoy it more.

Building trust is also a key component of assertiveness. It allows you to defend your opinion or point of view without upsetting others. However, that can be tricky in certain situations. When looking to trust others, you must also take into account whether they trust you.

Gaining the trust of others is just as important as learning to trust others. Outlined below are some useful tips that can help you to build that trust.

Stay true to your words and following through with your actions

Without a doubt, words may lie, but your actions will always reveal the truth. If you do not follow through on your words with the relevant action, you will ultimately lose out on gaining the trust of others.

Nobody likes a person who doesn’t keep their promises. Everybody wants to be seen as trustworthy and as someone who always tells the truth. You want to be around people who are confident enough to assign you a task and who then forget about it until you’ve finished.

Staying true to your words is also the same as committing. You don’t want to back down on your commitments simply because they are no longer favorable for you. That would make you selfish and untrustworthy which for sure is not the image you want others to have of you.

By keeping your word and fulfilling your obligations, you will not only save your relationships but also gain the respect of others, and build trust in the process.

Communicate effectively with others

Effective communication is the pillar of every great relationship. Poor communication inevitably results in a conflict which could ultimately lead to a failed relationship. It is therefore important to learn to communicate effectively with others.

On the occasions when you do regrettably need to break a commitment, early and proper communication can mitigate any resulting conflicts. You can start by trying to put yourself in the shoes of the person that you’re about to disappoint. How would you feel if it were you? What can be said or done to salvage the situation, without causing a breach of trust?

After reflecting on these and similar questions, you will be able to think of subtle ways to let the person know you need to break the commitment. If you can communicate in a kind and reassuring manner, you could even gain more trust and respect from the person.

It is also worth checking that the message you send out is the same as the received message. Many times, we fail to double check whether the parties we have communicated with are crystal clear about what exactly was said or agreed. It’s vital to learn strong communication skills to stop problems arising, and it’s critical to the building of trust as well.

Dedicate your time to building and earning trust

Understand that building trust takes time, so don’t rush it. Instead, focus on small steps and small promises. Building trust should be a daily activity where you must remain committed. Small and steady progress usually yields the best returns in the long run.

Dedicate your time to nurturing your relationships by learning about the other person. Talk to them and ask questions, but don’t be pushy. They will appreciate your interest in them and will feel more comfortable when they’re in your company. This way you will gradually begin to gain the trust of others.

Exercise patience when making decisions; think before acting hastily

Broken trust and failed relationships are the frequent results of people making decisions without thinking through the consequences. Later, they regret making the decision. Before you make any commitment, make sure that you have carefully considered everything involved in keeping it.

Most importantly, ensure you are happy with any promise you make and make sure it’s something you can deliver. Be bold enough to say ‘No’ to any commitment you think you may not be able to keep. Think very carefully before agreeing as practicing patience is a skill. Even though others may feel disappointed, don’t allow them to pressure or harass you into promising something you will not be able to follow through.

Show gratitude

Never hesitate to show your appreciation and gratitude to people who are loyal to you. Sometimes, we get so carried away building new relationships, that we forget to nurture those we already have. Don’t make that mistake. It’s far easier maintaining existing relationships than to form new ones, so why do we take them for granted? We can quickly lose connections if neglected and they may be difficult to re-establish.

It is therefore very important to regularly check in with your partners, clients, and customers. Doing so shows them that you care and that you appreciate their relationship with you. They will even feel more inclined to reciprocate the kind gestures that you have shown towards them by appreciating you more as well.

Develop your team skills and participate openly

Having good team skills is also very important when building trust. When you’re with your fellow team members, they should feel your impact. You wouldn’t be on a team if you didn’t have something valuable to offer, would you?

It’s always best to prepare well for any meetings. Make it a habit. Adequately preparing for a meeting will enable you to have something meaningful to contribute when you’re there. Nobody likes a freeloader—they are difficult to trust.

Don’t be seen as the quiet person who always sits at a corner without saying anything. By participating openly and fully giving your insights, people will respect and trust you. It doesn’t matter if they don’t agree with your views, they value the fact that you’re willing to offer them and have a discussion. Building trust within a team requires you to be open and willing to contribute. Playing this role demonstrates that you’re also willing to trust others.

Don’t neglect the relationships you have and the trust you have built

Many people have a lot of friends and large families, but only a few of those relationships bring them real joy. You should give your very best to those particular relationships. Your family members and friends who have been with you for years should be your utmost priority.

Sometimes, we may not realize that we’ve neglected a particular person who means a lot to us—until problems develop. No matter how busy your schedule is, it is always possible to find a little time for those that matter most to you. Making this sacrifice will ensure that you maintain a valuable and supportive relationship built on trust.

