By Kathy Ryndak and Gord Riddell
In building any relationship whether it be personal or professional, the one trait that usually sits at the top of the list is that of trust. We look to see if we can trust a person or group and feel safe with them. Without trust we will not be able to grow or stay with a relationship for very long, as we will always have a sense of being on guard. In order to build and maintain any relationship trust must exist.
Trust between individuals is developed by two basic concepts, congruency and consistency.
Congruency can be stated as- Say what you mean and mean what you say. Very often we do not say what we are experiencing in the relationship or in our self. We can also have a tendency to beat around the bush. Many people walk away from meetings or discussions wondering what was really said. Confusion is not a form of communication.
While the Canadian way seems to be to always be polite and never risk offending anyone, it is an encumbrance to direct communication and therefore to the relationship. We can speak directly and openly with an individual without offending them. The more trust exists in the relationship the easier it is to say what you need to say and mean it. Risk speaking your own truth.
Consistency is best described as - If you say you are going to do something, you follow through on it. Another clichd saying is- Walking your talk. It is very hard for us to trust any one who says one thing and then never follows through or does something completely different.
We are all used to peoples' actions not matching their words. As a result we will have more of a tendency to watch someone's actions as opposed to listening to the words. Many people try to talk their way out of a situation but their actions will always tell us the real truth. That is why body language is so important. We can say anything but the body rarely can lie. We have a great deal of difficulty trusting anyone exhibiting this form of behaviour. While many peoples' intentions may be honourable, the lack of follow through will shake our trust in any individual very quickly.
While we all desperately want to trust others that real fact is most of us do not trust ourselves. One of our primary motivators is the need to feel safe. If we feel safe, inside of our comfort zone, we usually function quite well. If our safety, on any level, appears to be threatened, we immediately fall into the fear: will I be able to handle it. Basically we do not trust that we will be able to handle any of the curve balls life has a tendency to throw our way.
We need to build trust in ourselves by learning more about who we are. We build trust in ourselves using the same concepts from trusting others, congruency and consistency.
Congruency with our self includes being honest within our self about what we are feeling, what we are experiencing, what we want to experience and what we need to do about it. We can pretend everything is okay for only so long. Be direct with your self but be kind to your self. Negative self talk only blocks us from enjoying ourselves and keeps us feeling uncertain about who are and what our own strengths are.
Consistency with our self means following through on what we tell our self. How often do you tell your self one thing and then do something else. Starting an exercise program, eating better, upgrading your skills, etc. A part of us registers our inner dialogues (or monologue as the case may be) and is then thrown off by the sudden change in plans. Even simple things like telling your self you will go home and cook a good meal only to arrive home, too tired to prepare anything and a pizza is on the way. Even the simplest of tasks when followed through to completion gives your inner you a very strong positive message.
The more you can trust your self to take care of your self, no matter what, will make trusting others a breeze. Instead of being focused on whether the other person is trustworthy, we want to focus on developing our own inner sense of trust. That inner sense empowers us by letting us know that whatever happens we will be okay. Our sense of safety stops being determined by outside events and is better linked to our own strengths and weaknesses.
If you do not truly trust yourself then trusting others will always be an issue. Even if the other person has proven themselves to be trustworthy, we will still struggle with trusting them. As with many areas of awareness trust begins on the inside.