It honestly goes
against my idealistic nature to put trust here as an obstacle to living
life fully. After all, isn't trust something that we all should
have? Doesn't the lack of trust lead to suspicion and
cynicism? Don't we lose a great deal of our so-called innocence when
we reject trust? Well, yes and no to all of those questions.
Trust is a
wonderful ideal, but what concerns me is the tendency among many people to
put too much trust in other people, or trust in the wrong people.
Both actions lead to extremely negative results that can affect one's own
self-esteem and perspective of life. Another damaging aspect of
trust is how we feel about ourselves and our lives after our trust has
been betrayed. This idea may fit better on a page called
"betrayal," but betrayal is something that others do to us, not
something that we have control over. We have control over the level
of trust we put in someone and over the way we react when that trust has
When we entrust
too much to another person, we face several risks. First of all, we
may become too dependent on that other person, and we may start to feel a
diminished sense of trust in ourselves. We've put such a huge part
of our own burden on someone else that we may lose our own ability to deal
with that burden. What happens if that other person leaves?
What do we do then? We either have to pick up everything where it
was left, or we have to shift our trust to someone else, who may or may
not deserve to have it, which is a very stressful situation.
much to another person also puts a huge burden on that other person, and
he or she may start to feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of another
person's burdens. If that happens, it will become difficult for that
person to continue to carry so much trust, and he or she may end up
betraying or trust or rejecting it completely. In any case, as soon
as our trust passes a certain level, it becomes a burden to someone
else. Such a burden is very easy to reject or betray, especially as
time wears on. We end up setting ourselves up for huge problems.
importantly, though, as an obstacle to a happy life, putting our trust in
the wrong people can be quite devastating. As an example, we
recently were in the market for a new car. We checked out a few
on-line car markets, and two days later got a phone call from a local
dealer that had been notified an on-line market that we were interested in
purchasing a car. We told the salesman that we wanted only to look,
and he said fine, come on in. So we went.
Of course, not
too many people trust car salespeople to begin with, but I hate blindly
agreeing with stereotypes, and I wanted to trust him. But this guy
proved that the stereotype is often an earned one. He did everything
to build trust, giving us the keys and telling us to take our time,
"proving" his trust in us. He asked about the family and
tried to be real personal. Within an hour, though, he had a contract
written up and wanted us to sign on the bottom line. We refused, and
he told us that another salesperson had a customer who was interested in
the same vehicle, and it might not be there in a couple of days. We
left. Two weeks later, we drove by the lot in the new car we had
bought elsewhere and saw the other car still there. We also found
out later that he had overstated the amount of the trade-in allowance they
had given, virtually lying about the amounts. We ended up paying $80
a month less for the same car with someone who sat down with us, explained
all the numbers and options, and allowed us to take our time.
If we had
trusted the first man, we would have been stuck with payments that were
far too high for us. We also would have been ripped off, and the car
would have become something different to us, more of an overpriced problem
than the reliable vehicle that we needed.
But that's a
very typical example. What happens when we trust a best friend to
keep a secret for us, and that best friend tells others what we didn't
want them to tell? And if we trust someone to do something for us
while we're on vacation, and that someone doesn't do what we asked?
Or what about trusting someone to show up on time and have them get there
an hour late, ruining an afternoon or evening, because now the place you
wanted to go to is far too crowded to get into?
None of these
are unrealistic situations, but in each case, we're the ones who now have
to deal with unpleasant situations because we've entrusted something
important to someone else. We face anger, resentment, frustration,
and many other negative feelings simply because of another's
actions. It's very hard not to take such problems personally, too,
and once we do that, it's pretty much a given that we're going to be down
or angry for a while.
So what do we
do? Basically, there's only one workable response to someone who's
violated our trust: forgiveness. But we also have to take a
lesson from the situation, and learn that we need to be very careful where
we put our trust, for as soon as we put our trust in another, we set
ourselves up for potential disappointment and harm. We have to
trust, for if we don't, we become callous, cold, cynical
individuals. But we have to trust the right people, and we have to
entrust the right things to them. It's always our call, even though
we later may want to shift the blame to the other person.