Always be honest

Honesty, they say, is the best policy. This saying holds true because when people see you as an honest person in both words and deeds, you build trust. Sometimes you may be tempted to tell a lie to protect others or avoid trouble, but people will lose faith when you get caught.

The result of being dishonest can be damaging to your reputation, as people will automatically assume that you will be untruthful about everything. It is therefore important for you to always be honest as even the smallest lies can jeopardize years of built-up trust.

Another thing to take note of is the emotional commitment to honesty. While protecting someone by telling a lie may seem rational to you, it also implies that you do not trust the person to have the emotional maturity to deal with the truth. That could backfire on you. You could lose forever the chance to build that person’s trust.

Try to help others whenever you can

Helping people, especially those who have no means of paying you back, is a great way for you to build trust as well. Kindness goes a long way and helping others in whatever capacity you can indirectly earn you improved trust.
However, while helping others should be done without expecting a benefit in return, it is important that you do not suffer a penalty either. Always bear in mind that you don’t have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations to help others.

Don’t hide your feelings

People feel more comfortable and have a liking towards those who are not afraid or reluctant to express their emotions. For instance, when you receive upsetting news, you’re expected to be upset. It is a natural reaction, and everyone would understand.

However, if you try too hard to hide your emotions and don’t react as you should, that may reflect badly. You will appear to be like a heartless robot and will push people away from you.

By honestly expressing your emotions, people will know that you truly care and will feel more inclined to trust you. Nobody likes an uptight individual who hides their feelings to appear tough or avoid appearing vulnerable. The sincerity of your emotions is a powerful tool that counteracts any feelings of insecurity people may have about you and helps you build trust.

Don’t self-aggrandize

When you’re in a team or in a position to lead others, try to recognize and appreciate each person’s efforts. By demonstrating that you respect each person’s opinion instead of always promoting yours you can gain trust, and they will be more willing to go the extra mile to help you.

Another thing you need to be careful of is being fair with your judgments. A lot of people only comment when they see something wrong and complain. By highlighting the good things that you notice too, people will trust you to be fair in your judgment.

Do what you believe is right. Always!

It is desirable to think that you can gain everyone’s approval by doing everything that they want you to. Being nice to people by helping them when they ask for your assistance is good, but it is important to bear in mind that doing so could mean sacrificing your values and beliefs.

You lose the respect and trust of people when you sacrifice your own beliefs and values to gain the approval of others. It is a clear sign telling people that you’re not to be trusted. Because if you were to be trusted, you wouldn’t be willing to sell out on yourself.

People will respect your honesty and integrity when they notice that you’re building a reputation for always doing what you believe is right, even when others disagree with you. Be clear on what your values are and uphold them. That will help you always to do what is right, even though it means upsetting people who are not in tune with your values.

Admit your mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes, but only a few are willing to own up to them, rather than to deny them. The problem with hiding your mistakes is that it makes you less human, and people will know that you’re dishonest.

On the other hand, having the courage to accept and acknowledge your mistakes will make people see you as relatable and human. By revealing your vulnerable side, they see you as someone who is more like them. They will respect you for being honest. You also become more approachable and will ultimately build trust in the process.

 

Trusting Others

Trusting others means having the confidence and faith that the decisions they make are because of love, respect, and consideration for you. It means believing that the person would avoid taking any action or saying anything that would cause harm to you physically or emotionally.

Many times, people make mistakes. They fall short of the trust you have in them. But in general, you want their words and actions to reflect their love for you. However, we all have various reasons not to trust others. That is because we have all been let down, disappointed, rejected, hurt, scared, and neglected before.

Every single person on the planet today has suffered a betrayed trust in one way or another, and we have all felt pain in relationships. Why do we find it so hard to trust others? Often, it’s due to our belief that the benefits of closeness and intimacy experienced when you trust someone, is far outweighed by the possibility of pain and betrayal. We base this belief on our previous experiences.

You may have gone through some challenging moments in your life. The instances where someone betrayed your trust are always in the back of your mind. That may make you leery of trusting anyone again. However, if you learn to look past the disappointment and focus on developing self-knowledge, you will enjoy a happier and satisfying life.

That brings us to the big question: how do you know if you can trust someone? According to Ernest Hemingway, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Below are some useful tips that can help you trust others more willingly.

Avoid putting up walls to protect yourself

It is undeniably difficult to get over any previously broken trust. Most people put up walls to protect themselves by not trusting others. Just like the saying “Once bitten twice shy” goes, it is easy to conclude that no one is deserving of your trust. But should this be the case?

