This is an absolutely brilliant and succinctly outlined definition of trust and how it works I've ever read. Thank you!

I'd add to that this adage (apparently, it's a belief system / thought system that helps people).

Trust no one, but yourself. Take RISKS with others.

I was at one of them fandangled inspiration seminars and was talking about my trust issues with the charismatic leader when he blurted that out. "You don't trust other people, trust only yourself. Take risks with others."

I didn't get it at all. How the hell do you create and develop relationships with others if you only take risks and don't trust them?

Over the last couple of years, I've taken on the task to learn how to love myself, to foster a better relationship with myself.

What that has translated to is to learn to listen to my heart (follow my instincts, follow my gut). There's a brilliant quote from Steve Jobs (of Apple) "Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

This means I needed to start trusting myself to take the risks, without knowing what the outcome might be, and risk falling and getting hurt. Even the painful learning experiences of making a mistake force me to grow, something my heart already knows, that my mind wants to resist.

It has also translated into learning how to deal with the internal critic; it was so severe and harsh on me, saying things about me (that I bought into) that I would never say to another human being. I have found that practicing the lovingkindness meditation is helping tremendously to quiet that internal critic.

And lastly, it has translated into awakening to the 'Shame Monster' (I need to find another name for this). The Cancer of Shame? This is the entity that we carry in us that tells us we're unlovable. It's so intimate and so familiar to us that we buy into it. We believe the lies. I certainly did, and sometimes still do. This Shame thing inside of us fools us into believing we're pieces of shit. It is extraordinarily difficult for us to come out from under this illusion of Shame, and step into our own. Perhaps, this single task, would be the biggest step towards a full fledged recovery.

How can I trust another person if I can't even trust myself? If I don't know what motivates me to think, feel, and behave the way I do, how will I ever understand what motivates others to think, feel, and behave the way they do?

So, I seem to be learning, after many many years of effort, that I needed to learn how to have a healthy relationship with myself, to trust myself, to follow my heart, and from there, I begin to learn how to relate with others, and dare to trust them. Sometimes I'll make mistakes and trust the wrong people, but we're human. We make mistakes.


Originally Posted By: Jacob S
Ok. I'm horrible with relationships so take all this with a grain of salt, but this is what I think I've learned about trust.

1. Trust is earned.

2. Trust is not binary. It doesn't need to be all or nothing.

3. Trust is topical. Its ok to trust someone in one area but tell them nothing of another area.

4. NEVER trust because you *wish* a person deserved your trust.

5. Remember that people are usually only as strong or as wise as they've needed to be to survive. Meaning that just because a person is nice doesn't mean they will be able to understand you, especially if they've never been through real trauma.

6. The flip side of that is: other survivors might be the best place to start -- it doesn't always have to even be surviving the same thing. Two hurting people don't equal one healthy person, but two veterans will understand war better than civilians.

7. A survivor friend and I have a term: "mutual blackmail." Of course we use it jokingly, but what it means is try to keep an equilibrium of the amount you share between yourself and your friends. Individual conversations will be different, but over the long haul it should not be just one person sharing and the other staying mum. Don't pressure them to share, but if they aren't sharing themselves don't over-share with them. They may be overwhelmed. (This doesn't apply to shrinks and other professionals, of course. Expecting the client to share the shrinks' problems would be inappropriate).

8. Not everyone I know agrees with the "mutual blackmail" concept, and feels rather that relationships that only flow one way are fine. I strongly disagree with this, but I wanted to say that in case you find it works for you. I don't see that as a friendship but rather a surrogate therapist, but with 7 billion people in the world every rule has an exception.

It'd be nice if I could round this out to a "TOP TEN" list, but I haven't learned 9 & 10 yet. smile