The way to build trust lies in the hands and is the responsibility of the one trusting. I must trust even before someone has proven to be trustworthy. By doing so, we are assisting them in rising up to the level of trustworthiness.
Developing the ability to trust is a great challenge for one simple reason. If I need to trust someone or something, that means they are in control of something and I am not. This is why I would need to trusting them. It can be your computer guy, your secretary or you spouse. It’s very hard to feel secure when we are not in control. I know some people who literally harass those that they are supposedly trusting. They are in such fear that the other person will forget or won’t properly do what they need that they don’t stop reminding them. It’s very devaluing. Do you trust me or not? If you don’t, don’t ask me to do it. If you do, stop harassing me.
By now you know that I don’t have a perfect driving record. I’ve been in a couple of accidents but please don’t hold that against me. I may not be an excellent front seat driver but I do an outstanding job as a backseat driver. Here’s the interesting thing. My wife has been in the car with me at least twice when I’ve had an accident. I’ve never been in the car with my wife when she was driving and experienced an accident. In fact, I don’t know of any accident that my wife was ever in. Yet, when I’m driving she’s quite calm and when she’s driving I will at times serve as a backseat driver. What’s the issue? Trust. When I’m not in control of the steering wheel I feel more vulnerable.
Trust is a vital ingredient in relationships. This is because when someone trusts us, it’s their greatest way of demonstrating their true value for us. This is what we should be giving our spouses and children. One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is your trust in them. It’s one of the only real ways that we can demonstrate that we truly value them. It comes close to unconditional love. Perhaps it’s an outgrowth of unconditional love. I learn this from my closest relationships which are why I put great effort into letting go. I have found this to transform my relationships as well as assist the other person with experiencing their own transformation. I also know how empowered I feel when others demonstrate their trust in me.
However, trust works in a counterintuitive way. The challenge of trust runs around in a circle like a catch 22 and we must be the ones to break that cycle. You see, it’s very common for people to say, “When you earn my trust I will trust you.” In our fear that things won’t work out as we want because we’re not in control, we blame our lack of trust in the other person on them. You are not trustworthy or you are not trustworthy yet. When you will be, then I will trust you. Instead of placing the responsibility on ourselves to find the courage to trust, we dump the responsibility on them to first demonstrate their trustworthiness. This is funny because if we are already sure that they can do what we’re asking, no trust is required. If we only trust people after they’ve demonstrated that they’re trustworthy, we aren’t really trusting them.
This is where we conveniently go wrong and how we perpetuate the circular catch 22. When people don’t feel trusted, we are subtly telling them we are not convinced they are capable. When people are trusted, they most often rise up to the expectation. This is why the way to build trust lies in the hands and is the responsibility of the one trusting. I must trust even before someone has proven to be trustworthy. By doing so, we are assisting them in rising up to the level of trustworthiness. Yes, they may make a few mistakes, and they will typically rise up to our level of trust in them, assisted by the enormous support they are receiving simply from our trusting them.
This is most obviously demonstrated with children. Children are young, they have so much to learn and are limited by the limitation that comes with their age and lack of experience. There are many things for which they are clearly not yet trustworthy. However, when we place our trust in them, two enormous results are produced. The first is the empowerment and self-esteem we give them. We are essentially telling them to do something knowing it may go wrong and it’s very likely that it will the first few times they do it. It sounds like unconditional love, doesn’t it? Secondly, they mature by learning to do things that society may believe is beyond their age. They learn to take on responsibilities and take ownership of their own selves. They also learn by our model of trusting them, how to trust others, ensuring great relationships for themselves. I always ask my kids to do things they may not get perfectly the first time. When they ask me to do something I often ask them if they tried first. When they say they can’t, I’ll often tell them to do their best and to call me when they need help.
This is so important in marriage as well. Trust your spouse if you’re going to ask them to do something. They may forget or not do it to your liking. Firstly, trusting them is usually far more valuable than what they forgot. Secondly, it is when we are permitted to learn from our own experience and mistakes that we come to doing things better.
There is a biblical passage which we recite in our daily prayers which really demonstrates the way trust works. Blessed is the man who trusts in the L-rd and the L-rd will be his security. It is only after we trust in G-d that G-d becomes our security. This is how trust works. You need to demonstrate trust and suddenly you will find the unexpected results that come forth and the people around you will become a much great source of security for you.
This is how the science of spirituality explains trust. As a great spiritual master taught, “Think positively and it will be positive.” What he was teaching is that the trust in G-d itself that it will be good is what elicits the blessings of goodness from above. Isn’t it interesting that we have two messages printed on every American coin and on every one dollar bill: “In G‑d We Trust” and “E Pluribus Unum, Out of the Many, One.” We cannot be unified with others if we don’t trust.
So I’d like to ask you to think of one person in your life who you are close with but haven’t given your full trust to. In which area of their life are you always interfering and trying to control? Test yourself and let go for a month. See what happens. You’ll be surprised by the results!