Trust is a confusing thing. It seems so simple, but when you try to pin it down, it can be elusive. I think of the way that my body sits on a surface that’s new to me, unknown. And how my muscles remain tight, anticipating anything, and I’m constantly aware of that surface. Over time, with familiarity, I can relax and start to lean back. For many of us, that initial tension exists so much of the time. We spend so much energy watching, and calculating, trying to predict, reading signals in people, ready for anything to change suddenly. Preparing to be disappointed.
So much energy spent. We talk about trust as something you build, as if it is a structure or a thing, but in that building there seems to be something about letting go. And what it affords us is a luxury. It allows us to stop thinking. To stop worrying that someone won’t catch us if we fall, to stop constantly scanning for inconsistencies, to stop wondering how other people act when they are not in our presence. It allows us to relax a part of our minds, so that we can focus on what’s in front of us.
And that’s why it’s such a tragedy when it’s broken. A betrayal can make you think of all the other betrayal that are waiting for you in things you haven’t thought of, in people you rely on. And you can feel yourself tightening up - bracing, and in the worst cases, you might resolve to trust no one.
But that doesn’t really work. Trust is your relationship to the unknown, what you can’t control. And you can’t control everything. And it’s not all or none. It’s a slow and steady practicing of learning about the capacity of the world. And it’s worth it. To keep trying. And it’s not easy.
So who do you trust? And how do you grow it?