What is trust?

The dictionary defines it as "The assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something."

"I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you" - Friedrich Nietzsche

Trust has both an emotional and logical aspect, emotionally we must be able to expose our vulnerabilities to someone and expect them not to harm us through that exposure. Logically we decide who we can trust based on past experience, if someone hurt us or lied to us in the past, we are less likely to trust them. Though strangely often people will trust the wrong people, even if those people have proved unworthy of trust in the past, sometimes they do so simply to "fit in".

Trust is made up of several parts: Predictability, Exchange (Either of unknown value or delayed), and Vulnerability exposure.

"Confidence, like the soul, never returns whence it has once departed" - Publilius Syrus

Predictability is simply how likely someone is to do a certain thing based on past events, can they be relied on, often someone can be an enemy and still be predictable, and a predictable enemy is better for us than an unreliable friend. We use the surety of their responses to base our future on, and if they are unreliable, then our future is unsure.

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters." - Albert Einstein

Exchange is part of trust in that we may not know that what we are exchanging is of equal value or we may give something now for a return later, but we have to weigh the risk of getting a poor exchange or even no return at all.

The last part is the complicated part, we expose ourselves, our vulnerabilities and trust people not to take advantage of them to harm us, this is often where trust falls apart, we hold back, not allowing people to hurt us, but in so doing, we never trust anyone and hurt ourselves.

"We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone - but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy" - Walter Anderson

29 Aug 2007 12:26:53


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