the importance of trust

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in our discussion on the previous post about gratitude. It was a good one. (It’s not too late to share your thoughts on that one if you’d like.)

In today’s post, I’d like to talk about the importance of trust in our lives and relationships.

To trust means to put one’s faith in someone or something. To have confidence in someone or something. To be free of doubt or suspicion.

A terrific quote about trust by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a 19th century American poet, resonated with me: “Self-trust is the first secret to success.” So true! If we don’t have trust in ourselves, no one else will trust us either. And if no one has faith in our abilities, we are highly unlikely to succeed.

So trust begins at home–within ourselves. But it is so important to be sure that we trust those in our immediate lives and show them that we have that trust. Remember the old adage, Show Don’t Tell. Our actions speak louder than words, and when action we take implies a lack of trust, it plants the seed for a reciprocal lack of trust. And a spiral of darkness often results that is the beginning of the end–to a business relationship, a friendship, or a marriage.

I really think that people take the virtue of trust too lightly. At least some people do, and the result is that some people make their way through life never learning how to put their faith in someone or how to completely trust someone.

I may be naive in some regards when it comes to trust. But I would rather be trusting, and get the occasional (virtual) bruise, than live my life by infusing doubt and suspicion into my relationships–whether they be business or personal.

Let’s talk about trust. Have you found a lack of trust changed the way you felt about someone? Or created an inability to work or live with someone? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you’re ever looking for a complete list of virtues, you’ll find it at this site. And if you’re looking for more in-depth discussions on virtues, Stacey Porto has a great site in Virtues for Life.


Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

49 Responses

  1. Ditto to Doreen…trust is indeed important. I have been told that I am too trusting that’s why I’ve suffered a lot of bruises but like she said I can’t go around mistrusting people.
    Sherill Torres recently posted…What Kind of Degree Do You Need to Become a Life Coach?My Profile

  2. lynne says:

    Definitely true. Trust is a very important in any aspect of life but be very careful who we trust, take time out to get to know people first. Thanks for sharing a very enlightening post.

  3. Catarina says:

    Agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson that “Self-trust is the first secret to success”. It really is a pity that so many people today have self confidence but low self esteem and hence don’t trust themselves.

    Am a person who trusts others but have from working on a global scale learnt that you have to be really careful in business. If not, you will be taken to the cleaners. On a personal level it’s easier. The worst that can happen is after all that you are bruised. Unless you lend “a friend” all your money:-)
    Catarina recently posted…What do you know about economic growth in Nigeria?My Profile

  4. Actually I think most people take the issue of trust very seriously, they’re just not always comfortable talking about it. I’ve written about trust a few times and the responses from readers quite often indicates how many people are carrying around hurt in their hearts over lost trust. In truth I believe trust is one of the easiest things to lose, and one of the hardest to regain.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…A Very Inspiring Blogger AwardMy Profile

  5. A good topic Doreen
    The one thing that I think I have learned most about trust is that it takes a lot of work to gain someone’s trust but not very long at all to lose it. Cherish the trust you have with someone and don’t take it for granted.

  6. Tim says:

    Earned trust is one of the most solid platforms from which to build a relationship. Like all of us, I would think, I have trusted and been wrong but when it’s right it’s really really right.
    Tim recently posted…Broadening HorizonsMy Profile

    • Lucky you, Tim, for having struck it “really, really right.”

      What happens when “earned trust” isn’t enough to combat the negativity of another?
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the importance of trustMy Profile

      • Tim says:

        Trustworthiness and negativity can live in the same person side by side. Just because one quality is appealing to you (trust) that does not mean you have to put up with the other. This would be a risk / reward type of situation where a friendship would be qualified using all facets.
        Tim recently posted…Broadening HorizonsMy Profile

  7. I tend to be a trusting person but I had to learn. I think you begin to build trust as a child and if you can’t trust your parents to do what they say will do you grow up distrusting people. My parents weren’t always there for me. It’s not something I hold against them (both deceased) because I think they did the best they could. But you can’t have trust without honesty.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Maybe Social Media Isn’t the Way to Promote Your BusinessMy Profile

    • SO true, Jeannette. You absolutely can’t have trust without honesty. Too bad some people can’t learn that lesson.

