1. Do You Trust Yourself?
Roy Lichtenstein – Girl in Mirror 
“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
Do you trust yourself? I mean, really trust yourself, deep down?
Trusting yourself requires confidence and a feeling of self-worth- a conviction that you deserve to trust in yourself, your own opinions, decisions, beliefs.
An attitude of tolerance towards our own mistakes is important here. If we can forgive and be kind to ourselves, then it is more likely that we will feel confidence and self-trust.
Self-critical people tend to have low self images and struggle to develop this trust. They may doubt themselves and the world.
Van Gogh was tortured by his own self doubt; he constantly questioned his worth. This is revealed in many of his self-portraits.
His face exudes self-doubt and this is clearly apparent to others. His expression and his eyes seem to crave our reassurance.
Van Gogh. Self Portrait With Straw Hat. Wikimedia Commons.
Having faith in one’s own gut feelings is also important, and research shows us that we do need to trust the intuitive part of ourselves.
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
Trusting oneself gives us a certain independence, a way of being that allows us to be alone and secure when necessary.
“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not on the branch but on its own wings.”
Kipling’s poem If reveals the importance of trusting oneself, even when others blame and doubt us. The poem points the way to the development of personal integrity, self reliance and decency.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too…..
Listen to the full poem, recited by Sir Michael Caine:
2.What About Trust Betrayed?
Jack Vettriano – Cocktails and Broken Hearts [c.2013]
Being betrayed by another, who breaks your bond of trust, can be devastating. Whether in a personal, business or professional context, it can shake a relationship to its foundations, and it may destroy it.
Such betrayal of trust, once experienced, can make it difficult to trust again.
“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
Yet we do need to be realistic; as Stephen Stosny wisely says in his article ‘Trust and Betrayal’ :
“You can be compassionate without trusting.”
Even when betrayed, it is sometimes possible to move towards healing and repair, to try to understand why the other person betrayed you, or what the other faces in life.
This is not about making excuses; it is about having compassion, whilst maintaining crucial personal boundaries against further betrayal. It is not always possible.
Stosny also underlines the importance of self confidence in developing trust in others, even after betrayal:
“Genuine trust is not a goal so much as a by-product of enhanced core value—the ability to create value and meaning in your life. Focus first on self-compassion and then on compassion for others, and you’ll find that trust will sneak up with you, in its own good time.”
He also underlines the importance of developing ‘wise trust,’ which will develop in time:
Wise trust cannot be expected to return fully until self-compassion and core value have grown larger than the fear of being hurt yet again.
It is also important to remember the words of Hemingway. They apply to the self, and also to relationships that have been sorely tested:
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
The Japanese mend broken pottery with gold; the artefacts are arguably more beautiful after repair.
If a betrayal has occurred and there is the chance of healing, the person, a relationship, a life, may be enriched by the restoration……
However, it must be emphasised that some things are irrevocably broken and they cannot be rebuilt. There may no desire for repair.
There are no rules and no judgement that we have to forgive those we feel have treated us badly. Indeed, some things should not be repaired. That is as it is.
“Trust is like a vase, once it’s broken, though you can fix it, the vase will never be same again.”
The above statement is true; however it does not allow for the fact that some vases can be changed, restored, improved……
As it is with vases, so it is with ourselves and our relationships. In fact, there can emerge something out of the broken pieces that is extra strong, embellished with gold…….
Martin Howard. Kintsugi Vase. Flickr.
“Kintsugi (金継ぎ?, きんつぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い?, きんつくろい, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”
3. Are There Different Kinds Of Trust?
Trust is relevant in many contexts; it functions on different levels, from checking out at a supermarket to deciding to spend one’s life with another person. We trust different kinds of people differently.
There are so many varieties of trust; the subject is enormous. The book shown above is an encyclopaedic handbook and very much worth reading for those who wish to study trust in depth.
What are some of the contexts in which we might need to feel trust in people? You will have your own opinions about which people or institutions in this rather partial list you feel you can trust, according to your personality and life experience…….
- Medical people- doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, hospitals.
- God, religious Leaders
- Scientists, academics, experts.
- Politicians, governments.
- Courts of Law, legal people.
- The Police
- Businesses, online firms
- Drivers- of buses, coaches, cars, trains; pilots.
- Spouses, partners, lovers, family, friends, neighbours.
Trust is complex and it is impossible to make generalisations about it. However, there is not usually the same level of trust for a respected educator, politician or a reliable plumber as there might be for our spouse. It is different in terms of how intense our feelings are.
4. Trust And The Pandemic
“Everyone is a bit scared,” said the horse. “But we are less scared together.”
Edvard Munch. Eye In Eye. Wikimedia Commons.
How has this pandemic affected trust?
At times, it may have been difficult to trust our own judgement, given that the Coronavirus experience is new to us all. There are no precedents in our lifetimes and therefore it may be hard to rely on natural intuition.
Similarly, it has been difficult at times to trust others, as there have been many conflicting views from the experts, in the face of a new and deadly virus.
Can we trust each other? Will those who knowingly have the virus remained isolated from us? Can I trust others to wear a mask? Can I trust my community?
Many have turned to trusting the experience of those who have gone long before us, people who have a wisdom that transcends time. Camus was such a person and his words in The Plague ring true today.
Let’s ponder some of them and contemplate their relevance today:
“What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well. It helps men to rise above themselves.”
“Thus each of us had to be content to live only for the day, alone under the vast indifference of the sky.”
“There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.”
5. What Does “Trusting The Process” Mean?
“Everything comes to you at the right time. Be patient and trust the process.”
The phrase trusting the process implies that we need to develop faith in the fact that, ultimately, things will work out.
This may involve trusting oneself, one’s ability to get through difficult times; it may involve religious belief, or not.
Life itself is a process, a different one for each of us and we need to develop some kind of trust, embracing what will unfold in time that is unknown now.
Whatever one’s beliefs may be, trusting the process involves having the courage and resilience to wait, to stay with uncertainty, to go with the flow.
Thomas Cole. The Voyage of Life. 1842. Wikimedia Commons.
Can we trust time? Can we trust that one day we’ll get through this?
The brilliant American poet Galway Kinnel wrote the poem ‘Wait’ for a student of his who was considering suicide after the end of a relationship.
However, the poem’s powerful message applies to all of us who have been through many kinds of difficult times, and it applies to all of us now, during this pandemic
Listen to the poet reading ‘Wait’:
‘Wait’ Galway Kinnell
Press the follow button to receive a weekly delivery of Ways Of Thinking straight to your inbox.
Do check in again for next week’s post, entitled:
“Why You Should Beware Black and White Thinking!”