Trust

What it really means to trust

What is trust?

Essentially, trust is a concept that means one person has confidence in another that they will behave honourably. Without trust, it is impossible to be able to rely on anyone else at all. It means having faith that a friend, family member or even a stranger will do the right thing. The person who trusts the other is called a trustor. The person who gains the confidence of another is known as a trustee. Sometimes, such confidence is implicit with nothing needing to be said to assure it. In other cases, it is backed up by a contract that can be referred to afterwards if a dispute were to arise. People have trust in one another by varying degrees. The same can be said of many institutions, too, such as banks, the government, public bodies and charities, for example. In sociological terms, it is, therefore, a belief system that allows for all sorts of social interactions to occur without too many doubts causing the normal function of society to break down.

How is trust earned?

Many people will consider you to be trustworthy from the outset. Mistrust only tends to kick in once you have done something to undermine the confidence others have in you, such as committing a crime, for example. However, trust is generally earned by being honest and open in your dealings with others. By avoiding gossip and acting in a socially responsible way are excellent ways of demonstrating that you are, indeed, a trustworthy person.

When trust is broken, what can be done?

If someone has done something to break your faith in them, then mistrust can take hold. It is hard, under such circumstances, to start trusting them once more. This can be a big shame since without a level of trustworthiness between two people, especially in a personal relationship, the entire basis that it was built on can break down. Where mistrust exists, you can begin by allowing the person to earn your trust back in small steps. Defined areas of responsibility should be placed back onto the person who you have lost faith with. If they show themselves to be trustworthy, then you can increase the scope of these areas until more and more trust is gained. You may never achieve the same level of trust with another person once it has been broken. That said, many people do recover from a complete lack of faith in others.

What is meant by trust according to psychology?

According to some psychological theories, ideas of trustworthiness develop in infants even before the age of two. It is a psychosocial phenomenon that lasts a lifetime. Where it is broken in early development, it can have a long-lasting psychological impact on people according to modern ideas of attachment theory.

How can you trust more?

If you are not a trusting person, then you may have been wronged in the past, and professional psychological help may be beneficial. People who have had a relationship breakdown often find it difficult to be trusting in an intimate sense down the line. In such cases, counselling as a couple can help to build up trust and happiness. In many cases, forgiving wrongdoing is a good first step in re-establishing trust.

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When forgiveness comes about, it is because somebody who has been wronged in some way can pardon it. To many people, forgiving something is not a single act, but rather a type of process that allows them to move from feeling harmed and resentful to a position of equanimity, something that can mean a level of psychological release is possible. People forgive one another for minor indiscretions all the time, especially when some offence or other has been caused by accident. However, the ability to forgive can be harder when a major indiscretion or a crime has been committed. As such, an act of genuine forgiveness is often considered to be a virtue, one that frequently takes moral courage.
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