Building Trust In Relationships

A Guide To Building Trust In Relationships

We know that "I trust you" are powerful words, carrying immense weight in relationships, organizations, and even countries. It's clear that trust, or its absence, can have a monumental impact.

So, you get it. These three words hold significant meaning, but what exactly do they mean?

Understanding trust can be challenging to articulate. When something feels complex, I often find clarity in the simplest explanations. So, I decided to ask children and watch videos of them explaining trust in their own words. Here's what I learned from kids on how to build trust in relationships.

According to most kids, trust is about having someone who's there for you, who believes in you. When people trust you, you feel happy and supported. On the flip side, feeling untrusted can make you feel alone and vulnerable. Isn't that something? It's like they perfectly captured the essence of trust in their own way.

Another interesting point the children mentioned is that while trusting someone might be difficult initially, it becomes easier with time. This "difficulty" suggests an element of risk and vulnerability involved in trusting someone. We essentially make ourselves somewhat vulnerable by choosing to trust another with something we care about. But is this risk worth it?

How to Build Trust in Relationships?

When mistrust creeps in, attempts to connect and build healthy relationships become tangled with fear, suspicion, and doubt. Therefore, communicating openly becomes crucial, even though trust itself might feel like an intangible concept.

To help us understand and navigate the components of trust, researcher Brené Brown developed a helpful acronym called BRAVING:

B (Boundaries): Clearly communicate your "do's and don'ts" and respect the boundaries others set as well.
R (Reliability): Be someone who consistently backs their words with actions. In simpler terms, practice what you preach.
A (Accountability): Acknowledge your mistakes and take responsibility for them. This includes sincere apologies and efforts to make amends.
V (Vault): Keep confidential information confidential, no matter what. Remember, anonymity isn't enough. If someone shares a secret with you, it becomes your responsibility to keep it safe, like a treasured item in a vault. Sharing their story anonymously, even without revealing their identity, breaches trust.
I (Integrity): Live by your values, choosing what's right over what's convenient, fun, or easy. Prioritize courage over comfort.
N (Non-judgmental): Create a safe space for open communication by sharing your feelings and needs without fear of judgment or criticism.
G (Generosity): Assume good intentions behind others' words and actions. For example, a trusted friend might not call on your birthday, knowing their care isn't contingent on that action. They are open to hearing your feelings and being there for you regardless.

By understanding the core elements of trust and actively practicing BRAVING, we can build stronger, more fulfilling relationships in all aspects of life and how to build trust in relationships. Remember, trust is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, effort, and a willingness to be vulnerable. But the rewards of genuine connection and mutual respect are well worth the investment.

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Zahra Diwan

Zahra has over 4 years of experience working with clients within the therapeutic framework. She works extensively with young adults, and maintains a diary on Things That Help Us which is collation of insights she gains in therapy.

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