The building block of any relationship is trust. Trust is the glue that binds personal relationships and the grease that prevents frictional differences from becoming fractious.
Often, issues with trust arise from experiences and interactions we have had in the early phases of our life, especially as infants. Trust starts with the family and goes on to others. A person who failed to receive nurture, acceptance and affection or was neglected or mistreated as a child will find it difficult to develop trust as an adult.
A child’s first trust is always with their parents. They look towards their parents and caregivers for care, comfort and protection. When they get consistent sources of food, comfort, and affection, the child will develop a sense of trust that others are dependable and reliable. On the other hand, if there is a lack, inconsistency, neglect, the child will develop a sense of mistrust, that the world is undependable and possibly dangerous too. Such children will carry these feelings to their other relationships too.
Trust is important as it allows us to form relationships with people and depend on them for love, help and advice. When people honor our trust, it reinforces the regard we have for them, which will further strengthen our relationship with them. Studies indicate that trust increases subjective well being as it enhances the quality of one’s interpersonal relationships; happy people foster good relationships. On the other hand, when people betray our trust on several instances, it shatters our confidence. We tend to carry on these negative feelings to our other relationships, and we begin to question their intentions. We find it difficult to trust anyone again. For instance, we might assume that someone is always late because he/she doesn’t regard our feelings and someone is always talking behind our back. Instances like these lead us not to trust that person. Distrust exhausts our energy levels, disorients us, and our mind gets bogged down by unwarranted thoughts, thereby bringing down our focus from everything that matters the most to us.
Building trust takes time. It is a choice we make. Any relationship we are in/we begin (with friends, family members, colleagues, partners, etc), we are making the choice to trust them. If we are unable to trust people because of our past bitter experiences, then it is an indication that we might still not be ready to be in that relationship, or get into any other relationships.
It is also important to understand that we must be able to trust ourselves to be able to trust others. Someone might have broken our trust in the past, but we need to realise that it was his or her choice. We can’t take responsibility for someone else’s actions or decisions and blame ourselves for what happened. Building a wall around ourselves due to these unpleasant experiences is only holding us back from forming new relationships, experiencing goodness of relationships and giving ourselves the joy that we deserve.
“Trust is not a matter of technique, but of character. We are trusted because of our way of being and not because of our polished exteriors or our expertly crafted communication.”
– Marsha Sinetar quotes an Author.
Try this to build and maintain trust:
- Smile whenever you meet someone
- If you shake hands, ensure it’s firm
- Make good eye contact with everyone you engage
- If you make a promise, do everything you can to keep it
- Never promise more than you can deliver
- If you make deadlines, keep them
- Communicate effectively with others to keep them informed
- Be respectful of the opinions of others
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AUTHOR: Prathima, Associate Counsellor