Relationships - The indispensable glue
by Anita Anand
“When I’m trusting and being my own self... everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.”
- Shakti Gawain, writer and healer
Do you trust yourself? Do you trust your family, community, religious and political leaders? Do you trust the institutions that you are part of or interact with – your job, your boss, business partner, your colleagues and subordinates?
Stephen MR Covey, author of The Speed of Trust, says: There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organisation, nation, economy and civilisation throughout the world – one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.
On the other hand, says Covey, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet, it is the least understood, most neglected and most underestimated possibility of our time.
That one thing is trust.
Simply put, trust means confidence. The opposite of trust – distrust – is suspicion. When you trust people you have confidence in them – in their integrity and abilities. When you distrust them you are suspicious of their integrity, agenda, capabilities and their track record.
Covey developed the “5 Waves of Trust” model or a ‘ripple effect’ which illustrates the interdependent nature of trust. The five waves – from the inside to the outside are:
• Self-trust: This is the confidence we have in ourselves – the ability to set and achieve goals, to keep commitments, to ‘walk our talk’ and to inspire trust in others. The key principle here is credibility
• Relationship trust: This is about establishing and increasing the trust accounts we have with others – and the key principle here is consistent behaviour
• Organisational trust: This is about how leaders in organisations establish trust with others. The key principle here is alignment or leaders creating systems, structures and symbols that create and promote trust
• Market trust: This is the level at which almost everyone clearly understands the impact of trust. The principle here is reputation – the company (and personal) brand which reflects the trust customers, investors and others in the marketplace have in it
• Societal trust: This is about creating value for others and society at large and the principle underlying this wave is contribution – with which we counteract suspicion, cynicism and low trust in our society. And, we inspire others to create value and contribute as well
Self-acceptance through an active programme
of self-affirmation and self-love is a key to the
development of trust
When you trust people you have confidence
in them - in their integrity and abilities Trust in relationships
In all of these kinds of trusts, interpersonal relationships are basic and important. An interpersonal relationship is a relatively long-term association between two or more people. This may be based on emotions like love and liking, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. These associations take place in a great variety of contexts, such as family, friends, marriage, acquaintances, work, clubs, neighbourhoods, and religious institutions. They may be regulated by law, custom, or mutual agreement, and are the basis of social groups and society as a whole. Although humans are fundamentally social creatures, interpersonal relationships are not always healthy. Examples of unhealthy relationships include abusive relationships and co-dependence.
Finally, groups or even nations may have relations with each other, though this is a much broader domain than that covered under the topic of interpersonal relationships. Most scholarly work on relationships focuses on romantic partners in pairs. These intimate relationships are, however, only a small subset of interpersonal relationships.
All relationships involve some level of interdependence. People in a relationship tend to influence each other, share their thoughts and feelings, and engage in activities together. Because of this interdependence, anything that changes or impacts one member of the relationship will have some level of impact on the other member.
We are all born learning to trust. As children we are naive, innocent, vulnerable and gullible. Through life experiences many of us become less trusting – sometimes with good reason. But, whatever our situation, we can choose to restore our need to trust. The key lies in our ability to forgive, and in our ability to balance trust with analysis and judgment which maximises dividends and minimises the risk.
Who has trouble developing trust?
Those who have
• Experienced a great deal of emotional, physical abuse or neglect
• Been chronically put down for the way they feel or for what they believe
• Been emotionally hurt in the past, and are not willing to risk getting hurt in the future
• Had problem relationships in the past where they were belittled, misunderstood, or ignored
• Experienced the loss of a loved one through death, and are caught up in unresolved grief
• Experienced a hostile or bitter divorce, separation, or end of a relationship. They may be unable to believe anyone who opens up to them in a new, committed relationship
To develop trust, try developing the following behaviour traits, attitudes, and beliefs:
• Self-acceptance: Accepting yourself and your potential is an important step in letting down your guard enough to develop a trusting relationship with others. Self-acceptance through an active programme of self-affirmation and self-love is a key to the development of trust
•Letting go of fear: Letting go of fear frees you of behavioural constraints that can immobilise your emotional development. Fear – of rejection, failure, of caring, success, being hurt, of the unknown and intimacy – are blocks to developing trusting relationships and can impede relationship growth if not given appropriate attention and remedial action
• Reducing the sense of competition: Reducing competition, jealousy, and defensiveness with significant others in your life is a way to reduce the barriers between you and them. Lower these psychological barriers and move towards developing mutual trust
• Self-disclosure of negative self-scripts: Disclosing your inability to feel good about yourself, and your perceived lack of healthy self-esteem are essential in reducing miscommunication or misunderstanding between you and the significant others in your life. This self-disclosure reveals to the others your perspective on obstacles you believe you bring to relationships. Others get to know you as you know yourself. It is easier to trust that which is real than that which is unreal or hidden
• Taking a risk to be open to others: Become a real person to others. It is essential in trust-building between two people because it establishes the parameters of strengths and weaknesses on which you have to draw as the relationship develops
• Becoming vulnerable: You can be hurt by others who know your weaknesses and strengths. Reveal yourself and others will accept you for who you really are rather than for what they want you to be. In order to get to full self-disclosure you must take the risk to be vulnerable to others. This is an important building block in trust development
• Believe in the goodness of humankind: Without this you can become emotionally stuck, reclusive, and isolated. Belief in goodness is a change based on the willingness to take a risk that all people are not evil, bad, or ill-willed
• Faith in the fairness of life: This is like the ‘boomerang belief,’ that what you throw out to others will come back to you eventually in life. So if people are fair, honest, or nurturing they will eventually receive similar behaviour aimed back at them. Having faith in fairness is an attitude that helps people be open to others and risk being vulnerable. They believe that the person who treats them negatively will eventually “get it in the end!” and be punished in some way later in this life or in the next
• Belief in a power greater than yourself: This is the acceptance of a spiritual power with greater strength, wisdom, and knowledge than you; one with a divine plan to include your experience, whatever you will encounter in life. Rather than believing that you have 100 per cent control of your destiny, belief in this spiritual power enables you to let go of your responsibility, guilt, and anger. This lets you accept the will of the higher power and enables you to let go of your distrust and isolation from others
•A healing environment: Create a ‘trust bond’ with your partner in your personal life where blaming, accusing, and acrimony do not exist. In this healing mode you actively use forgiveness, understanding, and healthy communication to resolve problems and issues. The participants are then willing to forget, to let go, and to release themselves of the past hurts, wounds, and pain, opening themselves to trust one another.
Extending trust to others rekindles the inner spirit – both theirs and ours. It touches and enlightens the innate propensity we all have to trust and be trusted. It brings happiness to relationships, results to work and confidence in our lives. It’s the one thing that changes everything.
Anita Anand is a Delhi-based hypnotherapist and crystal healer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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