The sad fact about protecting yourself by being mistrusting of others is that you end up living a lonely and unfulfilled life without meaningful relationships. You may believe that the best way to avoid being hurt in a relationship is by holding off on trusting someone until you know you are safe. If the person earns your trust, then you will gladly give it to them.

Using this approach to trusting others, however, isn’t a guarantee that they will never disappoint or betray you. It only exposes you to even more painful heartaches and disappointments because you expect so much from them, forgetting that they’re still human.

Understand that it is all part of life

It may sound ironic, but the truth is that disappointment, rejection, betrayal, fear, and abandonment are all part of the deal in relationships. It is completely natural to feel reluctant to trust others, not because we’re in a relationship with untrustworthy people, but because we’re humans.

You don’t need to find the perfect, trustworthy person to make you believe in trusting others. You just need to deal with the hurt when it arises. Understand that it is all a process that is part of life. So, shift your focus from trying to avoid being hurt (which is impossible), to accepting and recognizing that we can deal with anything that comes our way.

Do not allow past bad relationships to affect new ones

If you base your reasons for not trusting others on bad past experiences, you will only end up hurting yourself. In fact, people stuck in their past find it challenging to experience growth in their lives. They unknowingly block their progress by withdrawing themselves from engaging in uplifting social activities.

Aside from not being able to get over past broken relationships, you also become skeptical of every new person that comes into your life. You see everybody as a threat, and you begin to judge people even before you get to know them.

On the other hand, by believing that a person’s intentions are ultimately good and that everyone is prone to making mistakes, you break yourself free from any heartache and pain if disappointments do come.

Listen to your intuition and let it be your guide

It is normal not to want to expose yourself to anyone after you have suffered before at the hands of betrayal. Nobody likes to feel exposed; we all want to be sure of who we let into our lives. Being vulnerable, however, doesn’t mean you should set yourself up to be shot down emotionally by someone who isn’t deserving of your trust.

When faced with the decision whether to trust someone or not, it is important to use your instincts as your guide. Listen to your spirit as it guides you when you are questioning a person’s trustworthiness. Always be observant of the person’s actions and inactions. Find out answers to questions like: How do they treat other people? How do they talk about others? Do they gossip or share other people’s secrets?

Don’t go only by what you see or hear about the person in public. Untrustworthy people are very good at putting up a convincing show in public for others to see, but their personality can quickly deteriorate in private. You can test the waters by sharing small things with them and see what happens. If they breach even a small confidence, then you know that they can betray bigger ones.

Learning to be vulnerable again after deep pain may feel very difficult to do, if not impossible. But it needn’t be. Staying open and being trusting of others is a healthy choice and by consciously practicing it, you will find that your world will change for the better in ways you may never have imagined.

Become empowered

Trusting others isn’t about never feeling another negative emotion again; it is about recognizing that you are capable of handling anything that comes your way. The moment you recognize that people are prone to making mistakes irrespective of their age, race, status, or religion, you begin to grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.

This realization absolves you of many insecurities that you may have had about trusting others. Whatever walls you had built up around you to protect yourself from others will crumble. You will become empowered to face your fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of being ridiculed, fear of being wrong, fear of being taken advantage of, and fear of committing yourself.

The level of freedom this realization provides will enable you to live your life to the fullest. Ultimately, you will become a little more trusting and a little less fearful of others because you know that come what may, you will be able to sail through safely.

Approach others with compassion rather than condemnation

We all make mistakes, and that is what makes us human. When you’re scared, you are prone to making mistakes. Making mistakes could mean not acting with your highest integrity, and when this happens, you may end up hurting others.

The same goes for the other person as well. They may make mistakes and end up not being honest with you. Like earlier mentioned, it is a noble thing always to believe that a person’s ultimate intentions are good. When you see things this way, you’re in fact accepting that they’re also humans.

There’s even the possibility that the person that you’re skeptical about is also feeling the same way about you. We all have every right not to trust someone – a phenomenon that is very natural, but that shouldn’t jeopardize our chances of having a great relationship with such a person.

When someone makes a mistake by not acting with their highest integrity, it is best to approach the person with compassion rather than condemnation. Doing so will help you resolve any challenges between you and the person without damaging your relationship.

Be careful what you think about

Believe it or not, the things that you focus your mind on are the things that will ultimately happen. If you have been betrayed before when dealing with a particular person or situation and you expect it to happen again, you will subconsciously attract just that situation.

