This week, I wanted to share this video with you and spark some conversation and reflection on the very important topic of trust. I think Dr. Brené Brown articulates some really powerful insights. Below are a few of my notes on the talk and at the end are some journal prompts/conversation starters. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Trust is built – and broken, too – in very small moments. Those small moments tell us something about the relationship, and about the person we’re contemplating trusting.

“I trust him because he will ask for help when he needs it.” – so interesting that asking for help builds trust, but it makes tons of sense.

In day-to-day life there are lots of small opportunities to build or to betray trust – to choose to not connect when the opportunity is there can be a betrayal.

“Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else…Distrust is this: ‘What I have shared with you that is important to me is not safe with you.'”- from Charles Feltman

Trust is B.R.A.V.I.N.G. connection – these are the parts of trust. These are the things that go into trust – this is what trust is made up of.

B – boundaries – I trust you if you are clear about your boundaries and you hold them, and if you are clear about my boundaries and you respect them.

R – reliability – I can only trust you if you do what you say you are going to do. This means you do what you say are going to do, over and over and over again. It means you show up as you, over and over and over again. It means we know our limitations and so we make commitments we can deliver on – and then we deliver on them. It means we allow the “awkward pause”/”moment of discomfort” rather than make a promise we can’t keep.

A – accountability – I can only trust you if, when you make a mistake, you are willing to own it, apologise for it, and make amends. I can only trust you if, when I make a mistake, I am allowed to own it, apologise for it and make amends.

V – vault – the vault is to do with confidentiality – what I share with you, you will hold in confidence (and vice versa). Remember: the vault has two doors – we lose trust with someone if they tell us things that are not theirs to share. Don’t tell other people’s stories! Building connection by gossiping about a third person is a cheap win that will not last and that cannot build trust.

I –integrity – both having integrity and also encouraging me to have integrity. Integrity means: 1. choosing courage over comfort 2. choosing what’s right over what is fun, fast or easy 3. practising not just professing your values

N – non-judgement – I can fall apart, ask for help and be in struggle without being judged by you and vice versa. This is hard because we are better at helping than asking for help.

“We think we have set up trusting relationships with people who really trust us because we are always there to help them, but let me tell you this, if you can’t ask for help and they cannot reciprocate that, that is not a trusting relationship. Period.” – Dr. Brene Brown

“When you assign value to needing help, when you think less of yourself for needing help, whether you are conscious of it or not, when you offer help to someone, you think less of them too. You cannot judge yourself for needing help, but not judge others for needing your help.” – Dr. Brené Brown

Maybe you’re getting value from being the helper in the relationship. You think that’s your worth. But real trust doesn’t exist unless help is reciprocal and non judgemental.

G – generosity – we can build a trusting relationship if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions and behaviours, and then check in with me to see if your assumption is correct. Passive aggressive behaviour breaks trust.

“I don’t trust you” is not always a very clear thing to communicate. When we understand what makes up trust, we can identify the issue when trust is not strong in a relationship.

Self Trust

When we make mistakes, we often stop trusting ourselves. Breaking down trust into its pieces allows us to figure out what parts of our own self-trust we have broken, and work on repairing them.

If you can’t count on yourself, you can’t ask other people to give you what you don’t have.

“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves, but say I love you….Be wary of the naked man offering you a shirt.” – Maya Angelou

We can’t ask people to give us something we don’t believe we are worthy of receiving.

What do you think? Is this what trust means to you? Is trust built or broken in small moments for you? How important is trust to your relationships? I think we all trust people to different extents in different areas of life. Some people I trust to get the job done, but I wouldn’t trust with my personal stories. Others are totally trustworthy when it comes to emotional stuff but aren’t very trustworthy in the realm of money. Does trust in one area carry over into another? What about the simple fact of trusting that someone likes and accepts you? Which elements of the B.R.A.V.I.N.G. acronym resonate the most with you? Is it quite a lot to ask that someone would be all of these things? Which one of these do you struggle with the most? Do you have any ‘marble jar’ friends? Are you a ‘marble jar’ friend to anyone? Do you trust yourself?

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Due credit: Brené Brown of course