I’m actually “on record” as saying that I basically don’t trust anyone. Well, when I really think about it, that’s not totally true. I trust EVERYONE, just in an odd way! I trust people to hurt me, frustrate me, tick me off, and generally let me down. And for me, that’s somehow all right. I know these things happen, especially with those who are closest to me! And believe me, my friends pretty much trust me to do the same for them.
What I’m getting at is that we have to be careful with what I call “the deification of trust”. This is where otherwise healthy “emotional trust” morphs into unnatural demands for predictability. We have to be careful not to elevate “emotional trust” to proportions where we hold people hostage to the unrealistic standards of personal insecurity and fear. This essentially cripples others in their healthy flexibility, stifles change, and turns them into robots.
Worse yet, when we rely on demands for “emotional trust” in order to feel comfortable, we fail to develop what I refer to as “the trusting character”. A “trusting character” is necessary for personal flexibility, spontaneity, and appropriate risk. A “trusting character” is essential if we desire to help others to grow through offering them the same freedoms. More than a personal emotional experience, trust is a character trait we are wise to develop, especially if we aspire to be agents of change in the lives of others.
So exactly what is a “trusting character”? A “trusting character” has at least eight defining characteristics, and I’ll list them as a starting point for your consideration of this construct.
- A “trusting character” is proactive, always ahead of the offense with a loving stance, and it’s rarely taken by surprise with what people do.
- A “trusting character” is realistic, knowing and accepting the fallibility of its fellow human beings.
- A “trusting character” knows that while others may be hurtful, frustrating, angering, and disappointing at times, they also know that deep inside they desire not to be that way. Good faith is the “trusting character’s” basis for connectedness.
- A “trusting character” acts with “just right” boundaries, and allows a healthy “margin of error” for natural humanity to occur, and within which the other can grow.
- A “trusting character” is strong with grace, and always prepared to cover offenses with a beckoning love, inviting others to reflect and “self-correct”.
- A “trusting character” has a commitment to growth, and always takes the long view with itself, and with others. It knows instinctively that growth is a process (complete with “growing pains”), and that no one is ever “a final, finished product”.
- A “trusting character” seizes the mission of raising up mature people, and ever adjusts itself to these ends.
- A “trusting character” views trust as a gift to give, and it possesses the wisdom that over time, it will stimulate growth, and cultivate a trustworthy individual.
A “trusting character” is free to be more concerned with the emotional environment that it creates for others than it is with its own emotional safety. This is because a “trusting character” knows that love is the best “coping strategy” in relating with others. A “trusting character” knows that love is the true foundation for healthy relationships, and great relationship outcomes!
The bottom line is this, if you want to stimulate others to grow, then they have to feel free to make the mistakes that come with flexibility and spontaneity. And yes, sometimes in this “dance”, people will hurt you, they will frustrate you, they will tick you off, and they will let you down. The question is whether you want to give them the “growth curve” of a large, spacious meadow in which to roam, graze, and grow, or corral them into an eight-by-ten box where they will wither and die.
The Simple Encouragement® Movement is dedicated to creating Simply Encouraging® interactions and environments for the actualization of all people, young and old. Demonstrating “trusting characters” that cultivate fully developed people is a part of the process. I trust that as you integrate this construct into your being, you will begin to see its transforming power. In exercising a “trusting character”, you begin to leave a quiet but powerful legacy of leading change in the hearts of those you touch. And that’s a legacy worth aiming for!
The Trusting Character
Copyright © 2010 Thomas Waterhouse and Simple E Creations, Inc. All rights reserved.
Simple Encouragement and Simple Encouraging are trademarks of Simple E Creations, Inc.