Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trust

Trust is one of the most commonly used words in our lives today. Trusting members of your family, friends, partners, God, own thoughts, and what not. The use of the word "trust" borders on sociological cliche. Heard the phrase, "you betrayed my trust"? Either someone said that to you, or you did to someone else! I know I did a while ago.

What is our fascination with trust? Why do we trust people, and why do we become ferocious when someone "betrays" our trust?

This makes me wonder if all we do is expect each other to stick to certain unwritten, unsigned contractual obligations. I find that a bit sad, and even worse when I realize that I do that too! Let me begin the "analysis", by examining why we start using that word in the first place.

Perhaps it begins with simple secrets as kids, where we want to play a prank on a third kid, and make plans in secret with a second kid. Assuming that kid holds on to the secret and we execute the prank successfully, we have just established a sense of trust with the second kid. Slowly, after we have executed numerous such pranks, and the second kid has been faithful enough, we get a good feeling about the kid, and begin to share more and that kid would do the same. Thus begins the process of information sharing.

Some people say that sharing information is one of the most important aspects of creating strong social bonds.  We know each others' secrets and some of the most intimate details of our lives, and that brings people closer. Everything about information sharing is awesome, unless we share something about a thing we are not happy about, or would feel embarrassed about, or that could put a lot of other things in our lives at stake. Now, we "need" the person (who we shared this information with) to be trustworthy and faithful to us. If all goes well, the secret will be safe and everything goes on as usual. If, however, the said person does not remain faithful, all hell breaks lose - in our minds, and potentially in our lives and careers. We try to cover it up, we try to recover from whatever happens - we succeed most of the times, and some other times, we fail miserably.

There are and can be instances when we feel as though everything around us, as we know it, is crumbling and we aren't able to do anything about it. Can you think of any situation in your own life that seems comparable to this? Keep that in mind, we will come back to that later.

Now, let's look back - why did we end up feeling so desperate? And no, I am not asking about your friend / colleague / family member / anyone betraying your trust. I am talking about something that happened (possibly) a bit before that. We might have thought we did something embarrassing. We might have thought we needed someone to share our information with. We might just have needed someone to chat with. We might have thought in so many other ways.

So, why did we feel the need for trust? Perhaps we were not honest about our actions; perhaps we have been such hypocrites that we criticize someone behind them while praising them in their presence; and perhaps we expect people to do something for us, given that we might have done so many things for them.

Whatever I try to be writing about these days seems to be bringing me back to honesty and expectations.

Here we go again - if we were honest about our opinions, about our actions, would we expect someone to keep our actions / opinions a secret? No. Would we feel the need to trust someone so much that our lives depend on it? No. Would we, then, need to expect people to behave in a certain way that is beneficial for us? No.

We could always argue that we need things like trust, confidence, etc. in companies for the trade secrets and other things. I know. I understand. But, I am talking about our personal lives. When we mix our trust and confidence issues from our places of work in our personal lives, there is a lot of trouble we can get into. Better avoid that.

If we pursue the truth, be honest about what we do, we will not find the need for someone to protect our secrets. We will then not expect someone else to help us live peacefully and help us keep our conscience clean.

When we begin to do things in our personal lives without feeling obligated to keep secrets and to adhere to rules we don't know fully about, we open the doors for such messes. I am trying to act honest and remain truthful - even though it doesn't always help, it does most of the time. At least, I don't need to lie to my own conscience and the guide inside me!

Now, look back at the situation you thought about that made you feel miserable when someone betrayed your trust. Think back at why you were in that situation, what you had done, what the other person had done. Think about why you felt that the said person betrayed you. Think about what you would have done better - and no, I am not talking about dealing with the person in a different way. I am talking about what you would have done to avoid the situation in the first place. Think about how you being truthful and honest, and accepting your actions would have changed how you felt. This is the first place you begin to let go of the things in the past, learn from them, and be better prepared for the future.

Cheers!



   

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