Trust

15 Aug

There’s no issue so fundamental to our well-being than a sense of trust. Trust is our internal radar screen letting us know when we can expect things to be safe. With a lack of trust whole systems break down, in fact, there’s a credible bit of scholarly writing that claims that recessions start due to a breakdown of trust.

A lack of trust can make the world a frightening place to live. When our brains flag someone as not to be trusted they are on constant scan, where every inconsistency blares out, confirming our beliefs. Many times this is a shame, because honestly, most people are inconsistent, not out of any bad intent, but because humans are extremely complex and have different reactions to different things at different times. Ever know something who holds someone in ill intent and sees only the flaws and flubs and none of the good in another?

A fallacy is that trust can be earned. It’s a sort of fallacy anyway, most of the time people trust people for all sorts of reasons that have little to do with facts. Sometimes it’s just convenient, other times trust is based on similarity, or a mood, or reputation, or a million other whims.

My personal goal, which I haven’t reached yet, is to have a sort of general trust for the world and the individuals in it, that they have good intent until proven otherwise. Basically, I believe, most people do not wish to harm others. Now I’m certainly not claiming that all people are harmless, but in everyday situations I find mostly this to be true.

How hard it is to keep this ideal though! It’s so easy to trigger my defensive side where I don’t take people’s words at face value and think they’re up to something. Usually they aren’t. What I’m trying to do is coax that still small voice to remind me that probably people mean well after all even if I don’t understand it at this moment.

When I can have that kind of control I think my world will be a much brighter place. I’m willing to risk the few who are actively harmful to give the many who aren’t a chance.

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