Expanding your capacity for trust can be tricky. It can be scary, seem naïve, and feel vulnerable. We often spend a lot of time and energy shielding ourselves from failure, protecting ourselves from being taken advantage of, or worrying that our trust might be violated.
But what are we really protecting ourselves from?
As someone said to me many years ago, “Mike you’re living your life as though you’re trying to survive it. You have to remember…no one ever has.”
It takes courage for us to trust others, ourselves, and life itself. And, as we know, trust is essential to all of our relationships, teams, groups, and communities we’re a part of. It’s also necessary for us to create success and fulfillment at work and in life.
Trust lays the groundwork for mutual respect, safety, and cooperation. When we trust someone, we have faith that they will act in accordance with their beliefs and intentions and with our best interests in mind. This makes us feel safe and at ease when we interact with them and makes it possible for us to collaborate more successfully in pursuit of common objectives.
What if we expanded our capacity for trust? What if we granted trust with more ease, instead of demanding that people (including ourselves) and life earn our trust?
There are many challenges we all face with respect to trust, but there are also specific things we can do to trust ourselves, others, and life more easily.
Trust is a generating energy – when we come from an authentic place of trust, we are more likely to have the types of experiences, outcomes, and relationships we truly want. It’s a leap of faith – just like most important things in life.
The Idea of Basic Trust
The idea of “basic trust” is an overall approach to life in which we believe the world is a safe place for us to exist. This is a simple concept, but not always easy to embrace, especially for some of us more than others.
However, the more we can build up our capacity for basic trust, the more it will impact the way we operate and interact with others.
Although it may not seem like it on the surface, basic trust has more to do with us and less to do with the circumstances, situations, or relationships we are in. It ultimately comes down to trusting ourselves and life itself.
How well do you trust yourself to make good decisions? To be able to navigate the twists and turns of life?
Many people believe that trusting is naive and that vulnerability is weakness. But trust actually leads to strength and vulnerability takes enormous courage. If we expand our ability to trust people, circumstances, and life, we can change the way we operate in the world, our creative processes and relationships, how we resolve conflicts, and more.
So much of what gets in the way of life and work is a lack of trust. So what can we do about it?
Expand Your Capacity to Trust By Telling the Truth
We have to start by telling the truth…
What’s the impact of lack of trust in your life?
We can recognize, acknowledge, and then forgive…which leads to change. We can forgive ourselves for not trusting others, situations, life, and especially not trusting us.
Once we acknowledge the impact of not trusting and forgive ourselves for it, we can start to grant trust more easily, or at least look at how we can start doing this more courageously.
When we come from a place of trust, we’re trusting that it’s going to work out. Things will unfold the way they’re meant to.
It may be easier said than done, but let’s start practicing it. Let’s expand our capacity to trust ourselves, the people around us, and life in general.
How easy or difficult is it for you to trust? Share your thoughts, feelings, and insights about this below.
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This article was originally published in 2017 and updated for 2023.