why it's important to trust - mental health - therapy - California

Why It’s Important to Trust

What is Trust?

Trust is belief. It is the idea that we can rely on someone. Trust is having confidence that those people we rely on will be there when we need them most, and that they will try their best to not disappoint us. It is also knowing that despite any disappointments that come our way, we can believe and rely on our ourselves to get through it. Our ability to trust fundamentally influences how we view ourselves, others, and the world around us.

Trust is a foundational piece of our development. From the first breaths we take we start to test the people in our environment to see who can be relied on. We need to be confident that those around us will love us unconditionally and provide us with much needed emotional and physical care.

Is Trust Outweighed by Mistrust in your life?

When mistrust outweighs our ability to trust, we can experience problems in our life that are just hard to wrap our heads around. We start wondering things like:

Do I love what I do for work?

Am I a capable person?

Why am I in this relationship with this person?

What kind of relationship do I want…do I even want one right now?

Can I rely on other people?

How do I know who I can rely on?

Do I know what’s best for me?

Is the world just out to make life difficult for me?

When am I going to finally catch a break?

Can I rely on myself to make the right decision?

You can do a quick test to see if trust is outweighed by mistrust, it will require honesty and some silent reflection. Our purpose here is to flesh out your point of view on the idea of trust as it applies to your life experience. Think about the statement below and let your mind wonder for a few minutes in silence, don’t rush:

When I’m going through life’s challenges (emotionally, physically, or mentally) I know I can rely on_____ to help me get through it:

  1. Myself
  2. Others (friends, family, significant other)
  3. Both A and B
  4. None of the above

If the answer is not C, then mistrust is outweighing trust, and this could be impacting the way you feel toward yourself, how you act within your relationships, and how you see the world around you.

Where Does Mistrust Start?

If mistrust outweighs trust in our lives, then somewhere along the way we learned this. If you didn’t select answer C, then take a moment of silent reflection and think back to times in your life that support your point of view that you can’t rely on yourself and/or others. Ask yourself,

“…what proof do I have that supports my point of view… when did I learn this and who, or what, taught it to me…when has my point of view been proven right?”

The answers to these questions will be a starting off point for your exploration into understanding how mistrust may be affecting your life.

If you can’t figure this out on your own its ok, most of us do not understand the impact mistrust has over our daily lives. It’s working in the background, sometimes influencing us in ways that we are not even aware of. The one thing we do know for sure is that having mistrust outweigh trust in life does not serve us.

One thing that feeds mistrust is our own difficulty with tolerating the pain that comes when we are disappointed in ourselves or by another person. Disappointment is an inevitable part of life and of every relationship we will ever have. So, to trust in both ourselves and others means that we are also willing to accept and tolerate the reality of disappointment.

When we cannot tolerate the pain of being disappointed by ourselves or others, we run the risk of experiencing things like agitation, depression, anxiety, loneliness, anger, and fear. These experiences can lead to problems at work or school, and in our relationships.

How Mistrust Affects Our Lives

Imagine for a moment that a paid public speaker who, during a long speech in front of a large audience at a very important conference, stutters a few times. Now, in reality, this stutter was barely noticeable and for at least 90% of the audience it wasn’t something to even think about, they were too focused on how engaging and interesting the speech was. But for a moment let’s forgo reality and see what it’s like inside the mind of the speaker for whom mistrust outweighs trust:

Those barely noticeable stutters are instead, for our speaker, a loud thundering confirmation…” I sound so stupid like I’m a complete fool; I knew I couldn’t do this… I shouldn’t have tried… how the hell can I finish now, I can’t remember my speech…I want out of here so bad… this feels terrible…”

People in the audience who didn’t give the stuttering a second thought were now a perceived threat…” They are all going to laugh at me, they must think I’m a fool…I’m going to get awful reviews…this audience sucks they are impossible to make happy…those reviews are going to cost me my promotion!”

In this one moment our speaker is experiencing a few losses all at once. The loss of confidence, and trust in himself that he can make a mistake, learn from it, and still be good enough… after all he didn’t get to becoming public speaker by some fluke, he’s worked at it for years and during that time he’s had dozens of positive reviews!

In addition, there is a loss in trust and reliance on others. Our speaker has forgotten that other people can be relied on to help and not harm…after all who hasn’t made a mistake, no one is perfect, and a vast majority of the crowd knows this and won’t judge him as a failure. Instead, they’ll see him as human.

Mistrust will influence our perception of the world around us, lead to self-doubt, and threaten the relationships most important to us. The potential for it to influence our perception on things can’t be understated either. It can make it so that we barely pay attention to moments that show we can trust.

Does any of the following sound familiar?

Instead of seeing a friend trying to support us through a hard time, we see a person offering us pity and/or judgement because we can’t do things on our own

Rather than acknowledging what’s going right we focus on what could go wrong, almost as a way of preparing ahead of time

When being shown love and appreciation through an act of service we question the authenticity and intention of the act

In the face of life’s challenges, we see ourselves as lost or alone instead of self-reliant and confident that others will help us through

The list goes on and on and on…. can you think of some examples of how mistrust impacts your life?


How Therapy Helps You Build Trust

That first meeting you have with a therapist starts the trust building process. As you get to know your therapist, and they you, you’ll start a conversation around how you realized you struggle with trust. Eventually, a question will be explored…could the way I look at myself, other people, and the world around me, be based more on my unique perception/interpretation than on actual reality? Sometimes life teaches us not to trust, and to thrive in life we must unlearn this lesson.

It can also be helpful to start searching out past moments where trusting did pay off. Analyzing moments where another person came through for you and moments where you could rely on yourself are good for this.

It’ll also be important to talk about the risk of trusting. The risks are different for everyone depending on life experience, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of what’s on the line. One thing that is commonly risked when trusting is disappointment, and with-it feelings like anger, fear, resentment, and sadness, just to name a few.

There is no trust without the risk of disappointment, and disappointment is a part of life but remember IT’S NOT THE ONLY PART.  If you avoid trusting because life has taught you as much, you’re also limiting yourself from so much of what life and the people in it have to offer.

Let me help you to find the confidence to trust yourself and those people in your life who are close to you. Although trust comes with its risks, therapy can help you navigate the process as you learn how to trust, who to trust, and how to recover from disappointments so that you can live your life to the fullest. If you live in California, contact Christopher today and start building confidence and trust.

Posted by Christopher Jackson