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  • Writer's pictureJKB

The Anatomy of Trust

You might not trust me.

But if you trust me, I know you’ve given me the most valuable thing a human can give another human. No question.

Trust is more valuable than all the money you could Venmo me. It’s the relational platinum card. Trust places some measure of our future into someone else’s hands.

I understand why we’re so vigilant and judicious with something so risky.

But I’m finding people are too careful with their trust (which I know sounds crazy after I’ve doubled-down on how priceless it is).

I’d argue we can be too careful with our trust, and this over-charged prudence is impeding our future. If we trust fewer people than we could, we will miss out on opportunities, insight, and personal development that could radically expand our lives.

Many of us (maybe not you) are operating like trust requires agreement. It does not. It never does.

Proof: My wife and I have been married for over 20 years. We disagree on a whole host of things and yet there is no one I trust more than her.

Trust—good, life-building, future-creating trust—only requires two things. No more. No less.

Necessary Ingredient #1: Trust requires honesty.

Your words match reality as you understand it.

Necessary Ingredient #2: Trust requires commitment.

You will continue to participate in the relationship.

That’s it. If someone tells me the trust and proves they're not going anywhere, I can trust them.

I may not agree with them. I may not trust them with certain responsibilities if they haven’t proven proficiency or experience in those areas. I may not desire a relationship with them.

But the necessary ingredients are there for some modicum of trust. I don’t need someone to vote like me, look like me, think like me, believe like me. I need to know they mean what they say and they are willing to stay in relationship if I choose to.

And, if we have that, we can learn from each other. We can possibly work together. We can serve alongside each other. We can reconcile. We can enjoy all the benefits that trusting relationships have to offer.

The exception-to-the-rule: What about someone who doesn’t act in your best interest?

Glad you asked. There are certainly people who are honest and committed and hateful, divisive, abusive. I would never advocate that you trust this person in any form of relationship: as a romantic partner, employee, accountant, or babysitter.

But I want to be quick to suggest that these “miscreants” are more rare than we assume. Don’t be too quick to categorize, cancel, or write off someone simply because they’ve created discomfort. If they are honest and committed, there may be a treasure chest of learning, compassion, and growth for both of you if you each decide to trust: let down your guard, open up your curiosity, give some of your time and attention.

It’ll be better for all of us. Trust me.

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