Sunday, 3 July 2011

That thing called "Trust"

“I trust you” … this is a common sentence in many of our everyday dealings. Trusting is a very natural form of bonding between members of a society, and it’s a beautiful feeling indeed, to trust, and to be trusted. But trusting effects an individual in many ways and it is, I feel, useful to understand the consequences of trusting someone, or being trusted by someone. Also trust is a means to achieve better social credibility and surprisingly also a medium to realize oneself as we will see further down the essay.

So, what is trust? It is hard to define, and has many definitions to it. But in a broad sense, “trust” encompasses 2 kinds of beliefs - a belief that the trusted will act the way the trustee expected him to, or a belief that that the trusted will not act in a way unacceptable to the trustee. Simple enough? The consequences of trusting in a social setup can be exceedingly complex, though. In order that we remain happy and well connected in the society, it is important to use capability to trust others wisely and well. In this article I will put up certain implications and effects of trusting, which I have experienced personally, and believe have a positive impact.

The first question that comes to mind is - why trust someone at all? Well, life is full of risks, and risk breeds fear. Fear adds inhibition, which leads to unproductivity. Trusting wards of fear, fills one with confidence to take risks, tackle problems, and face life. Besides, trust triggers affection and love, grants company, creates a sense of self-identity, and has many other advantages. But ironically, trusting itself is a risky job, because it makes one vulnerable. It raises levels of expectation, which often hurts people, which in turn causes trouble in relationships.

To trust someone, you need to grant vulnerability or weakness to that person. There is an inherent risk involved – he may misuse it, but then that is what you expect him not to do. And granting vulnerability also makes you realize yourself better. Each time you trust someone with your weakness, you realize that it is your weakness, and unconsciously you take precautions to protect your interests, which strengthen your personality. Thus we have the “increased confidence” effect of trust. Try it yourself. Once you trust someone with a weakness of yours, you will be much more comfortable “being yourself” with that person, than with others. In this way, you can reinforce your personality and your self by trusting others.

As you trust a person with more and more of your vulnerabilities, your intimacy with that person increases, and so does your comfort level. This is typically the best part of a relationship. But there is one problem with trust – it has a “corruptive” effect. Suppose a person whom you trust a lot behaves in a way you don’t warrant. The trust in that case is broken. It hurts you, and simultaneously reduces your trust in all other kinds situations. With a couple of other such incidences, your capability to trust people will have been drastically reduced, and you find it difficult to trust not just the person who broke your trust, but anyone in general. This is the problem why most of the breakups happen. And after trust is broken once you become more difficult to trust again. So, it is essential to understand how trust is “corruptive” and trust people wisely.

There is no rule “written” anywhere that a person who has accepted and understood 100 feelings of yours will also advocate the 101st feeling. Differences are always there, waiting to creep in. How then can you manage to still maintain the trust?

Every one has his/her own defense mechanism. By granting vulnerability gradually, and by avoiding topics where you are not understood or opposed, and reducing expectation levels from others, granting them space and being assertive of your own, trust can be kept alive.

It is beautiful to be able to trust someone. If you notice that someone has broken your trust, and then you feel miserable, and wish to trust no one else, it is due to the corruptive effect of trust. Every one seeks partnership, intimacy, and love. Everyone responds favorably to these, and they will surely reflect it back upon you. Grant vulnerability, wisely, but freely, and harness your expectation levels, to get a wonderful perspective at the world around you – full of caring friends and trusted acquaintances. Build up your relations gradually so, you get to know the person well before trusting him/her with personal information. Otherwise, Happy trusting!

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