Do you find it difficult to trust people? Maybe you’ve just had one too many people in your life who have broken your trust? If we can figure out how people have failed to live up to our expectation of trust, maybe we can begin to heal our capacity for trusting others. I know from my own experience that having faith in others often backfires. Either I trust too much or I don’t trust at all. What if I’m just trusting the wrong people? And if that is true then how do I go about finding the right ones?
I believe and have come to understand through experience and research that trust has many facets. There are certain qualities that we ourselves have to have and there are conditions that need to be in place before we can share ourselves with another. One element that we need to put into place are boundaries. I have talked about relationship circles in another blog and they come into play here. If we trust people who are not in our inner circle of friends, we might just run into problems. Our boundaries become more translucent, thin or absent even. When this happens, it seems that a lot of people can’t be trusted because we’ve allowed people from the outer circles into our confidence and they have failed to live up to our expectations. We are actually in control but it seems as if others are to blame. This happens because the boundaries we have set are not stringent enough. We need to be careful when letting others into our inner lives. We have all the control and we need to use it wisely.
I can remember times in my own life where I have let people in that I shouldn’t have. This usually happened because I felt bad about not letting people in. This had more to do with me and my low self esteem than it did about others. It wasn’t really the pressure others were putting on me but the pressure I was putting on myself. I didn’t want the other person to feel bad about not being trusted so I’d lean on them a little more–usually until they broke–and consequently they couldn’t be trusted. This becomes a perpetual circle and only confirms our perspective that people, in general, can’t be trusted. But what if my self-esteem is high? Well, first of all, I look for traits in a person such as their moral values and integrity. What do they profess to know about themselves? Have they gossipped about others (this is a great way to test for trust because if they gossip about others, they will likely gossip about you)? Betraying confidence is a warning sign that needs to be taken into account. Are they reliable? Do they do what they say they’re going to do? Do they accept responsibility for their own actions or do they play the blame game? How judgmental are they of others? Do they put others down and lack compassion for them? Do they display gratitude and generosity or do they consistently complain about how they are treated and that they have always experienced the short end of the stick?
These questions can go a long way in helping us set up healthy boundaries with our circle of friends that we allow to get close; we are able to see trust in those we begin to trust before we take the real plunge. We have that control–if we have healthy self-esteem. Loving yourself and trusting yourself goes a long way when it comes to trusting and loving others. If you struggle with this, you might want to read about self esteem or hook up with a therapist/social worker that can help you build yourself up into a person you can begin to love and trust. Don’t be afraid or if you are, give yourself a break, asking for help takes courage and it takes risk, but it has so many advantages in the end that it is worth it. TRUST ME!
peace balance empathy