Vote of confidence: Why we need to trust
By Savina Akoumianaki
“It is impossible to go through life without trust: that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.”
Roy J. Lewicki (1998) describes trust as “an individual’s belief in, and willingness to act on the basis of, the words, actions, and decisions of another”. Most people consider trust to be the most important part of a relationship.
To trust, or not to trust: that is the question
“People are strange when you’re a stranger.”
There are many reasons people tend not to trust others. Not trusting someone is more of a decision than a feeling – a decision we make in order to protect ourselves. The problem is that this is not a very effective practice. We need to trust others. This doesn’t mean that we have to trust everyone around us, but if we can choose some it makes a real difference. People tend to mistrust due to bad past experiences that made them suffer. They believe that all people will betray their trust. They see untrustworthy or potentially untrustworthy people everywhere. But we have to accept that we all are people. Different, but still people – people who make mistakes or have problems and use mechanisms to solve them. People seem strange to us when we are not close to them.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
Trusting means taking risks. If you are not ready to take a risk you will not be able to trust. To trust is to not be 100% sure that the other person will never betray you. You can never be sure of that. Trust means that without being sure about the results or the future, you still believe. First of all you believe in your choice to trust someone.
The fear bubble
People choose not to trust because of fear – fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, fear of inadequacy, fear of being hurt. So how to build trust? First of all, you have to be stable. Keep in mind that your trust in a relationship is based on reliability on a daily basis.
Secondly, you have to be sure that your words represent exactly what you want to say. Others will also “listen” to your body language. If you say you’re happy, but your behavior is surly, they won’t hear your words, but instead notice your face and the tone of your voice. When your words represent your true message it builds trust in a relationship.
Third, it’s important to not keep secrets. Be honest and open. This may sound difficult because we sometimes think that the truth can harm the people we love or that it may cause us to lose them, leaving us all alone. But lies can’t stay secrets forever and one day we’ll have to deal with them – the sooner, the better.
Fourth, we have to believe in the abilities of others. When you do not believe that another person is competent at some things (or anything), this eats away at the trust in your relationship.
Fifth, don’t be afraid to let others know what your needs are. Those of us who have had many bad experiences often don’t say exactly what we want or need at the time we want or need it. Don’t make others guess what you need. Speak with them. This is not selfish or self-centered. Even if the other person is not ready to accept your needs, you will feel much better knowing that you have expressed yourself. From the other side, when another person expresses his or her needs it doesn’t mean that you have to say yes. Nor does the other person have to say yes to your needs. Be ready for that. This is important for building respect and self-respect – both important components of trust.
Finally, always seek evolution. Digging into the “soil” of your relationship can cause you pain, but this pain is preparing the ground for future development. Do not fear unrest, crisis or doubt. When you decide to build confidence in your relationship, you are committed to experiencing a little pain. But as you come face to face with this pain, not only do you become personally stronger, you enhance the companionship between you and other people.
In conclusion, before you make a decision to trust or not to trust, first trust yourself.
“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
―William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well