A Question of Trust

“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” ~Anonymous

broken-trust

I don’t trust very many people, and even the ones I do trust I don’t trust completely. I call that kind of trust “trusting with your life” trust, and that’s reserved for less than a handful of people, which is how it should be. Usually, though, I trust some people enough to handle things for me when I can’t, to do their part in joint projects, and/or to watch my children for small periods of time.

But I don’t trust people to keep my confidences. I’ve been burned way too often by these “secret keepers” who don’t keep the secrets I’ve entrusted them with, so I just don’t do it anymore. Which is sad but true. Trust is a fragile system of checks and balances, like a giant Jenga tower that, no matter how strong it seems, is always seconds away from being utterly destroyed. Then what’s left in its wake?

Can you trust others with your secrets?

I don’t trust very many people because I don’t like always being seconds away from utter destruction. And it’s pretty obvious to me that others aren’t as trusting as they used to be either. Perhaps it’s the climate we live in now, where trust often gets betrayed, and those who trust are seen as naive and less worldly wise. I mean, come on.

Is it easier or harder to trust people when you first meet them? How long does it take for you to become paranoid of even your friends the second they post anything on social media that clashes with your views? Can you trust others with your secrets, or do you become a huge ball of stress keeping them all to yourself?

Best Friend Quotes (3)When you’ve been burned before it’s easy to keep others out, to avoid trusting people who aren’t you, to put a moratorium on trust just like you might on anything else that you want to keep far away from you. I know. Believe me. But I’m trying not to live like that anymore, even in a world where too many times trust is still betrayed, where you can’t trust everyone.

Because I can’t take the stress anymore. I can’t handle the paranoia that comes with not trusting anyone. I need to feel like there are people out there who are worthy of trust, who I can open up to, who I can be myself with instead of keeping every single thing close to the vest.

But trusting others is an exercise in patience. It could mean being let down but not letting that deter us from trusting again. It means being vulnerable, because that’s what trust ultimately is, our ability to be vulnerable to others, which is why it’s so difficult in the first place.

And trust is a two-way street. We have to also be willing to be there for others, to accept that awesome responsibility and not betray the trust of those who confide in us. We have to hold ourselves accountable as trust keepers, and in doing so we help renew the cycle of trust, and the faith of others in us, and in trust overall.

It’s such a precious resource we’ve lost. Let’s find our way back to it again. Even if it takes baby steps to get there.

Sam

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