What is trust? Both relationship experts and people who have been committed to each other for a long time swear by the importance of trust. But what exactly does the word “trust” mean? The definition of “trust” is given in the Oxford Dictionary as a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something”. To put it simply, here’s a quote by Lao Tzu, which explains briefly but very effectively what trust basically entails – “He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted”.
Relationships – Founded on Trust
It is neither wise nor possible for someone to trust another person immediately. Real trust develops slowly, over time, as each person moves a little out of his/her comfort zone without sacrificing his/her integrity. This is why the only relationships where complete trust exists between the partners are long term ones like marriage. This slow growth rate is also the reason why once trust is lost, it’s even tougher to recover.
Outside influence is often one of the major causes of trust issues between two people. Gossip-mongers love to draw false conclusions from a particular situation and spread this twisted version in public. This can be potentially harmful if it reaches the partner of the person concerned. When someone violates trust and harms his/her partner in the process, the level of trust doesn’t just go down a notch or two, it goes away entirely. A single violation may place the entire relationship in jeopardy. Recovery is possible only if the injured party is willing to give his/her partner another go to earn their trust back. But rarely is the matter so simple.
Trust issues rooted in anxiety are the hardest to overcome. Most people get over the milder forms of anxiety-based trust issues as the confidence in their spouse grows. However, some people suffer from severe anxiety issues which makes them suspect their spouse of cheating for no concrete reason at all. It is almost impossible to earn the trust of such irrational people. Building trust involves taking risks. So, if the person doesn’t even want to take risks there can be no growth of trust between them. Jealousy, the green-eyed monster stemming from low self-esteem, is also responsible for creating trust problems between people. So, the basis of trust can be summed up in the words of Ronald Reagan into a simple mantra – “Trust, but verify”.
How to Reclaim Trust between Parents and Teenagers
Teenage is the phase when the rebellious streak comes out in full force in an individual – messy getups, piercings, tattoos become the social norm in order to feel accepted, not to mention experimentations with drugs and alcohol. This phase tests the strength of the bond of trust between a parent and a child. Some parents automatically assume that their kids abuse drugs and alcohol at this stage. This can’t be further than the truth. These wrong assumptions end up fueling resentment instead of giving children an outlet to prove their worthiness. Teens are usually eager to earn the trust of their parents. But this is not always so easy. A relatively novel way to test kids for substance abuse is to use a home drug testing program when verbal assurances fall short of convincing their parents. However, this emerging trend of home drug testing has been criticized by many people as being an irresponsible abuse of trust and only serves to drive a wedge between parents and children already suffering from misplaced trust.
So, gaining trust isn’t easy – it develops slowly, and takes even more time to heal, if broken. Though most trust issues are complex and painful, it’s usually possible to achieve a healthy, long-term relationship through love, patience and mutual forgiveness.