Some people respond to the question by trusting people almost completely and backing off only when they get hurt. Others do the opposite, witholding trust until someone has jumped through enough hoops to prove themselves. Obviously, neither approach works.
In dealing with the question of trust, the most important thing to remember is that trust is not an all or nothing proposition. It is possible to trust a person in some areas or with some responsibilities but not in other areas. So how do you know what those areas are and to what degree you can trust a person in any context? It comes down to three factors.
3 Trust Factors: Ability, Integrity, Benevolence.
Research shows that trust is made up of three different components; ability, integrity and benevolence.
Ability–refers to a person’s capacity for doing what they say they are going to do. To what degree does a person only promise what they are actually capable of doing? Does that person actually follow through on promises or does that person say all the right thing in the moment but then fail to show up later? The answer to questions like these will either support or undermine trust that is related to ability.
Benevolence–refers to the degree to which the person you want to trust has shown you that he or she is willing to work for your good especially when it has required some sacrifice or inconvenience on his or her part. A person who is willing to put themselves out for your sake is more worth of your trust than someone who isn’t.
Evaluating a person’s ability, integrity, and benevolence enables you to have a clearer sense of how much you can trust someone, in what contexts, and to what degree. It can also give you a guide for dealing with those you have a hard time trusting by helping you highlight why and what might be done to resolve those obstacles to trust.
If you would like help cultivating greater trust in your marriage, family, or personal life, contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute to learn about working with a faithful, professional Catholic counselor through our Catholic tele-counseling practice. Visit us online or call 740-266-6461 to make an appointment.