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3 Lessons on Creating Trust

Trust is to human relationships what faith is to gospel living. It is the beginning place, the foundation upon which more can be built. Where trust is, love can flourish. ~Barbara Smith

My husband and I have been considering buying a house but knew we had some hurdles that might make it unlikely. We contacted a loan officer who worked with us and gave us a positive opinion. We were absolutely thrilled and started looking at homes.

It turned out, however, that he’d processed some incorrect information and we might not be able to get a loan this year after all.

To say we were bummed out would be an understatement. Both of us tried to see the positive side but couldn’t seem to shake our disappointment.

Neither of us wanted to talk about it, but finally I brought it up.

“Maybe this is exactly what’s supposed to be happening to us right now. Remember how we didn’t get the first house we wanted to rent? And we ended up with this killer house on a dead-end street next to the ocean for less money? That ended well, right?”

Opportunities for Trust

My husband agreed and we started talking about our Plan B. I agreed to postpone my overseas vacation until next year when we’d likely be able to buy. He decided that he didn’t need to buy a new mountain bike this year. We’d make it happen — it just might take a little longer.

Later that day I got an email from our loan officer. He did a little digging and it turned out there was a way for us to buy a house this year!

Life is full of opportunities to trust. Whether it’s trusting the universe, trusting yourself or trusting others, without trust life can seem very unpredictable, scary or just unfair.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I had a problem with trust. I’d withhold it from those who deserved it (including myself) and give it freely to those who had never earned it. Over these years I’ve worked hard to change that and have a few takeaways I’d like to share.

You Are The First Person Who Deserves Your Trust

Maybe you don’t agree with this. Perhaps you think you’ve messed up too many times or maybe you’ve been told you’re untrustworthy. Lord knows that was the case with me.

The thing to remember is that you’ve got an opportunity to prove yourself every single day as long as you give yourself a chance. Too many people, myself included, believe they’re incapable of making the right decisions, choosing the right path.

But as a good friend of mine once said, “You’re exactly where you need to be right now.”

All of your choices up to now were made with the information you had then. Mistakes are judgments applied in hindsight. Open your mind to trust.

If you have one mantra during this time, it should be I trust myself. Start small. I trust myself to chop these vegetables. I trust myself select the right water temperature in my shower.

It might seem silly, but these small blocks help you build up to the bigger ones — interviewing for that dream job, painting your masterpiece, backpacking across Europe.

I would’ve never been able to start my business without trusting myself, and that started with a knowledge that I work hard. I can trust myself to do that.

It Takes Time to Build Trust

Because you’ve got to start small with trust, it usually doesn’t happen all in a week or even a month. It took years to be able to trust myself. Some of that was because it was connected to some basic beliefs I had about myself.

Another big reason is because trust is based on showing, not telling. So while your mantra should be I trust myself, remember you’ve got to have a reason to trust yourself. And the small things may come easy: grocery shopping, paying your bills, working out.

The bigger things don’t happen as often. You’re probably not tempted to embezzle from your company or cheat on your spouse every day.

When you choose to take the high road, it will definitely feel good and reinforce your trust in yourself, but it generally takes longer to develop.

This is probably for good reason. It takes a while to process something of that caliber. Situations like that often come with other trauma or drama that can take a lot out of you. It might take months before you can pat yourself on the back and draw on that experience in a positive way.

But once you’ve gotten past that, you know you’re good. I can think back on ways I’ve been really tempted and took the high road — I know that while it was hard to refuse, it just gets easier, because I trust myself to make the right choice.

Trust Begets Trust Begets Trust

An old housemate of mine told me how her girlfriend would tell her “I trust you,” whenever they went out without each other. She said it made her feel secure and worry less about the relationship.

You’ve probably heard someone say, “How can you love someone else if you can’t love yourself?” The same is true about trust, which is why I made my point above. But once you’ve started to trust yourself, it becomes a domino effect — a cycle.

