As one of only three things we can control, whom we trust is vitally important for each of us. We are made to live in community and to care for one another. None of us can make it through this life alone; at least not in the sense of truly thriving. We need one another. We need people we can trust.
Victim mentality becomes the perversion of our innate need to be together. Coexistence can easily become co-dependence. Our need for people does not demolish people’s need of us.
As we search the terrain of boundaries, responsibility, and togetherness, trust becomes the lynch pin for healthy communal living.
To Trust or Not To Trust
The question becomes whom exactly can we trust?
Approximately one hundred percent of us have been burned by misplaced or betrayed trust. The result is that we come at trust with a lot of apprehension. We’ve learned our lesson. Trust, then, becomes a sort of test, or a game, or a transaction. We try to take the risk out of trust by forcing our parameters on it.
So, the challenge for us is making a solid choice to take the risk to trust someone. Reading the signs and discerning the fruit as best we can, we must make (and own) a choice to trust others. Nothing is more powerful in human relationships than this choice. From wedding vows being exchanged to a vulnerable moment between friends, intimacy is often established and sealed with a manifestation of trust.
Holding On, Letting Go
One thing that fuels victim mentality is our frustrated obsession with those who have proven themselves untrustworthy. This isn’t altogether crazy because honesty and integrity is not too much to ask of any given human being. However, the world is full of people that cannot be trusted. Rather than bash our heads against the wall, we will do ourselves a favor by letting go.
If we do not put trust in a person, their betrayal is one of common decency rather than something we are allowed to take so personally. We allow ourselves to be held captive by the behavior of others, shackling ourselves to the imperfections around us. Hey, it’s easier than admitting and addressing our own.
If you trust a person, expect to have that trust honored. If you do not trust a person, do not be blown to smithereens when they do something untrustworthy. And, if someone you once trusted betrays that trust, simply move them into the other category.
If there are only three things we can control and trusting others is one of them, we need to be diligent, fair, and intentional about our approach to trust. We should not withhold it when it is due and we should not offer it when it is not. By owning our trust, we manage our expectations of people.
At the end of the day, with all the ups and downs and disappointments, trust is one of the most beautiful elements of human interaction. Nothing is more vulnerable. Nothing is more real. And, therefore, nothing seals the bonds of intimacy like trust. Faith, hope, and belief are all synonyms of trust.
Withholding trust can be as damaging as betrayed trust. In a way, it is betraying trust on the front end.
Trust is powerful. It is the might of relationship. Nothing poisons relationships like mismanaged trust and nothing edifies them like trust done well.
It’s hard. And it hurts. It is a risk, an exercise of vulnerability. But it is worth every hazard. It is the lifeblood of our humanity. Handle it with care. Handle it well.