Trust is one of the most important things to bring out honesty in people. We tell the truth to those we trust most. If parents and caregivers can be safe and help children develop trust, the chances are that they will grow up to be honest adults. And the best way to develop trust is to be honest and genuinely care! Children are very good at trusting because they have yet to discover how deceiving adults can be. They are even naïve and immature in their trust, however, we have much to learn from them, because in reality the healthy way to live among others is to trust until you have a reason not to, and not the other way around! Individuals who suffer traumatic experiences or are overly criticized as children, begin to distrust everyone! They learn to put-up a wall and defend themselves at all costs, including the cost of being dishonest. Society has been infusing fear on humans since the beginning of time. The excessive divisive nature and fear of our differences is only making it harder to trust. Today we have to worry about so many catastrophes and crimes that it has taken a toll on how much we can trust each other. People look at each other on the streets and rarely say hi. People are not interested in meeting strangers and getting to know them, unless it is at some friends gatherings and places where you can be sure to be safe. Some caution is necessary in today’s world; however, we need to strengthen our trust values and tolerance for diversity if we want to survive as a global society.
So, as much as it is sad to have to do all this new world caution drills and lock downs in our schools and workplaces, while teaching our children to not trust when it is unsafe, we must not forget to teach our children to always trust when it is safe! Some would argue that the world is less safe now and we need to keep on eye on our backs at all times, but I am an optimist and believer in the good nature of humans. I believe we can help our society be safe and trust if we can do it at home and in our immediate surroundings. If we all do this, eventually this will be the way of life. I will not dismiss the fact that in some unsafe countries, at this time, it is not possible to accomplish this. But in most developed countries with democracy and some level of freedom, it is.
How do we really apply the wisdom of trust until you have a reason not to? We need to have the courage to take a good look at our daily activities, statements and values to see if we are really honest about trusting others. Simple life tasks can give us a clue about our ability to trust. Can we trust that our partner can shower our kid and not go there to double check and correct them? Can we trust that our friend loves us even though they forgot to call us or invite us for a party? Can we trust that our partner is going to do exactly what they say when they call afterhours to say they will be late for dinner? Can we trust that a friend is just trying to help instead of assuming they want something in return? Can we trust that our partner wants us and loves us if they say they are tired and do not want to talk or be intimate?
Every single moment of the day we are faced with the choice to trust what is right in front of us, and more often than not, we fear that trust. How can we not have anxiety and feel depressed? It is inevitable. Some anxiety and depressive symptoms are a normal byproduct of our lack of trust in life! Because times have changed and we have mistrust and fear spreading all over the world, we are loose our genuine and spontaneous capacity to trust. And instead give more space to the careful safe trust that protects us from harm (to some degree). Of course it is good to be protected when a real threat is eminent, but in reality, the incidence of those real threats in some developed societies is very small and unfortunately, the large majority of our actions is based on the illusory fear of an illusory threat!
Most of us fear things that are only in our head due to erroneous beliefs placed in our lives by parents, caregivers, society and the global culture of fear. Most thoughts that feed into our lack of trust are based on false statements learned in negative situations that were badly handled or not explained properly. So the key to reverting this in our homes and begin to heal is to use the mantra trust until you have a reason not to! We teach this concept of trust to our kindergarteners! How come as adults we forget that this is the best way! We need to try to tell ourselves the same we tell our children- to value and respect everyone and always approach people in loving and caring ways. We need to remember that being nice and caring are the norm and not being defensive or rude. Furthermore, if we really want to heal trust in our homes, we have to be sincerely honest at all times! We are not perfect and nobody is. We just need to recognize moments of disharmony within ourselves and ask for help. Being there for one another when that happens can begin to open doors for deeper intimacy and trust.