Trust is an active choice
Trust is not about having no fears. Trust is an active decision to take the risk and, despite some fears, to act according to your hopes.
How can I know whether I can trust someone?
“If I could be sure, I would trust him.”
In fact, we do not need trust where there is full security. Trust is needed where such security cannot exist, for example in human relationships.
The only way to find out whether you can trust someone is to give them your trust.
When trust is essential
Trust towards a partner is a classic example, but there are many other cases where trust is necessary for a relationship to function or a situation to go well.
Trust among friends. Trust between parents, teachers and children. Trust among neighbours. Trust among colleagues, including managers.
Even during a job interview, candidates who trust in the selection process and the competence of the interviewers will look, sound and act very differently from those who do not.
Why is it so, that ‘trust is a must’?
It is because trust serves as a foundation for building many further elements: sharing important information, sharing thoughts and feelings, relying on each other, building connection and rapport, intimacy among partners, delegating without over-controlling in the workplace – taking further risks for further gains.
When we let the fears and doubts win over the hopes, we are already anticipating failure. It is like a chain, a domino-effect if you prefer. By introducing negative elements, we will influence further ones. Thus, we will minimize the possibility of things working out, while stimulating and encouraging exactly those effects that we were so afraid of.
If we bring mistrust into a relationship or a situation, the other people will think, feel and act differently from how they would if they had our trust.
Trust and its risks
Many situations and relationships cannot go well without trust. Does that mean that they will go well if there is trust? This we do not know. We just know that together with trust, we are giving it a chance, although trust always contains the risk that we might be disappointed.
You can also choose to not give trust, and thus try to minimize the risk of later disappointment. But if you do not give trust and still go into a relationship, will you be disappointed less, just because “you knew it”, when your doubts are proved correct?
How is your trust?
Trust is an active choice, an answer to the following question:
Am I willing to take the risk of potential disappointment for the sake of trying it and giving it a chance, because I believe it could work out?
There is no correct answer to that question, because it is reasonable to be selective about to whom (and when) you give your trust.
In some situations or relationships you may feel that you are not willing to take the risk. Either because your hope and/or belief that it can go well are too weak, or because you feel you don’t currently have enough energy and capacity to deal with any potential disappointments, and you prefer to stand aside. Sometimes, this may be the case after previous disappointments, when it might take you a while to be able to give your trust again. It is fair enough to take some time for that, you just need to keep in mind that, until you are able to give your trust again (to the same person or to another one), you cannot expect the relationship to function in the same way as it would if the trust were there. You cannot first wait for the relationship to work well and only then give the trust, the trust needs to come first. But it is reasonable to consider and to choose who you give it to!
Where the trust starts
Trusting others starts with trusting yourself: your self-esteem.
That means, trusting in your potential to handle risks and to cope with any further developments. Trusting in your judgement when you are deciding to whom you will give your trust and to whom not. Trusting in your value, even though you sometimes do things you would later do differently. Trusting in other people´s value, although they do not always act as you would prefer. Trusting that you are capable of all this and that you will gain more than you lose. Trusting life and that it is worthwhile to play the game.
If you have long-term difficulties with trust and you would like to improve it, you might benefit from psychological counselling or therapy.