What Does it Mean to Trust?

“Trust the process.” “Keep the faith.” These aphorisms have become commonplace, but do they have validity in our lives? How exactly do we “trust the process”?

Trust is, for the most part, developed in early childhood. The infant learns whether his or her physical and emotional needs are being met, and therefore whether the world at large is safe and trustworthy. The child who experiences inconsistent or absent care does not develop trust to the same level as a child who feels secure. There is a healthy balance in the secure child between hope and expectation, rather than living in fear of the lack of safety and security.

The child who does not learn healthy trust often becomes an adult who struggles to be happy in friendships and romantic relationships, always living in fear that he or she will be abandoned and/or betrayed. At an extreme level, the fearful adult may become so caught up in fear that he or she may find it challenging to live a life of satisfaction.

A trusting child becomes an adult who believes that when needed, help and support is mostly available and that he or she will feel better when that aid is given. The adult feels that intimate relationships are mostly secure, that it is safe to feel confident in most people. This often applies to intimate relationships as well as those in the workplace, and even in more general ways (believing that the universe “has our back”). The trusting adult has a greater chance of living a life of satisfaction.

When your faith has been challenged, there are steps that can be taken to rebuild confidence and hope.

  • Learn to recognize that past experiences are in the past, and that current relationships do not necessarily mirror them.
  • Learn how unhealthy patterns of choosing partners or friends can add to your distrust.
  • Learn healthy ways to deal with feelings of frustration or perceived betrayal. When you can step outside of the emotion, the facts become more clear.
  • Learn how to deal with conflict and fear in appropriate ways.
  • Examine how your own thoughts, feelings and actions may have influenced the situation. Are you living in integrity and authenticity?

It is absolutely possible to develop trust so that you can live a more fulfilled life. If you lack trust consider reaching out for help.

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