How many, if any, people do you completely, 100% trust?
Short answer: one. My wife of 38 years. Yet, at the same time, by some people’s standards, she is probably the person in the world that I should mistrust the most. She knows my deep dark secrets, even the ones I don’t know about. She knows my bad habits, even if I don’t think that they are all that bad. And she knows all the stupid mistakes I have made throughout my life, yes they were stupid!
Longer answer: I had major problems with trust during my formative years and into adulthood. Not all parents are the kind, warm and fuzzy types. I learned that many people had ulterior motives when they befriend you or start paying attention to you. I had trust issues when I first married. I was preparing myself to prevent future hurting. It didn’t happen and the feeling of mistrust eventually extinguished itself.
Early in my career working as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry, I researched the field of trust and came up with a concept that works for me. I have shared the concept many times working as a nurse therapist.
The question asked ‘how many people do you truly and completely trust?”, then it adds the 100% qualifying criteria.
I believe that the concept of 100% isn’t truly understood. I find that many people view the concept of trust like an electrical light switch. In its down position, i.e. being off, you have absolutely no trust in the other individual. Conversely, in the on position you have 100% trust in the person. Where we are likely to hear in conversation “I don’t trust that guy …” We don’t often hear “I trust that guy and you should to!”
Using the light switch again as an example, I believe it is more important to view people’s trust level as a dimmer switch. A dimmer switch allows us to have the amount of light that we choose. We will meet people in life that we know right away that we do not trust. Often the hair raises on the back of our neck. This is a primal instinct to protect ourselves. This person is dangerous, do not trust them!
We likely have hundreds of people that we interact with during our daily lives. Some we have gotten to know to greater depths, e.g. work colleagues. Some have become close friends. And others are acquaintances i.e. people we know superficially. Should we trust any of these people 100% or not at all?
This is where the dimmer switch comes into play. You can rate the individual’s trustworthiness by how trustworthy they have been to you, in the past. At first glance, that seems like a ‘no-brainer.’ I also view an individual’s trustworthiness on a scale. They can go up and down on the scale depending on their performance.
They can have a high rating if they have proven themselves to be worthy of my trust. I emphasize the word my because we all create our own reality. My reality is different then anyone else’s. Somebody that I mistrust may very well be somebody else’s most trustworthy person.
If an individual betrays your trust, should they go back to a zero rating on the old TrustO Meter, never to be trusted again, or should they go to a very low reading and start building trust again? This is a question that you have to answer for yourself.
The opposite of !00% trust in people, is no trust at all. This is scary and likely manifests itself as paranoid thinking. This is truly distressful for those individuals.
I recall an example of the degrees of trust from an old Tony Robins tape recording. He was counselling a woman who said that she had absolutely no trust in anybody. He asked her how she got to the meeting. She replied that she had drove. He responded with something to the effect of “Did you trust all of the drivers on the other side of the road to stay on their side of the road?” As I drive a lot, I definitely project that feeling of trust 100%. But if see someone wandering into my lane … well, meet Mr. Horn!
Thanks for your question! I trust my response has shone some light on to the topic of trust.
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Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.