By Lauren Freier, Guest Blogger
Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to the cycle of trust and vulnerability—how vulnerable moments foster trust, and how that trust then provides space for more vulnerable moments. If it were as simple as Dave Matthews says (or sings), I could just “lean on you and you lean on me and we’ll be okay.” But it’s not that easy. Trust involves the relinquishing of control by placing power in the hands of another, and any threat to one’s ownership of control inevitably induces some degree of anxiety.
In certain situations we so badly want to trust someone that we develop false expectations or pretenses. Our fantasy creates an image that sits far from actual circumstance. In other instances we are so afraid to trust someone that we miss out on opportunities by running in the opposite direction. Our caution cultivates feelings of danger and doubt.
So where do we draw the line between letting someone in versus protecting ourselves? Trust too much and risk becoming fickle and manipulated, but don’t trust enough and risk becoming cold and guarded. It’s turned into a Goldilocks tale to find a level of trust that fits just right—one that is mutual and respected.
I recently asked a couple that I work with to rate how “in trust” they felt with one another and how “in trust” they felt capable of becoming in their relationship, as this is the pinnacle of both connection and freedom as well as a precursor to lasting commitment. I also asked a group of students how they determine whether or not someone is trustworthy. The most common pattern in all of these responses addressed the need for a history of reliability, as trust is then proven and earned.
Similar to love, I believe you must first trust yourself before you can ever be “in trust” with another. Trusting yourself means not apologizing for being honest and authentic. Trusting yourself means riding the waves of uncertainty with conviction and grit. Trusting yourself means listening to your gut and having faith that if you do so, you have nothing to lose.
So essentially, as I continue to make sense of this cycle and its many complexities, I think the greatest hurdle is trusting in your own resilience. To truly thrive is to accept life’s necessary trial-and-error process and risk the potential for betrayal or defeat, because the only thing scarier than trying to trust is never trying at all.
How "In Trust" with yourself are you? How could you strengthen your trust relationship with yourself and with others?
Lauren is a passionate writer, Beatles fanatic, celebrity gossip junkie, therapist, and mental health advocate. Her personal and professional experiences in both LA and Chicago have inspired her dedication to emotional wellness, resiliency, and self-acceptance. She holds an MA in Clinical Psychology and is a therapist at InnerVoice Psychotherapy and Consultation, a Chicago-based private practice, as well as a social-emotional health educator at a non-profit organization.