      I just saw the movie “the Wrestler” starring Micky Rourke on the weekend. He had let his daughter down so many times when she was a kid that she wanted nothing to do with him. He pleaded his way back into her life and them promptly let her down again. She was devastated and evicted him permanently from her life.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the importance of trustMy Profile

  8. Linda says:

    Great topic, Doreen!
    I really like that you mentioned how lack of self-trust can impact how we are viewed by other people. This makes me think about “self-trust” vs self-confidence. Are they the same thing? I often feel lacking in confidence, but I always trust that I will work as hard as it takes to get a task accomplished, even when the task at hand has me quivering in my boots.
    Linda recently posted…Heels, falls, and the newsMy Profile

    • Interesting differentiation that you have made, Linda. I would have thought that self-trust and self-confidence are the same thing. But hearing your interpretation leads me to believe they can indeed be different. Thx for sharing your thoughts.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the importance of trustMy Profile

  9. It is indeed important to trust ourselves. I really like your point on being sure that we let the people close to us know that we trust them. We can do it by demonstrating it – not telling them just how to do something but supporting their efforts. A little reminder, “I trust you” verbally is good too.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Client Attraction, How Do I Do It?My Profile

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Beth. What bothers me is when someone says they trust me and then their actions show that may not be true. So sad when people let past scars prevent them from healing and enjoying the present and future.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the importance of trustMy Profile

  10. Lenie says:

    Hi Doreen, I’m one of those people who trust first, which may or may not be a good thing with some people. But until proven wrong, I will continue to carry on this way. My trust has been abused at times and this was especially difficult when it was by a valued employee but then others appreciated the trust I placed in them. I guess it all works out in the end – score tied.
    Lenie recently posted…Frugal FavouritesMy Profile

  11. Hi Doreen, im like you. If anything I’m a little too trusting, but that’s just part of my character. I’d rather be that way though and get let down a few times a long the way, than be one of those people who gets hurt once and then can just never trust anyone again. They really are no fun to be around and have that constant chip on their shoulder.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Mimosas My Way: #Wine #CocktailMy Profile

    • Absolutely, Susan. You’ve hit the nail on the head! People who are heavily influenced by past negative experiences really DO carry a chip on their shoulders, and it influences all of their relationships. Thx for the positivity you emit into my world. 🙂
      WizardOfWords recently posted…my 10 catalysts of gratitudeMy Profile

  12. Harry Hobbs says:

    Wow Doreen! You’ve picked a hot one here. Trust impacts us in so many ways and so many levels. Those of us of a religious vent are taught to put faith in God and trust that life will work out as it should provided we make the best with the choices we have been given,. We’ve all had bad experiences sometimes one right after the other – I think of my dating experiences back in the late 60’s and early seventies. Yet not giving up made me glad I never stopped trusting. We live in a world of great distrust. It is interesting this has now spread even to science. People distrust scientists and their motivation believing these people can be bought off to keep knowledge from us or expound the theory they want believed. As a cat lover like myself you also appreciate the trust and unconditional love our pets offer us. Wish all people could be like that.

    • Yay, Harry! Thx for joining the conversation!

      So true about pets. I thought of Jimmy when I was writing this post as you’re so right. When pets love, they fully trust you.

      And I also like your reference to science and how their integrity can be questioned. That exact subject has recently come up in the world of chocolate, as it appears that the mega chocolate companies paid for the studies that ‘discovered’ the many health benefits of chocolate. And the debate continues …
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the importance of trustMy Profile

  13. Stacey says:

    Very insightful post Doreen! Trust is a very important in any relationship. I think it’s always difficult when you give yourself to a person or to something (like a job) and then the rug gets pulled right out from under you, and you are faced with an unexpected loss. I think it’s the way people bounce back from this kind of thing that makes all the difference, just to trust again in spite of past experiences makes us strong, resilient people however difficult it can be. With faith and trust, opportunities can come about and often people land in an even better place in life. At least this has been mostly my experience. I believe everything happens for a reason, either to help us grow and/or put us on a new path
    Stacey recently posted…20 Kindness Quotes to Inspire GreatnessMy Profile

  14. A.K.Andrew says:

    Trust is one of those tricky ones in that it takes a long time to build butcan be destroyed in the blink of an eye. I know the people I trust unequivocally but I confess that it takes me time with new people I meet though some make it easier to do than others. I think we live in a society that engenders mistrust & it’s a tough balance to keep ones self open to people & not be naive & allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Good series of posts Doreen:-)
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Rebecca Whitney: The Liar’s Chair & Traditional PublishingMy Profile

  15. Ken Dowell says:

    I think this all starts with trusting your parents. That’s what teaches you how to trust other people and if you don’t trust your parents you probably have a hard time learning to trust others. I like your approach of erring on the side of being trusting. Not sure I always do that.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…The 1890 Travel Blogger: WonderlandMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment, Ken. And for being the first man to participate in the discussion. It’s interesting how this series of posts about happiness, gratitude and trust has drawn an almost all female audience. Don’t we all equally care about the importance of virtues?

