The Essence of Trust

  “First trust yourself, then you will know how to live.”

~Johann W. von Goethe

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “I wonder if she’s being straight with me?” Or, “I just don’t feel I can trust him.”

For many, the real issue is learning to trust yourself. Because when you trust yourself, you instinctively know when someone else is trustworthy. When you look inside yourself for answers, you know when you can trust information outside yourself.

From personal experience, I find that when I live from a place of trusting myself I attract people who deserve my trust. And the reverse is also true: when I feel unsure about myself, I tend to attract people who are not as trusting or trustworthy.

Does the same hold true for you?

Trust has a distinct and discernible vibration and you can feel it. It’s called instinct and when you’re in tune with the high frequency vibration of trust you “know it in your bones.” Trust comes from a state of intuitive knowing; it’s not a fact based phenomenon.

Your capacity for trust is directly related to your willingness to trust yourself first. And by extension, other people. Your capacity for trust influences your perceptions and beliefs which influence your behavior. And behavior is what builds or breaks trust.

Dr. Duane C. Tway, Jr. defines trust as, “the state of readiness for unguarded interaction with someone or something.” That same construct was articulated by Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) who suggested that Ethos, the Trust of a speaker, was based on the listener’s perception of three characteristics of the speaker:

  • Intelligence
  • Character
  • Goodwill

Little has changed today.

Not surprisingly, the attribute most widely associated with trustworthy behavior is integrity. This vital aspect of good behavior is demonstrated through conscientious honesty and moral courage. Put simply, if you want people to trust you, they must believe that you will consistently do the right thing, regardless of circumstances or pressures.

As you examine trust in your life, remember and appreciate these five trust “truths:”

  1. Trust is a two-way street; you get it if you give it.
  2. Trust has to be earned. If you broke the trust, it’s possible to regain it but the trust breaker doesn’t get to set the expectations or time frame for earning it back.
  3. To regain somebody’s trust both sides have to want the trust back. You can never force a person to trust you.
  4. Trust is an essential past of ALL successful relationships be they academic, romantic, friendly or familial.
  5. Trust is a gift – you give it and your receive it. It should never be taken for granted.

4 thoughts on “The Essence of Trust

  1. Pingback: I was in the neighbourhood… | Wasted times.

  2. Thank you for your post.
    I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Tway a number of times when he was on the faculty of Walden University. He has a very interesting trust instrument in his dissertation on a Construct of Trust.
    There are a number of instruments out there that measure trust. But I tend to agree with you. It is an intuitive instinct. Little did I know when I heard him speak at one of the residency sessions that I would be embarking on research concerning trust. When i spoke to him last i believe he was living in Arizona. I think he has moved to Florida now.

    Do you know of any quantitative instruments that measure organizational trust that are in public domain? I have foiund a few, but they all seem to focus on corporate logistics.

  3. Hello Eric,
    To reply to your question in this post:
    “Does the same hold true for you?” Yes, Eric, it does…
    This is an excellent and well-written article. Beyond that, I love the subject matter.
    Thank you,

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