All of us, at one stage or other, have experienced a situation in which we have found ourself not trusting another person. This could have been someone we have known for a while, built that trust, and because of some reason, trust was lost.
Unfortunately though, occasionally not trusting someone else also includes those we have known for a while. Doubts begin to creep into our thinking about their motivation and behaviour, and these can begin to have a major impact on the relationship, for our behaviour in relation to the other person will begin to be different. This is what’s happening for me right now.
It is interesting to note that when we find ourself not being comfortable with another person, regardless of the circumstances, we are not always able to articulate what this discomfort is about. What we experience is a strong gut feeling or hunch, which we are not able to explain. You will find your self not acting “normally” and you feel out of place. The way you talk, act, think will be different.
Not trusting someone means that we do not have full confidence in them and consequently we are not interested in pursuing a relationship with them. anymore or further. Even if the circumstances dictate we need to spend some time in their company, we might find ourselves very wary of them and limit how we engage with them.
So far the emphasis has been on the negative side of trust, or to be more precise, lack of trust. But what about when we do trust people? What happens to us when we trust people and what is different for us when we don’t trust people?
It would seem that when we trust someone, be it personally and/or professionally, we are willing to enter into a relationship with them. In a trusting relationship we are willing to conduct ourselves differently, engage in a wider range of actions, and also to be more open to a variety of experiences.
The degree to which we trust someone has a major bearing on the type and relationship we will form with them. Relationships are a fundamental part of our existence. In fact, a substantial part of our existence can be thought of as co-existence, as we live and work together with a range of people.
Much of our existence, and the quality of our living, is associated with the quality of our relationships. We exist within a network of relationships, and the quality of these relationships determines the sense of satisfaction, achievement, enjoyment and fulfilment we assess ourself to be experiencing. Much of meaning in life is bound up with our relationships and the associated experiences.
We learn through our experiences in both positive and negative relationships. Positive relationships provide much of what is important for us to have a meaningful existence, They provide the context to have conversations, and it is through conversations that we are able to accomplish important things, and to grow and learn together
Much of our suffering – be it individually, as a family, through work, or in general – comes from not having the relationships and conversations which are vital for us, and indeed, which we yearn for. Unfortunately, because of previous experiences, some people find it more difficult than others to develop trusting relationships.
Trust enables relationships to develop and flourish. When trust erodes, the relationship deteriorates. Doubts, which can creep into our thinking about the behaviour of the other person, can act like a poison and a cancer, quickly spreading to sabotage the relationship. Mistrust has a devastating impact on relationships and on the types and quality of conversations that will occur.
While trust is an indispensable component of positive and productive relationships, unfortunately it is something that can all too easily be taken for granted. We may only become aware of its importance when we feel trust has been broken.