Most people readily agree that trust is an essential component of healthy relationships. But it can be a difficult concept to grasp, particularly if we’ve had limited exposure to healthy, trusting relationships.
Ideally, trust embodies an optimistic watchfulness, the willingness to gauge trustworthiness on the observation of peoples’ values in action.
If given indiscriminately, it becomes a meaningless platitude, lacking any true relational significance. Likewise, withholding trust unjustifiably reflects a degree of emotional self-involvement that is itself an indication of untrustworthiness. Figuring out how to extend it appropriately both to ourselves and to others, is a lot easier if we understand some of the impediments we face.
Limited exposure to healthy trusting relationships is probably the first and most fundamental challenge to developing trust.
It’s hard to use a word in a sentence if you don’t know what it means. In the same way, it’s hard to master a skill if you have not seen a healthy example of it.
Here are some of the most common misrepresentations of trust:
- Families with poor boundaries or co-depend relational patterns perpetuate the belief that trust is obligatory based on family role or relationship, rather than earned by behavior.
- Within co-dependent relationships, behavior-based trust and personal boundaries may be derided as selfish, aloof, cynical, judgmental, or unloving.
- Breaches of trust may lead to the generalization that all people are untrustworthy.
- Low self-esteem undermines trust. If we don’t value ourselves, it’s much more difficult to believe that anyone else will.
- People pleasing and loneliness make it difficult to acknowledge untrustworthy behavior and more likely that trust is extended indiscriminately. Instead of strengthening the relationship, this often diminishes the significance of it.
Written By: GROW Staff