The Meaning of Trust

Trust is such a heavy word. Can you feel it? We’ve all had unique experiences with it, some great, some horrible, but it’s a human experience we all have. It’s something we cultivate with others and with ourselves. And it’s the basis of all our healthy relationships. So, what is trust made of and how do we get there?

In terms of energy, trust is a matter of the heart because it deals with relationships. At the center of our energy system, the heart chakra represents the ultimate center of balance. When our relationships are healthy, thriving and balanced, so are our lives. This is something we all desire.

So, let’s look deeper at what trust means, and let this be the theme for May. The more we trust ourselves and cultivate loving, nurturing relationships with ourselves and others, the more joyful our lives will be.

Trust is BRAVING connection with someone

“Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.” -Brené Brown

In a recent SuperSoul Sessions episode, Brené Brown talks about the anatomy of trust. She shares with us her very own acronym for trust: BRAVING. We are braving connection with someone when we trust them. We are being vulnerable, sharing our story, and allowing ourselves to be seen. There’s a lot to that. Let’s break it down.

Boundaries. “I trust you if you are clear about your boundaries and you hold them, and you’re clear about my boundaries and you respect them. There is no trust without boundaries.”

Reliability. “I can only trust you if you do what you say you’re going to do (over and over and over again, not just once). In both work and personal life, we must be very clear on our limitations so we don’t take on so much that we come up short and don’t deliver on our commitments.”

Accountability. “I can only trust you if when you make a mistake you are willing to own it, apologize for it, and make amends. I can only trust you if when I make a mistake, I am allowed to own it, apologize, and make amends. No accountability, no trust.”

Vault. “What I share with you, you will hold in confidence. What you share with me, I will hold in confidence.” But it’s a two door vault. Gossiping about others, for example, may diminish your trust in someone because you are witnessing that they do not value confidentiality. The vault is about respecting my story and other peoples’ stories.

Integrity. “I cannot trust you and be in a trusting relationship with you if you do not act from a place of integrity and encourage me to do the same. Integrity is choosing courage over comfort, choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast or easy, and practicing your values not just professing your values.”

Non-judgment. “I can fall apart, ask for help, and be in struggle without being judged by you, and you can fall apart, ask for help and be in struggle without being judged by me.” We’re better at helping than asking for help. If you can’t ask for help, and you cannot reciprocate it, it’s not a trusting relationship.

Generosity. “Our relationship is only a trusting relationship if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions and behaviors and then check in with me.” If someone screws up, you make a generous assumption about them and the situation before you approach them about it, as opposed to getting upset and lashing out at them or being passive aggressive because you feel hurt. You give them the benefit of the doubt and you communicate with them.

This acronym, BRAVING, gives us words to use in relationship issues. We can break things down, see what’s not working, ask for what we need and come to real solutions that nurture the relationship instead of just tossing around the word trust and feeling confused, hurt, and not getting anywhere.

BRAVING works with self-trust too. When something like failure happens, instead of coming down on ourselves, we can check in with ourselves in the above areas. Where is the issue, really? Did we overstep our own boundaries? Were we blaming others instead of holding ourselves accountable? Where trust is about braving connection with someone else, self-trust is about braving self-love. It takes a lot of courage to look at our own shit and be willing to be compassionate, non-judgmental, and forgiving.

Let’s make it a beautiful month of May!