By Lisa May
For months we’ve had rioting in the streets, elections at the highest level in our nation inundated with accusations of fraud, churches and business partnerships fractured over leadership decisions, a news media that’s increasingly biased by personal opinion, a pandemic that’s gripped the world, and a tragic suicide bombing on Christmas morning. Fear and lack of trust are rampant.
Trust affects love. The more intimately we trust someone, the more capacity we have to love them. The less we trust them, the harder it is to love them. Trust issues create suspicion, ulterior motives, distance, and often a broken relationship.
The more intimately we trust someone, the more we love them. Because we love them, it’s easier to extend more grace with idiosyncrasies and relational stumbles. A loved one may do something or say something that offends someone, and we say, “they didn’t mean it that way.” But when our trust factor lowers, it is harder to love. Even with a loved one, when poor behavior continues, we become guarded and are more prone to assume the worst. Broken trust creates distance and often broken relationships.
Most of us have a fair amount of self-trust, and we tend to judge ourselves based on our intentions versus our behavior. Others will judge our trust factor based on our behavior, not our intentions. Words declare our intent but what we do has a far more significant effect than what we say. We all know the adage “Actions speak louder than words.”
So how do we establish, protect, or re-establish trust? TRUST MUST BE DEMONSTRATED.
Seven ways to Demonstrate trust
Be Respectful: The little things are the big things at home. Research shows that face to face communication regarding attitudes and feelings is 7% of what people say, 38% is how they say it, and 55% is their body language. Be mindful of your tone, give the speaker your attention physically, turn toward them as you listen, and use words that respectfully express your feelings. Emotionally, a huff and a puff really can blow the house down.
Be Transparent: Transparency means you can see through something. Be open with your feelings and thoughts; it’s about being real and genuine. Transparency is based on honesty, integrity, and vulnerability. Don’t sugar coat whatever the situation is, NO SPIN! Ask yourself the question, “Am I withholding information that should be shared? ”
Right Your Wrongs: QUICKLY! This is more than apologizing. We must go quickly and seek resolution if we become aware that someone has something against us. Sometimes righting our wrongs is making restitution, something to correct or make up for the mistake if possible. It could be as little as breakfast in bed, or it could be more substantial. We all make mistakes, but the key is what will we do about them. Will we rationalize them, or will we choose to honor those we’ve wronged with humility and courage?
Be Loyal: Be loyal to your loved one in speaking respectfully of them to others. Acknowledge what they do or have done to affirm their value in what they do and who they are. Give credit where credit’s due and assume the best. Keep confidences. Speak about someone as though they were in the room.
Listen First, Speak Last: It’s imperative to listen to understand with respect. We’ve all heard the criticism that someone talks too much. Have you ever heard anyone complain that someone listens too much? When you genuinely listen first and speak last, you gain insight and understanding, demonstrating respect. Listening creates openness, knowledge, and trust, which promotes solutions. Listen with your eyes and heart for feelings. Try to hear things through the ears of others and see things through their eyes.
Keep your Commitments: This is the #1 trust builder: Do what you say you’re going to do. The quickest way to build trust is to do what you say you’re going to do, and the fastest way to lose trust is to break the commitment or violate the promise. When you make a commitment, you build hope; when you keep it, you build trust. Commitments are vital to trust.
Extend Trust: This is where trust moves from a noun to a verb. When we extend trust we bring out the best in people, and it motivates us to accomplish the goal.
Recently, someone asked me where I thought culture was formed, and I responded, “In the home.” Trust is vital to a thriving marriage and family culture. Love your special Valentine well; be a trustworthy mate.
Lisa May is Executive Director of Live the Life South Florida and is dedicated to strengthening marriages and families through healthy relationship education beginning in middle school through senior adults.
She can be reached at [email protected] or by mail at 5110 N. Federal Hwy. Suite 102, Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33308