You will keep looking for signs of betrayal, continually analyzing the person’s every action. Ironically, you will create the scene for the betrayal you’re looking for to occur, even if it’s not there.

If, however, you focus solely on the right kinds of things that would go exactly the way you want, you will subconsciously attract the people who will not betray you. Don’t let your mindset towards people be that of failure and betrayal. Even when the thought comes up, try your best to recognize it and cancel it out with a positive thought instead.

You will see that even the person who had an intention to betray you may have a change of heart when they notice that you want the best for them and your relationship. Make it a point of duty to consciously train your mind to focus on and expect only good things from people and good things will surely come your way.

Believe that you deserve trusting relationships

Many people sometimes feel that they do not deserve anyone’s trust. Perhaps they haven’t always been honest themselves, so they tend to derive solace in the belief that they don’t deserve trust. Thinking this way is only detrimental to your emotional health and wellbeing. It will not help you develop good, trusting relationships.

Dishonesty usually stems from fear and low self-esteem. People who struggle with low self-esteem find it difficult to expect anything good for themselves. If you ever find yourself thinking that you’re not deserving of trust, it is important that you try to be compassionate and forgiving. Do not condone the action, but understand the source and use that to resolve the problem.

You do trust

Believe it or not, you cannot do without trusting others. You may say to yourself that you can’t trust anyone anymore, but is that true? Think about it.

Everything little thing we do revolves around trust – you trust the waiter to bring your food when you place an order in a restaurant, do you not? Take a step back and reflect on the little acts of trust performed each day, and see the roles you play in each one of them.

You will realize the obvious truth, and that is, whether you acknowledge it or not, you do trust. In fact, you want to trust. It is a natural human feeling that everyone inhibits – from the little to bigger things, the urge to trust others will always be there.

You want to be able to relax and believe that you will not be hurt or disappointed by others when you decide to trust them. Why then do you intentionally block that desire with the belief that they will inevitably break your trust? Focus on what can go right instead, work towards it, and you’ll get the results you desire.

Trusting Yourself

Trusting yourself involves having the confidence and faith that the decisions YOU make on your behalf AND toward others are based on love, respect, and consideration for yourself and the other person. It is a personal choice to trust yourself, and you have to make that decision on your own.

One thing you need to understand is that there will always be people who belittle your opinions. You will come across people who do not respect your values or the decisions you make. It is essential that you do not allow such persons to influence your resolve to trust in yourself.

Trusting yourself means that you stand firm in your values and follow through with integrity on your decisions. It should be your aim to wholeheartedly pursue your goals and aspirations without letting the opinions of others distract you.

You have to be strong enough to block out all the external noise and believe in yourself. Trust yourself to do and act in the way that is best for you. It’s not selfish to put yourself first.

If you can back up your convictions with strong, decisive actions and consistent improvements based on your values and principles, you will be better for it.

Below are some highly recommended tips that can help you to trust yourself more.

Be kind to yourself. Love yourself

One very productive way that you can learn to trust yourself is by first being kind to yourself. Many people blame every disappointment on themselves.

Continually rebuking your actions or inactions can make you lose trust in your abilities. You become unsure of every decision you make because you make it from a place of low self-worth. Being kind to yourself and loving yourself will help you move past any mistakes you make more easily.

As earlier specified, to err is human. It is important to train yourself to acknowledge that fact. Nobody is above mistakes, and we have all made certain decisions that we later regret. The difference, however, is that some people are better than others at dusting themselves off after the disappointment and doing away with any feelings of regret.

Our inherent nature is good and trustworthy. We all want to trust ourselves and the decisions we make. It is very natural to trust. Mistrust is learned, and you can unlearn it if you begin to love yourself.

Affirm the possibility

Trust is a vital component of human relationships. If you still harbor feelings of mistrust in yourself due to some innate belief that you cannot regain trust once it’s broken, you will not be able to enter a new relationship fully.

Before you can truly learn to trust yourself, you need to let go of any past disappointments that are still plaguing your mind about trust. It can be a huge burden to carry around feelings of mistrust in yourself, and nobody deserves to live that way. Believe and then affirm the possibility of making the right decisions about who you should trust.

When in doubt, say the following affirmation: “I am open to trusting my intuition. I am open to trusting my heart. I am open to trusting another person.” Say it from the depth of your soul, with love in your heart, and pure intention. You will feel good about yourself afterward. Say it often and let that good feeling sink right in.

Believe that you are perfect and complete the way you are

No one can make you feel truly complete except you – it is up to you to accept that fact. Many of us have been or are currently in close, intimate relationships where we may feel that we can’t do without our friends or partners. When you’re in such relationships, it may seem like a big part of yourself has been removed when the relationship ends.

