As this point of the W.I.S.E. project we are all warriors, brave and experienced fighters, knowing what we want out of life and willing slay whatever dragons it takes to get us through the journey.
Trust is a huge word and it carries a lot of baggage around with it. It is hefty. We put a significant amount of value on the essence of trust. We rely heavily on the word and it’s perceived meaning.
“I trust you. I don’t trust you. I will never trust her again. I would never have a relationship without trust. Trust means everything to me. Why can’t I find someone that I trust?”
The above are all phrases that I have used many times. I have said them and meant them without giving them a significant amount of thought.
The most important part of my meaningful relationships should be trust, including the relationship that I have with myself. By my own admission though, I do have a problem with trust but it is one that I am working hard to overcome.
Brené Brown did a talk on the Anatomy of Trust on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. I was shaking my head and really getting it, finally understanding. There is no meaningful connection between people without trust, and lack of trust and authentic connection can affect all areas of our personal and professional lives.
Brené aptly describes trusting as BRAVING and clearly tells us why in an acronym.
B-Boundaries- we need to establish clear boundaries in our relationships. We have to be clear about what our own boundaries are and respect the boundaries of others as they respect yours.
R-Reliability-We need to do what we say we are going to do and to build trust with people. We expect that they will display this same type of reliability.
A-Accountability- We are not perfect, we all make mistakes in our relationships, the key is to own our mistakes, apologize and make amends. In trusting relationships we expect that same courtesy.
V-Vault- We share a lot in our relationships and some of it we expect to be held in confidence, in the “vault” if you will. We want to know that the people we put our trust in acknowledge confidentiality. The Vault has many sides, if we are going to trust someone to share our deepest secrets and thoughts we want to know that we can count on them. When they share the confidence’s of others with us, or we share others confidence’s with them our trust is diminished immediately because we know that they do not respect the vault of others. We all do this or have done this in the past and it is interesting when you understand the reasons why. When we share things that are not ours to share it is a way to forge a connection with others but it is not a true connection. It is an assumed trust. The “vault’ is important. We can all work on this.
I-Integrity-Choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy and practicing our values. Brené describes integrity as choosing courage over comfort.
N-Non-Judgement- It is important to know that we can fall apart and struggle and not be judged by the important people in our lives. Brené said we get a certain amount of value from helping others but if we do not allow them to reciprocate than we are not in a trusting relationship. If we think our worth is tied up in needing help, so much so that we expect that our friends should come to us with their struggles, share their pain and ask for help when they need it then why are we sitting alone, crying alone and struggling alone? We fear judgement. If our relationships are important, loving and trusting ones we should be able to seek help when we need it without trepidation because we know we will not be judged.
G-Generosity-Assume the most generous things about my words, my intentions and behaviors and if I screw up make a generous assumption and check in with me. If I miss your birthday or I don’t contact you when something important is going on, generously assume that I love and care about you and check in with me. Don’t ignore my calls or texts and wait to bring it up with me two months later in an argument, confront me right away before animosity builds. It sucks when you are always the one to remember everyone’s birthday and then your birthday comes around and it is just another day. No party, no dinner, no to-do. I think we have to generously assume that we are loved and cared for but not everyone puts the same value on birthdays or cerebrating them after a certain age. Realize that we do things for people out of love but should not do them with the expectation of the same thing in return, not only is that not realistic it puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on our relationships. If we are offended or feel slighted it is OK to assume the best and confront the people we love and say “Hey it was my birthday and we always do something fun on yours I had hoped that you would have planned something for me.” That can open the door to a generous discussion not a foolish fight.
If we are going to trust others we need to trust ourselves. We need to hold ourselves to the same standards as we hold the people closest to us, braving it out with us. Braving in relationships is braving a connection with others. Self-trust and self love is equally important because we cannot ask people to give us something that we do not feel that we are worth of receiving. If a man was starving to death but offered me a loaf of bread, instead of thinking he was kind and selfless I would most likely think that there was something wrong with the loaf of bread. I would only have trusted him if he took some of the bread and offered some to me.
I have obviously taken liberties here but most of the above comes straight from Brown’s extensive research. Brené’s BRAVING really helped me to understand trust and how when we break it down we are better able to ask for what we need. It is unfair to tell people that we do not trust them but not be able to tell them why.
If you struggle with trust in your relationships and with yourself like I do I suggest watching Brené’s talk on the Anatomy of Trust or taking her free course at COURAGEworks.
Be W.I.S.E. friends.