What is the Nature of Trust?

My biggest a-ha lately is this: I don't trust anyone. It was a painful thing to learn. I've imagined myself the most accepting, open person. Yet, when I analyzed how I got to being chronically overwhelmed, I realized that it's because I think I have to do "it" all. Somehow, I believe even I can't be trusted, so I procrastinate, do and redo, and second-guess results I produce. Vicious little cycle, huh? I suppose that is partially the product of my open, possibility orientation (the N in my INFP). Still, since the MBTI® can't explain disorder (it only points to preferences), my state of chaos and being overwhelmed isn't necessarily a direct connection to my personality preferences. I clearly have some faulty beliefs from which to detach.

So, I got to thinking about the nature of trust. I did some reading and realized this is one big philosophical question that will require more than a few hours of browsing. For now, where I landed for the purpose of where I am in my life is this: trust is a belief that a person will do what he or she has expressed or has implied through engagement in a relationship, that being a promise of support. It's a certain acceptance of the way things are and of agreements - or "going on faith."

Self-trust is accepting yourself as you are and the decisions you've made. Accepting yourself requires a certain amount of self-awareness. Getting to know your strengths and living into them seems to be part of the pathway to self-trust. You don't need someone else to tell you what your strengths are. Your heart knows them. Still, I believe that sometimes we take them for granted or are so sucked in to the "you must be broken, Dear American" way of our culture that using tools other people have created can be helpful. Afterall, their creators generally have created them to help. I like the MBTI® (mentioned above) and Strengthsfinder. Just remember, they are only tools. At the end of the day you decide how to show up in the world.

Moving back to the concept of trust, what gets in the way of this trust, at least for me, are two factors: fear and perfectionism (which is probably an outgrowth of fear). Oddly enough, mistrust becomes a sort of protection against fear of failure or loneliness or being unaccepted or perhaps even death. I'll bet there are entire books on this subject.

Interestingly, I've thought for some time now that the key human emotion underlying the business concept of brand (I'm a Certified Brand Strategist) is trust. ABC Company says "our product or service will do _______ for you." That's the brand promise. If they deliver and the buyer or user is happy, the bond is strengthened. That's a topic for another day - or another blog post. (blog.discoverelementthree.com) So, I've thought a lot about trust in a business context, just not so much in an interpersonal one. Until now.

Clearly I have a lot to work out on this subject. In the meantime, I encourage you to share your thoughts on trust with me. Point me in the direction of good material. Give me examples of trust (or mistrust) that you've observed.