Trust leaks into the way you live your life. So if you can trust yourself, you’re more likely to trust other people. And when you trust other people, they’re more likely to trust you.

And when you’re all trusting each other, you stop trying to control everything and everyone and start trusting the universe.

It’s sort of like the rule of threes: Whatever you give comes back to you three times. Peace, harmony and light seem to come easily when you trust that everything unfolds exactly the way it’s supposed to.

I’m not suggesting you sit idly by while life happens; you can still make goals and strive! Just add trust to your repertoire.

What have you learned about trust? Tell us in the comments!

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About the author

Rebecca is a fierce optimist who believes in the power of making life happen. Magic and creativity are her latest pursuits, along with exploring her new home, Germany. Read her blog, follow her on Facebook and Twitter for her latest enthusiastic (and sometimes witty) remarks. Check out her new book, Change is Easy & Other Novel Concepts: Short Essays on Changing Your Life, One Step at a Time.

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16 thoughts on 3 Lessons on Creating Trust

  1. Emma

    I trust myself and I will never betray my self. But trusting others is very difficult especially when they always find a way to screw you over.

    • Hey Emma. Glad to hear you trust yourself but so sad to hear that your experience with others has been less than aces :( I think we all go through experiences in life where we’re learning and even the people that treat us terribly have something to teach us. In fact, probably the most important lessons come from the real jerks. Hang in there and try to keep an open heart and mind. The right people are out there. Big hugs!

  2. Chandra Lawrie

    What a great read for me today! I have been really trying to grow personally lately. A friend gave me a book called Shortcuts to Mindfulness by Catherine Auman, is her site. It’s a great read to get you centered when you need it.

    • Hey Chandra! Thanks for the comment. I think mindfulness is a great pursuit :) Like Sandy said, I also think self-trust, self-acceptance and compassion for ourselves is also key to living a happy, centered life. Hugs!

  3. Great post Rebecca. I agree that we are each the first person who deserves our trust. Every day is a fresh start to ask forgiveness, let go of the past, and begin again. For me, self-compassion is one of the keys to living a successful life.

  4. I have to say, I agreed with everything you wrote til one part. If the person I was with told me that they trusted me, I’d be confused…. because, I and many other people, have no business being with someone for whom respect and trust aren’t already there to begin with. It isn’t some litany that the other person is supposed to say to you when they leave the house to do something separate, just as hearing the words, “I love you” are great… but they lose a lot of power when they’re just bandied about. I trust you is a given in any relationship or that person is just not likely the sort you should keep close to you in any case.

    • Hey Sara!Like i said to G, I think we all have had different experiences so I don’t expect everything I write to resonate with everyone. I agree with you that words can lose a lot of power if they’re said all the time. But some words do need to be said, I think. And again, all of us have lived in different ways so not everyone has relationships where they trust someone implicitly from the beginning. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Manoj

    Great Thinking and Very Well Said Rebecca.

  6. G Jones

    Trust has to be earned and it is measured by actions not words

    • I think different people have different perspectives on this. Like Sara said, she thinks trust is implied or there at the beginning of a relationship. We all have had different experiences so it’s hard to say something in a blanket way, but I agree with you that trust is something we earn and work toward through actions and reminders.

  7. Thank you for this! We are raised, I believe, to try to control outcomes. This often leads to struggle, frustration and self-judgment when we “fail”. There is so much creative freedom in knowing that we are always co-creating with the divine (however one defines this). We are given the experiences we need to grow. We set our intention, then allow the opportunities to show themselves to us. Most of all, we trust this process of co-creation, knowing that everything is for our highest good if we believe it to be, and embrace the growth along the way.

    • Thanks for your comment Chris! I agree as well that we’re raised to control everything, even if we are raised to believe in divine life. It’s like we think we’ve got a remote control for our lives ;) Letting go and trusting is about co-creation. I like that word :)

  8. For me trust is very important in every relationship no matter what type it may be. I do agree that in order to trust others you must trust yourself. One also needs to gain trust. It is not easily given.

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