It is an understandable reality that humans are social creatures and as such, we need companionship. However, that shouldn’t make you feel less human or incomplete whenever you find yourself on your own. You do not need anyone or anything to validate your existence. Neither do you need someone to make you feel perfect and whole – you are complete just the way you are.

You have all the power within you to be the best you can be. No one can take away any part of you because you are a physical being that is special in your unique way. You simply are, and will always be regardless of whether people act according to the expectations you placed on them or not.

Your body, mind, and spirit are always intact even if you’re let down by others. True, you’re a little wiser when someone betrays your trust, but you’re not less without this person or this person’s trust. When you have fully come to terms with this fact, you will begin to see yourself in a new light and trust yourself more.

Meditate on the fact that you cannot control another person’s actions

As far as trust is concerned, it doesn’t matter what you may expect from others. They still have the power to decide what they want for themselves. You should accept the fact that every person has the free will to decide for themselves what they want. And as such, they may not live up to your expectations.

You cannot control the actions of others, but you can always control your response. Always remember that you are in control of yourself. When people betray your trust, try not to let it get to you. Rather, see it as a lesson and try to appreciate the pain as a blessing. It would help you to face such a scenario if ever present again in the future.

You will trust yourself more when you always act with integrity and honesty. Endeavour to always give when dealing with your best, and believe that you are worthy of the love, trust, and respect. If you consistently meditate and believe in the possibility of a relationship built on trust, you will attract what you believe to yourself.

Conclusion

Building trust, trusting others and trusting yourself are all a process. You cannot enjoy the best life possible or experience true peace and happiness until you have mastered trust on all three levels.

Throughout this eBook, we have been able to analyze the significance of these various forms of trust. We discussed the tips that can help you get better at each one of them and how they can be applied to help you as a person and in your relationship with others. Below is a quick recap of what we have learned.

Building Trust Recap

Building trust is a challenge for some due to factors ranging from low self-esteem to being unable to move past previous failed relationships. We analyzed some top tips which we recommend you use as your guide when building trust. They include:

  • Stay true to your words and follow through with your actions
  • Communicate effectively with others
  • Dedicate your time to building and earning trust
  • Exercise patience when making decisions and think before acting hastily
  • Treat your customers well and show your gratitude for their business
  • Develop your team skills and participate openly
  • Don’t neglect the relationships you have and the trust you have built
  • Always be honest
  • Try to help others whenever you can
  • Don’t hide your feelings
  • Don’t always self-aggrandize
  • Do what you believe is right. Always!
  • Admit your mistakes

Trusting Others Recap

Trusting others means having the confidence and faith that the decisions a person takes are because of love, respect, and consideration for you. Undoubtedly, we all have reasons not to trust others because of previous betrayals. However, looking past the disappointment will help you enjoy a happier and satisfying life.

We also discussed some top tips that can help you trust others more willingly. These tips can help you reinstate your faith in people. They will enable you to move past the rejection, hurt, fear, and neglect you once suffered. They are:

  • Avoid putting up walls to protect yourself
  • Understand that it is all part of life
  • Do not allow past bad relationships to affect your perception of new ones
  • Listen to your intuition and let it be your guide
  • Become empowered
  • Always approach others with compassion rather than condemnation
  • Be careful what you think about
  • Believe that you deserve trusting relationships
  • Believe you can trust

Trusting Yourself Recap

Trusting yourself enables you to live a better and more fulfilling life. That involves having the confidence and faith that the decisions you make on your behalf and towards others are because of love, respect, and consideration for yourself and the other person.
We learned that trusting yourself means standing firm on your values and following through with integrity on your decisions. The following tips to help you with trusting yourself were analyzed. Though not exhaustive, they include:

  • Be kind to yourself. Love yourself
  • Affirm the possibility
  • Believe that you are okay, perfect and complete the way you are
  • Meditate regularly on the fact that you cannot control another person’s actions

While these tips are all relatively easy to use, implementing them in our daily lives may be difficult for some people. Building trust, trusting others, and trusting yourself, are all objectives that require constant attention and practice.

One thing that is certain though is that even though it may seem otherwise, there are plenty of good, trustworthy people in this world. A good place to start when building trust or trusting others is with yourself. Always do your best to make sure that you are a trustworthy person who lives with honesty and integrity.

Take your time to go through each one of the tips outlined above, begin first by working on one tip before proceeding on to the next.

Once you’re able to master all three forms of trust – building trust, trusting others and trusting yourself, you will discover that they will all become second nature to you.

 

 
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