      And, yes. I think you’re right about the importance of our parents in our ability to trust. If they give us confidence, we have trust in our abilities, and in turn, more trust in others.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…my 10 catalysts of gratitudeMy Profile

  16. I’m with you, Doreen. I’d rather be trusting, and give the benefit of the doubt wherever I can.
    That said, I’ve had my trust severely tested, but when that happens, and the person has made amends to win back my trust, it has been stronger than ever. There is something to forgiveness being a gift you give to yourself, but you have to give that gift to those who have “wronged” you–if at all possible. Sometimes it’s not possible, and there will be some people for whom all trust is broken. So be it.
    I’d still rather live in a world where more of us trust each other, and I am forever optimistic that things can always get better.

  17. Erica says:

    I love the point you make of show, don’t tell. It makes me sad when someone trusts someone based on their words, when their action are clearly negating what they say. I went through a bit of that when I was younger. I’ve learned to expect more than words for trust, but also how to feel safe and protected when someone demonstrates they are truly trustworthy.
    Erica recently posted…Negative Self-Talk – How to Stop Your Mean Inner-CriticMy Profile

  18. With regard to gratitude, one of my very favorite quotes is, “Gratitude changes all perception.” (mine) Aside from gratitude, nothing is more important than trust. We are truly interdependent in this world and we must be able to trust others and ourselves, or we could not live. In my personal relationships, I use my intuition as well as experience to know whether I trust someone. I think knowing is a stronger word to describe trust, than is faith. If someone betrays my trust, I am understanding, but I may not trust them again.

  19. Because my approach to people is open and honest, I have always assumed that I am being treated in the same manner. That has not always been the case…in fact, where it hasn’t, the hurt has been huge. But I do try so very hard not to become jaded… I never want to be that bitter person. There is absolutely no joy in that. I think that unkind people deserve more kindness…they really must need it
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Gloomy… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Thanks for your comment, Jacquie. I’m so glad I’m not that bitter person. Can you imagine how much of a downer that must be???
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the importance of trustMy Profile

    • I agree with Jacqueline–I approach people the way I want them to approach me–as if what they are saying is true. This has crushed me many times, but I can’t really be any other way and have given up trying to be more leery. Someone else mentioned gut-instinct and I think that paying attention to that is helpful. Our instincts and intuitions can alert us to whether or not someone is truthful–most of the time. Deep trust takes years to build and sometimes people forget that and that is is a tenuous hold that requires ongoing communication. Good topic!
      Rose M Griffith recently posted…Snotnose 38 and Other Childhood TraumasMy Profile

      • Thanks so much for your comment, Rose. I think the problem that I’ve encountered on occasion is that I’ve ignored the little voice inside me that is warning me of a certain person or transaction. Lord, how I wish I hadn’t ignored that little voice (or the voice of my husband!) who tried to warn me about those timeshare salespeople. Worst mistake I ever made. Talk about a breach of trust!
        WizardOfWords recently posted…the importance of trustMy Profile

  20. Is it trusting others as the issue or trusting ourselves?
    I find that our preconceived judgment about others and not being able to trust others is rooted from our inner mistrust.

  21. I follow my instincts. Sometimes it’s not the right call, but not always. Still, I go by that premise – honest unless proven otherwise.

    • Right on, Suzanne. I think our instincts are usually spot on. I have a problem with people saying one thing and doing another. How can we trust someone who is not true to their word? (Oh, wow. This discussion seems to be heading in the direction of timeshare salespeople!) 🙂
      WizardOfWords recently posted…my 10 catalysts of gratitudeMy Profile

  22. I could have chosen to distrust everyone after the abuse I suffered as a child. I was one of the lucky ones. I had people like my grandfather in my life who were wonderful human beings and I trusted them with all my heart. I could have chosen to be distrustful of others as an adult, and some say I should have, but I decided to trust others until they proved to me they couldn’t be trusted. I have been both validated and disappointed over the years, but I prefer to first look for the good in man.
    Peggy M McAloon recently posted…Help for DepressionMy Profile

    • Right on, Peggy! As long as we learn something from the situation where our trust has been violated, we can move forward with a positive spirit, vs choosing to paint everyone with the same black brush. Thanks for starting the discussion on this post. Always great to have you drop by. 🙂
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the importance of trustMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge