It might seem that reasons you can’t trust people or institutions anymore surround you. Every day the media is full of more stories of betrayal, lying or breach of trust. And you probably have a personal history of being let down or disappointed, whether it was not getting that role in the school play, being thrown under a bus by a colleague or even being betrayed by a partner.
The most common reasons people don’t trust are
1. Previous bad experience
Most people have been let down to some degree during their lives. Accept that this is a part of the risk of living a full life. Let go and move on.
2. Lack of self-trust
If you don’t trust yourself, you can’t expect others to trust you. A negative mindset will skew your perception of the world and people’s motivations. You will see the worst in everything and miss out on all sorts of opportunities. Work on your self-worth, develop and listen to your intuition, and you will have a sound basis to trust others.
3. Anxiety and catastrophizing/projecting
Anxious people spend a lot of time and energy worrying about things that are not likely to happen. That can lead to projecting and destructive catastrophizing. You’ll brood about scenarios that are likely never to happen.
4. Fear of judgment and rejection
If you trust someone with a problem or secret, you are taking the risk that they won’t respect your privacy. But if you trust people, they tend to respond in kind and are more likely to reward you with their trust.
5. Poor communication
Lack of clarity about expectations, fear of revealing mistakes and not feeling safe to ask questions can all undermine trust. Be honest and clear in conversations and meetings and make sure everyone is clear on what was agreed. Make it clear that it’s always appropriate to stop and recalibrate when necessary.
You might think that trusting people is foolish and just leaves you open to being hurt and deceived again. But there are good reasons why you should work on building trust in yourself and other people.
• Trust is fundamental to good relationships. It is the cement that bonds people together whether it’s your partner, friends, work team or sports team.
• Trust breeds trust. When you start trusting people, it sets up a positive feedback loop that draws in more and more people.
• Trust improves productivity.
• People who trust and others see as trustworthy are happier and more successful in their lives.
It’s worth examining your reasons for not wanting to trust others. Test those reasons and challenge yourself to be more willing to trust.