"Trust me," my car salesman said. My boss said it. My landlord said it. My HMO said it. The telephone salesperson said it, the driveway paver said it, and a "friend" that I didn't know that well said it, too. No problem. Funny thing is, all the people that I would trust with my life or my deepest secret didn't say it. They didn't have to. I already trust them implicitly. Why?
Trust begins with "faith." Trust also is longitudinal. That is, it's based on a timeline. At the beginning there is an attraction of some kind; the new sports car, the nice home, lower monthly health insurance payments, a new looking driveway and the possibility of something good happening with my friend.
The development of trust begins with faith, faith that the other person has our best interests at heart, faith that we can count on them not to deliberately hurt us and faith that they won't violate our values or our expectations of them. The longer the relationship endures and the fewer times that we're let down, or betrayed, the stronger our trust grows.
Trust is one of the first concepts we learn. At birth we're totally at the mercy of our caretakers. If we're lucky we may find that our mother is very loving and warm and intuitively knows exactly how to show respect, demonstrate love and nurture our individual identity. In the perfect world scenario, our father's behavior is complementary to our mother's; he shows us love, nurturance and warmth and we know we are with our best friends and protectors.
We've had trustworthiness demonstrated to us by our parents and we learn to trust easily. We've learned that we are valuable human beings and we've learned to love, respect and trust ourselves. We find ourselves excited by life and relish the joy it provides. We become naturally trusting individuals. But, even those of us brought up in perfect circumstances also require time to pass before we can fully trust; maybe not as much time as those brought up in non-nurturing conditions, but we still must have trustworthiness demonstrated to us by those who would want us to trust them.
So, at birth, what if we run into an untrustworthy mom or set of parents? How do we know, and what can we do? Being born is one of our biggest tasks, if not the biggest. When we arrive, people should be happy to see us. If you notice that they're not so thrilled, make a note of it. It'll probably get worse. If you feel a hurting feeling in the spot that you look down to, it might mean you're hungry and, since you don't know any words, yet, you'll probably cry. If someone yells at you and maybe even hits you, you're probably in for a long childhood with a lot of lessons to be learned. Things will probably get worse before they get better. But, don't despair! From an early lifetime of having to hide your own feelings and pretend you're what others want you to be and not what you want to be, you'll find when you're grown up that you're extra-sensitive to others' moods and, as an added bonus, you'll probably be very good at getting along with jerks ( an asset in the everyday competitive world of work).
Possible differences from being raised in a positive, loving environment, versus a negative, conflictual environment in the development of trust might be that the person raised in the positive environment might detect untrustworthiness quickly and confront the offender while the person raised in the negative environment might not detect theuntrustworthiness (they might think the behavior is normal) and might not confront the offender even when they note the untrustworthiness (which can be beneficial in the world of work).
Trust can only develop in time and requires ongoing demonstrations of trustworthiness. A car salesman doesn't have the time to acquire your trust but can contribute towards it with a fair deal; you aren't in an equal relationship with your boss-the boss can fire you; you might be able to develop a trusting relationship with your landlord but, again, the relationship is not equal-the landlord can raise your rent, kick you out, and still blame you for normal wear and tear after you're out; the HMO may be a good deal until you want to see a provider that isn't a member of the panel or have an emergency out of town; a driveway paver may turn out to be trustworthy but it requires the faith, first, that the driveway will be paved appropriately and the price is reasonable-time will tell; and the relationship with the friend could turn out to be a life-long joy. But remember, enduring trust develops naturally and strengthens over time. "Trust me." ©