“I trust you.”
We know that these are important words that are laced with a lot of emotion. In fact, these exact words can make or break relationships, organisations, countries and sometimes, even governments. As you can tell, the impact of trust (or distrust) can be monumental.
Okay, you get it. These three words can mean a lot but what do they actually mean?
Now that might seem difficult to articulate. Whenever something is difficult to explain, I look at how a child would best describe it. So I went ahead and did just that. I asked a few kids and watched a couple of Youtube videos of children explaining what trust means to them and it’s really cool what amazing insights they had in store for me!
According to most children, trust is about having someone who’s there for you or believes in you; so you end up feeling happier when people trust you, but at the same time, it might feel like you have nobody in your corner if they don’t. No surprises there, I couldn’t have put up a better definition of trust myself.
Another point that some of them mentioned is that although at first it might be hard to trust someone, it only gets easier and easier over time. This ‘difficulty’ (to me) meant that there is an element of risk and vulnerability involved in trusting someone. But is this risk really worth it ? Do you choose to make something you care about vulnerable to the actions of others?
But what happens when there is mistrust? Our attempts to connect or even our relationships often become tangled with fear, suspicion, dread and doubt. So, when we are struggling with trust in our relationships, it’s important to actually talk about it - which might seem difficult to do since trust feels like such an ambiguous entity!
My favourite way to talk about the components of trust and demystify them is using an acronym formed by researcher Brene Brown. It’s called BRAVING.
B (Boundaries): Explaining your do's and don'ts and respecting another person’s do’s and don’ts.
R (Reliability): The assurity that you will back your words with actions. In short, practising what you preach.
A (Accountability): Acknowledging your mistakes with others and taking responsibility for them. This involves apologising and making amends.
V (Vault): Keeping confidential information, confidential no matter what. Assuring anonymity when confidentiality is asked for is not enough. A quick example: when a person shares a story that they said was a secret, it makes it your responsibility to keep that story safe, as if it were in a vault. Being anonymous about the person's identity but sharing the story without permission is a breach of trust.
I (Integrity): Practising your values, choosing what is right over what is convenient, fun or fast, and choosing courage over comfort.
N (Non-Judgemental): Sharing what we feel and asking for what we need without feeling or being criticised or judged.
G (Generosity): Reading kind intent to situations, words and actions. An example of this would be a trusted friend not calling on your birthday knowing that they care about you and that you can share how you felt and hear them out too.