For those of you who have never met me, here I am in all my glory! 🙂
One of my passions is helping others overcome their fears & for that, I use friends like Geoff (also in the picture).
The foundation of our work is trust:
- I trust Geoff.
- Geoff knows me & as far as I can tell from his behaviour, ‘trusts’ me (if such a thing as trust exists for a snake)
- The people we work with trust me/us
That trust is partly there from the beginning but we never take it for granted. We have to work to earn the trust of our clients. We also have to trust them.
Trust is a two-way process.
I have a saying:
‘Trust – easy to spell, easy to say, harder to build, almost impossible to regain once it’s been lost!’
Trust is about knowing each other or knowing sufficient about each other to build a starting point.
If I take a flying lesson I may not personally know the instructor but I do know of their reputation & experience. That is why I choose them & that helps to establish my trust.
But in building everyday friendships or relationships we don’t always have the privilege of knowing a lot about the other person. So we have to start somewhere, usually with exchanging pleasantries & then building on those with a bit about ourselves. We provide building blocks on which & from which our trust can grow.
As our relationship continues we add experience, everyday interactions that help to put mortar between our building blocks, adding strength & stability.
But unless the building blocks & mortar that we provide are based upon truth the structure is shaky & built on weak foundations from the beginning.
If either party discovers that the other has been lying, deceitful or insincere, our relationship will crumble.
The problem is that when this happens, all the building blocks we’ve used are now damaged or have lumps of mortar (baggage) attached to them. So if we rebuild the structure of our relationship there is a lot of cleaning up & repairing that has to take place before we can even start to put the building blocks together.
How can I make sure this doesn’t happen?
I think the truthful answer is that I can’t … I can only ever ensure that my side is solid. I have to trust the other person with their side.
I wonder how many broken or damaged relationships would be so much stronger if mutual trust & truth had been present from the beginning?
When we start to build our relationship we may have little to weaken or damage, but we are building the foundations & if they are defective, the structure can never be strong.
So how can we help our relationships to be stronger & more secure?
Here are a few suggestions that I have learnt (often the hard way) from my own experience:
- Build on the truth: a lie needs a good memory 🙂
- Keep short accounts: if things don’t go right, sort them out sooner rather than later. Give your relationship chance.
- Practice forgiveness: perhaps one of the most difficult things to do is to say sorry & to forgive the ither person. Forgiveness does not take away the wrong that has been done but it does allow you to build a bridge, rather than being stuck at an impasse.
- Practice trust: if you agree on something, do it. This may simply be a course of action or it may include confidentiality. If someone trusts you with their heart or concerns or fears or worries, respect that & avoid passing the information on (unless you have an agreement with them on issues like safety). This too is a hard one.
- Communicate frequently: written is okay but words on a page (email, text or letter) can be pretty easy to misinterpret without tone of voice or expression of face. Speaking on the phone is better but the ideal, wherever possible is face-to-face. Communication tools like Skype have opened-up so many opportunities for face-to-face interaction across the globe. It can also be used across town if meeting up is proving difficult.
- Do not let the sun go down on your anger: if you have a disagreement sort it out as soon as possible (asap) so that it doesn’t have time to fester & grow out of proportion. Again sort out face-to-face wherever possible.
- Be consistent: in simple terms, if you say you’ll do something, do it! Broken promises are a killer to relationships. If you are not confident that you can do something then don’t agree to do it.
- Give each other a bit of slack: mistakes will be made. Acknowledge that, set realistic expectations & review frequently.
- Give yourself some slack: one of the greatest hindrances to a fruitful & healthy relationship is being too hard on ourself. We don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes, draw the wrong conclusions on how the other party will respond, become defensive, afraid or hypersensitive & eventually grow problems where there weren’t even any seeds!
Relationships, confidence & ultimately trust require mutual input & effort. If we can commit to that, there is hope.
If we cannot then I would suggest that we are in for a rocky & unhappy ride.
As always, with a big subject like this it is all-too-easy to appear glib or give the impression that I have everything sorted. Ask my friends; they’ll soon set you straight! 🙂
I share today’s entry with you because it can be a thorn in my flesh: it is something I battle with daily. If I can help you to avoid just some of my pain & struggles then I will have been successful.
Take care until next time …