In large part I’m a creature of habit. I frequent the same restaurants and coffee shops, order the same thing(s), and typically have a rhythm for each particular establishment. It’s not that I avoid new experiences, because I do enjoy trying new things. But these establishments have earned my loyalty. Sometimes this is because they have a superior product. Other times it is the price point of that product. It can also be a vibe of an establishment, or an employee who makes it feel like home. Why do I frequent the same establishments? Trust. I trust these establishments. I am confident in the quality of service and product at each of these places.
As I write this, I’m sitting in The Daily Grind, a fairly big coffee shop in Fell’s Point. This is a place I trust. It’s just under a mile from my house, meaning I can get here various ways. In the neighborhood there is two hour parking, but I’ve yet to receive a ticket when I’ve passed that length of time. There are many work stations, some of which have low amounts of traffic (allowing me to get a lot done) and other spots that allow you to overlook a view of the harbor. The coffee is good. I trust their egg and cheese on everything for breakfast. If it’s lunch I order a veggie burger on multigrain (with a spicy ginger beer). The overall vibe is a little punk rock, but not pretentious or overly hipster. There are always seats, but there is a steady flow of people. I trust this place.
Trusting a business or a company is easy. Typically within a time or two of visiting an establishment I know whether or not they are trustworthy. But relationships are harder. Much harder.
Trusting someone means moving beyond the facade we often wear. Trusting someone means exposing our blemishes to someone who has been given the right to remind us of our blemishes. Trusting means opening ourselves up to hurt, dealing with the past, and exposing our own heart. But trusting helps us refine our character, rather than isolating ourselves in a bubble of self-satisfaction or self-deprecation.
Trust is hard.
Often we think of trust being built in grand gestures, but instead it is built in the small things. It’s the coffee being the right temperature. It’s a reliability of knowing when a business is open. It’s the fresh produce. It’s knowing that the money is going to a good cause.
In a relationship trust is honesty. It’s listening. It’s pausing your desires to engage in someone else. It’s knowing a name. Trust is taking time to understand something of value to the other person. It is built slowly, over time, through the small things. And at that point we “choose to make something important to you, vulnerable to the actions of someone else”. (Charles Feltman)
Brené Brown, say there are seven components of trust found in the acronym of BRAVING.
In thinking through the concept of trust, I’m led to three questions...
- Do you trust yourself? Maya Angelou once said, “I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you.' ... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” Sometimes when it comes to trust our first instinct is to point to someone else. But in reality for some of us, we need to consider if we even trust ourselves. Look at the seven components above and ask yourself if you trust yourself. If you can’t count on yourself, it’s unwise and unhealthy to ask other people to give you what you don’t have.
- Are you fostering a space where others trust you? Do you gossip? If so you may miss opportunities to foster this safe space. Creating a space begins with being quick to listen and slow to speak. It’s choosing love over correctness. It’s owning our own sin without the promise of any reciprocity! Cherishing this space allows for others to live in community with you. And to disregard this community we isolate ourselves.
- Do you trust others? We live in a culture that is incredibly self-reliant. We avoid community and insist on having everything together. Trust forces us to be honest and it allows people in. And if we are honest, most of us prefer to be trusted without allowing someone into our own mess. Ernest Hemmingway once said, “the best way you can find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them”. So dive in. Trust someone who has shown trustworthiness in the little things.
Inside all of us is the desire for companionship. And in order to delve into the best derivative of companionship, we must trust. Seek BRAVING with yourself and others and allow to find trust in you. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10).
For further study, check out Brené Brown- The Anatomy of Trust.