To not trust others shuts us off to ourselves too

To trust others is a delicate boundary in human relationships and not trusting is a potential source of self-limitation. Let’s look at where we often don’t trust. It is commonly stated that trust in various kinds of public figures and professions is at a low ebb. A range of scandals, exposes and crises in the last few years has lowered many in public esteem, including in the UK politicians (the expenses scandal), bankers and financial services (the 2008 crash), and journalists (the hacking scandal). Some go on to say that trust in general is weak, although in hard times that might not be surprising. Trust in others is a potentially scarce resource, and not just in public affairs. We may worry that we might get robbed, be the victim of a scam, get flooded out, be bullied, be made redundant, or have our children be abused. The list may seem endless. No wonder people don’t let their children out to play for fear of what might happen, and then they don’t get enough exercise and get overweight.

It’s worth exploring how far we don’t trust others in general and are fear-bound. There are those who would argue, for example, that when we don’t trust, we close down positive creativity and as per the Law of Attraction get what we don’t want, what we fear. By contrast, to open up and  trust, whatever the situation, paradoxically draws to us a circle of safety. If we view our world as safe, we get safety. It will depend on what we think, and the disposition of our minds.

Trust is about openness and vulnerability. It is a state of letting go, a willingness to rely on others, a state of receptivity to what can come to us that is positive and a belief that it will be OK. If we are more in the moment, are more attuned to others, to accept and feel connected to them, we are more likely to trust. Connectivity to others is part of our essential selves as human beings. We need this connectivity. After all we learn about our relationships through our attachment to our parents as children and intrinsic to most children is that of trust, vulnerability and safety. Our negative experiences around others cause us to close down our vulnerability to protect ourselves. Yet this can be healed.

If we are more fear-orientated, we shut down on our attunement to ourselves and our positive feelings. We find it harder to be in the moment and to access the potential that is available to us when we are in a state of “beingness”.

Thus an important part of personal growth is to experiment with trust, to be in a state of “intentional vulnerability”, where we are more open to our inner experiencing and allow ourselves to make sensing contact with others, to learn to let go of our protective layer and in return allow in the immense positivity that is possible when we are truly open, available and receptive to others. Mindfulness training is a great way to do this, with its emphasis on awareness of inner experiencing.

Thus too it is worth challenging where we reduce our trust, and look to ways to re-open ourselves to others and let go of barriers. That way we give ourselves more freedom and possibility for the richness of being with our fellow humans and all of Life.