Firm reliance on the integrity or ability of a person or a thing; the condition and obligation of having confidence placed in one; reliance on something in the future; hope; to believe. These are some of the definitions found in the dictionary for the word trust. This is a very profound concept and one that when breached, can often lead to the disintegration of relationships. Especially if the circumstances involve integrity, which, by definition, is the “steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code”. This could apply to any relationship, including those involving family members, friends, coworkers or acquaintances. Lack of trust so often leads to destruction, not just because of betrayals, but because it is so difficult to regain. It is the foundation upon which successful relationships are built in the first place. They grow from that premise and allow those involved to grow and to be whole, authentic individuals who want to share their thoughts and feelings with one another without the worry that they will be rejected.
According to Stephen Covey, “trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people. But it takes time and patience…” And this requires constant work. He uses the metaphor of an “Emotional Bank Account…that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship…through deposits of “courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping commitments” and if the reserve is high enough, “communication is instant, easy and effective…It can even weather mistakes.” But withdrawing from the bank account too often without making deposits erodes trust and relationships. And it goes both ways in that we must acknowledge other people’s bank accounts. In other words, we must not only earn trust but we must place it in others. We can’t expect someone to trust us if we don’t trust them. And sometimes, a lack of trust in others is a projection of how we feel about ourselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Self-trust is the first secret of success.” As with anything else, we must trust ourselves first. We must have faith that our thoughts and feelings are valid and that we can and will do the right thing. I believe to some extent, this comes from having such things as love, faith, belief, patience, care and respect for ourselves. When we achieve these strengths in our characters, only then can we begin to build solid and lasting relationships that stay strong through trust.