Bible Verse of the Day

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Courage to Trust

An atmosphere of trust is as necessary as air or water to human life. We cannot be ourselves unless we can trust the people around us; how imprisoned we are behind our masks when we dare not disclose ourselves to others! And being on guard all the time paralyses our psychic energy. Moreover, it takes trust to love and be loved. “Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.” - Erich Fromm

On the other hand, in the presence of those who believe in us, we feel safe and free. A noted psychologist put it this way: “We are not only our brother’s keeper; in countless large and small ways we are our brother’s maker.” By our trust or distrust we shape him. Trust is the willingness to gamble on the basic fact of good intentions.
All fine human relationships depend on trust. The teacher’s battle is almost won the day she is able to persuade the delinquent child to believe that she intends him no harm. Why do human beings find it so difficult to trust each other? The main reason is that we are afraid. Watch two reserved people sitting side by side on a plane or a train, each fearing to speak. We are afraid, of being disparaged, rejected, and unmasked.

Memories also often make us defensive. A businessman I know, for example, has few friends. His mother died when he was seven, and the well-meaning aunt who took him home with her told him that his mother had “gone away on a visit.” He waited vainly for weeks for his mother to return.As a result of this well-intentioned betrayal, he grew up unable to trust anyone again.

To increase our capacity to trust one another, we firstly need faith in ourselves. “There’s nothing I’m afraid of like scared people,” wrote Robert Frost. And, in fact, he who feels inferior and inadequate cannot trust others. But to believe in our own worth does not mean that we should see nothing wrong with ourselves. What we must trust about ourselves is simply what we must trust about others - which we, too, are seriously trying to do what is right, however faultily!
Secondly, trust requires realism. “It’s risky to trust people,” an acquaintance of mine said bitterly. “You can be horribly deceived.” He was right, if to trust people means betting that they will never do anything wrong. Trust cannot be founded on illusion. For the insensitive will not overnight become sensitive; the gossip will not necessarily keep your secret. The world is not an innocent playground on which everyone wishes us well, and we must face this fact. No, real trust is an unwavering acceptance of the other person as he is, and a sensitive reaching out for the best in him.
Thirdly, trust requires a gamble - a gamble of love, time, money, sometimes even our lives, on someone else. Trust will not always win. The man who trusts other men will make fewer mistakes than the one who distrusts them.

No great human achievement has ever been accomplished without trust. Nor has man been able to achieve greatness without trust. “Trust men and they will be true to you, treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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