Wisdom Recipes 4Life: Trust.


I don’t ask for much, I only want your trust and you know it don’t come easy.” Ringo Starr

When you think about going into the depths of hell, who do you trust enough to take with you? Whom do you trust when the going gets rough?  Many years ago, I recalled a Psychology teacher at the City of College San Francisco say, “I learned to trust others when I learned to trust myself.” As she further explained, trusting ourselves means to trust our decisions.  So, why do people have a hard time deciding who and who not to trust? Maybe, because they allowed one untrustworthy person or a failed relationship built on mistrust to taint their ability to trust anyone else again. Sometimes we trust too soon and ignore red flags.

According to a project held by the Northern Kellogg School of Managment of at Northwestern University, the four key components to trust are benevolence (kindness), integrity (ethical), competence (capability), and predictability (consistent in behavior) (Waytz, 2017).  Furthermore, it takes time to measure trust and assessing whether or not a person can be deemed trustworthy or not over a certain amount of time.

Here are ten examples of a trustworthy person:

  1. You tell a person something in confidence, and he or she does not share it with anybody else. They do not gossip or talk maliciously about other people.
  2. When you share a painful moment, the person is emotionally available by displaying empathy and does not tell you how to feel, grow distance or turn it around and make it about him or her. The same can be said about sharing a happy moment.
  3. Reciprocation of disclosing personal information. If someone is always listening, and rarely talking, this may be a precursor to wanting information to use against you later. A healthy relationship is about mutual communication of sharing and listening. To build respect and trust, we must learn to share and listen effectively.
  4. There are no hidden agendas. A person is not in your life to use you or get something from you.
  5. The person treats others as he or she would want to be treated. Not only do they show you respect, but they show other people respect too. They are not emotionally, verbally or physically abusive.
  6. A person means what they say and says what they mean. They are not hypocritical; for example, tell you to leave a relationship when they are in an unhealthy relationship.
  7. They are responsible. Also, honoring a commitment like marriage and are not known to cheat on a spouse or a partner.
  8. They do not abuse alcohol or drugs. They do not overspend and are financially responsible.
  9. They are consistent with the information they share with you. Storytellers will tell you a story one day and change the story to something else the next day such as a pathological liar will do.
  10. They do not show controlling behaviors such as telling you how to feel, what to think, and how to behave. They set healthy boundaries, but do so out of emotional wellness and not with force.

So, getting back to what my Psychology teacher said about trust.  The question we must ask, do we trust ourselves? Everyone is allowed to change their mind and decide to go down a different path. However, if we say one thing and do another on a consistent basis, eventually, people will believe our actions, and they should. That is why it is important to honor our own commitments to ourselves. Also, when people see we are taking care of our lives, respecting and loving ourselves, they will trust we will respect and treat our relationships well also. Sometimes it is better not to say what you will or will not do but show it through your actions.

Unfortunately, sometimes we miss the signs and what we assume about a person at the beginning of a relationship, later on, is not who he or she portrayed themselves to be. If this happens, it is best to forgive a person, chalk it up to wisdom and use it as a reference point for future relationships. To not trust at all is to live a lonely life without intimacy and friendships. Therefore, we must find a healthy balance of learning to pause if something feels untrustworthy and learning to build trust and respect in relationships by taking our time and using wisdom.  Sometimes we have to gather more information if we perceive to see red flags. If red flags are present, it is best to go into the opposite direction.

Once again, as a wise teacher once said, “You will learn to trust others when you learn to trust yourself.”

It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo Starr


Starkey, R. (1971). It Don’t Come Easy [MP3, Recorded by R. Starr]. Trident Studios: George Harrison. (1971, April 16)

Waytz, A. (2017). Friend or Foe? A Psychological Perspective on Trust. Retrieved October 10, 2017, from http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/trust-project/videos/waytz-ep-1.aspx

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