Trust is such a BIG word.
What does it really mean? How do we gain trust? What happens when we lose it?
Dr. John Gottman, who’s famous for his work with couples, talks about trust being built in the smallest of moments. He gives an example that beautifully portrays this.
One night he was in bed reading a very suspenseful novel. He was close to the end, where he’d finally get to find out “who done it.” He was savoring the moment and thought he would just go to the bathroom and then jump back into bed to finish the book.
His wife was brushing her hair. He noticed she looked sad. The first thought that came to his mind was: “Just keep walking, just keep walking.”
Dr. Gottman calls these moments sliding door moments. Walk through one door, and you turn towards your partner. Walk through the other door (pretending everything is fine), and you end up turning away.
Dr. Gottman made the hard choice. He took the brush out of his wife’s hand and asked her, “What’s the matter, baby?” THAT was a moment of building trust.
It takes great courage to do the hard thing. Shame and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown calls this “braving.” She uses the word as an acronym to break down each element of trustworthiness.
As you read through each element, ask yourself:
Are you BRAVING in your relationship?
We are clear about our boundaries and respect the boundaries of others.
We do what we have said we are going to do, over and over and over again. This also means we know our limitations. We don’t take on too much, in case we end up being unable to deliver on our commitments.
When we make a mistake, we own it, apologize for it, and make amends. We also let others do the same to us.
What we share with each other will be held in confidentiality. And not only that, I do not share anything with you about somebody else that is not mine to share. This is a biggie when it comes to trust. Gossiping about others diminishes trust.
Our actions match our words. We practice our values, rather than merely professing them.
We are able to ask others for help and share what we feel without judging ourselves. We are also able to extend help without judging those who seek our help. Many of us find a lot of value in being the helper, but real trust is not built unless help is reciprocal.
We extend the most generous interpretation to the intentions, words and behaviors of others. So, if you screw up, I will make a generous assumption and check in without blaming.
As you can see, trust is not a feeling you have about each other. It is a practice.
You come to trust one another by BRAVING. By being reliable, accountable, nonjudmental and generous. By respecting boundaries and confidences. By staying in integrity.
How could you “BRAVE” better in your relationship?
Want to learn more?
Watch Monica’s interview with Your Brilliance where she talks about having the courage to be yourself and stand strong in your vulnerability.