Breaking it down so we can build it up.
Trust has been a big topic of discussion and contemplation for myself over the past couple years.
It infused and made its way into the majority of my conversations. From the breakdown of a marriage, to discussions with friends, to conversations in the workplace.
Trust is a big word. Monumental really. But, we lack the vocabulary and tools in our toolbox to take it apart and understand it fundamentally. We know when we have it, and we are painfully aware when we lose it, but when it comes to how we build it, or unfortunately destroy it, we remain at a bit of a loss.
Trust is a big word to throw around, especially in heated discussions. But what does it mean to us? What does it mean when we tell someone they have broken our trust, and is there a chance to rebuild it? The answer is usually yes, but to do it, we need to break it apart and understand what we’re really saying when we talk about trust.
We all long for connection and belonging, in fact science has proven that we’re hardwired for it. So where does trust come in?Trust, the foundation for all of our connections; the base our relationships are built on. Click To Tweet
Trust, is the bedrock. It’s the foundation for all of our connections, and the base our relationships are built on.
When we’re clear on what trust means, it makes for a solid foundation, when its definition is an esoteric concept, our foundation is shaky at best.We build and break trust in the small passing, fleeting moments. The ones that seem insignificant. Click To Tweet
We build and break trust in the small passing moments. The ones that seem almost insignificant or fleeting. The little things we do, or don’t do without giving much thought to them.
When we pass a friend who seems troubled or worried and we don’t engage, because we’re running late or tired, or have a had a long day ourselves. When we break a commitment we’ve made to someone else or ourselves, or when we make too many commitments and don’t honor our own needs or the value of our time. These are all little things we do on almost a daily basis without much thought, but each time, we make withdrawals from our trust accounts.
With each small withdrawal our trust balance gets lower and lower, and then when larger events transpire, we can’t recover.
Dr. Brené Brown has a wonderful acronym for breaking down trust and what it means, and more importantly how we build (or sometimes deplete) it.
Because when we trust, we are braving connection with others.
B is for Boundaries. We can only enter into trusting relationships when we respect boundaries, those of others, and our own as well.
R for Reliability. You do what you say you’re going to do. And you show up when you say you’re going to be there.
A is Accountability. You own your part, and I own my. And when we make mistakes, we take accountability for them and apologize (apologize also A).
V, extremely important and often overlooked. The Volt. What I say to you, you hold in confidence, it stays in the volt. That also means you don’t share stories that aren’t yours to share. Meaning we don’t gossip and try and build connection or shared meaning by making common enemies.
I, Integrity. You do what right, instead of what’s easy. You practice your values instead of professing them. You chose courage, you stand up, speak out, and act, even when it’s uncomfortable.
N, for Non-Judgment. You can ask for help, and so can I, without being judged. We can be vulnerable and reach out for support when we need it in a judgment free zone. Because it’s hard to build trust with someone who is never willing to ask for help or show vulnerability. None of us are Superheroes, and when we can come to terms with that, we can let others in.
G, finally, is for Generosity. And when I say generosity, I mean generosity of spirit. When someone falters I can make generous assumptions on their behalf. I can step out of the shitty story I’m telling myself and make generous assumptions on their behalf. About why they weren’t there when they said they would be, or why they said what they may have said. Because when I can step out of my story, and make generous assumptions, I make room for dialogue, but more importantly, truth.
These are the fundamentals of building trust, and when we understand them we can better communicate where our trust accounts are weak and how we strengthen them.
But for a minute, I want to circle back to boundaries, and add a caveat. And that’s Silent Boundaries.
We’re all human, and we’re all here together. We’re made of the same stuff, we breathe the same air, and we share the same home. Our boundaries, on a fundamental level are the same. When we fail to respect fundamental values, because people don’t have the strength to profess them, we cross Silent Boundaries and we break trust.
When we speak of broken trust, what we often mean in a Silent Boundary was crossed. So what are these Silent Boundaries. They’re the ones we hold for ourselves, but violate in relationship with others when they fail to express them. They are part of our basic needs. Respect, love, communion, family, connection.
All the things that are important to us and we want for ourselves but deny others. We all know who the people pleasers in our lives are, the ones who always say “yes.” When we take advantage of that and cross those boundaries because they can’t vocalize them, we break trust. Our relationships become tainted, and ultimately fall apart.
Do we need to get better at expressing and stating our boundaries, absolutely.
But, we also need to get better at not ignoring the silent boundaries that others don’t have the strength or courage to vocalize.
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Sending you all love,