Trust is so important yet hard for so many people. This is especially true when trust has been broken at one time or another by a friend, co-worker, or family member.
Trust is key to our emotional health because it is foundational to all our relationships. It is easy to understand the importance of trust within family dynamics, life partnerships, and work settings. In order to be your authentic self, you must be able to trust those you live and work with. But what about trusting your medical provider, the news media, or government agencies? Do we put these entities through the same “trust test” as we do those closest to us?
What is trust? Is it based on behaviors, actions, and words? Is it a belief in the odds that someone or something will act or respond in a certain way? Is it dependability? Is it a feeling or mental attitude that provides security or confidence in another? Is it based on an emotional response founded in a complex neural process grounded in experiences? Yes! Trust encompasses and relies on all of these to help us decide what or who is trustworthy.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trust as both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it is defined as assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. One in which confidence is placed. As a verb, it is defined as an act of relying on truthfulness or accuracy as in to believe. To place confidence in someone or something as in to rely on them. To hope or expect confidently. So, trust in someone or something requires assurance, truth, accuracy, reliance, confidence, hope, and belief. Is it any wonder that humans lose trust in one another?
Relationships are built on trustworthiness, whether it is a family relationship, friendship, and work relationship. Workplaces that experience high levels of trust between employees and managers are also psychologically and emotionally healthy workplaces. Trust outcomes either increased or decreased as the result of an interaction. This is where the trust test is used unconsciously as people determine the trustworthiness of another based on their interaction. But the trust test can be used consciously as well.
The trust test is nothing more than a quick mental evaluation of trustworthiness. To complete your trust test, consciously evaluate an interaction based on trustworthiness qualities. Did the interaction reflect a tone, delivery, and engagement process of loyalty, openness, caring, fairness, availability, receptivity, consistency, reliability, and discreetness? Identify which qualities were present and which were lacking. You can also use these qualities to evaluate information, efficacy statements, or media reports you experience as well. Your answers will likely help you understand why an interaction, statement, or report increased or decreased your trust in the deliverer.
To be a risk-taker in a relationship, as an employee, or in believing information you must have trust. Use the trust test to begin assessing your interactions so you can build relationships that are built on a trustworthy foundation and developing a lifestyle well-being plan provides a strong foundation to help you get there.