What is trust?
Trust relates to placing a level of confidence in someone and this can be feeling inward trust or trusting other people.
According to Erik Erikson, trust is the first stage of psycho-social development occurring in a baby. In early life, trust is the antidote to anxiety – trusting parents and caregivers in terms of their ability to provide support, ensures a healthy future in a child.
In this post, I will dwell deeper into the nature of trust, the benefits of having a healthy level of trust and consequences of mistrust. I will also share some of my experiences and struggles relating to trust and the lessons I have learned.
Trusting yourself comes from knowing yourself
The art of trusting yourself relies on knowing yourself. How can you trust your actions and opinions if you are unsure about the values that you hold?
It’s always easier to wear a mask, pretend to like things because other people like them or act in ways that help you to fit in. I have done that, been there.
Pretending to be someone that you are not will not help in the long run, trusting yourself is impossible when you are unaware that you are not being yourself.
Trust and self-esteem
Research shows that there is a connection between trust, self-esteem and social connectedness. Improvements in self-worth tend to be related to a higher level of trust for self and others.
It’s not difficult to guess why this is the case – when you feel worthless, you are isolated. You feel like the whole world is against you. You also stop trusting yourself because ‘you are not good enough’.
On the other hand, when you are in control and feel good about who you are – this is when you feel more connected to the world and yourself. This is when you can trust from the heart.
I wrote about habits for feeling good within yourself, have a read. 😊
Trust and rejection
Forget studying and countless exams in school, for me the most difficult aspect of education was belonging to a friendship group. It involved so much drama, unfortunately friendship groups tend to always follow a “leader”.
I’m sure you have experienced something similar – when the group leader does not like someone, that person becomes rejected. This is the common ingroup versus outgroup mentality. When I was a teenager, most of the people that I thought were friends, rejected me. For this reason, I developed some awful trust issues.
My logic was based on this – “Why should I make new friends? I know people will only reject me. What’s the point?”. If social rejection is something that you can relate to, listen up.
The first step to trusting again relies on changes in your mindset – there is nothing wrong with you. Then you need to understand that everyone is different. Don’t let horrible people ruin the whole humanity for you.
Time always heals the wounds in the heart and the soul, take every opportunity you can to interact with new people, do not isolate yourself.
Trust and empathy
Friendships are reciprocal, this means that if you want wholesome friendships – you should do your part.
If you are a careless, selfish friend of course you are more likely to be rejected. Remember, life does not revolve around your problems.
Be empathetic, help your friends unconditionally. This will make your friends trust you more, and it will also increase your trust for them. The same principle can work for relationships as well.
Trust and expectations
Rejection can hamper the expectations one holds for other people. Inflated expectations are unrealistic and difficult to match.
People are as imperfect as you are, they don’t come from an idealistic mould. Lower your expectations, then you will be less likely to be disappointed when someone does something ‘imperfect’.
Trust and the cruel life
I personally think that being naïve is what makes rejection hurt so much. When it comes to trust, it’s important to realise that life is not covered in roses. It’s not a fairy-tale with cotton candy mountains in the horizon, unicorns and glitter rainbows.
Life is cruel and unpredictable. Take off your rose-tinted glasses and always be prepared for the worst.
This does not mean that you should stop trusting, quite the opposite. Take charge. Be proactive. When you expect something, you are less likely to get hurt.
Trust and personal growth
I used to cling on negative life experiences and despise them. I never wanted to think about what happened in the past and why it could have happened.
For years, I have missed on a wonderful opportunity for personal growth. Life throws many lessons at everyone and it’s crucial to learn from them.
Adopt a Socratic questioning method, when you think about your past experiences. Try to see them in different perspectives.
Basically – you get rejected – you learn from it – and then you move from it. That’s it. When you stop thinking about what happened in the past, it will be easier to trust yourself and others again.
I know that trusting others again is difficult. Trusting yourself and others requires a lot of work, this means that when something does not work out – never give up and remember that everyone is different. People are not out to get you. Work on your sense of self-worth, your expectations and empathy. Like I said, time will heal your wounds – I promise.