What to Do If You Struggle with Trust

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Over the next few blogs, I would like to share some thoughts on the topic of trust, and to get your response.

Trust is fundamental to any relationship, critical in every aspect of our lives, and yet we struggle with how to talk about it. When we say, “I just don’t trust you” to someone, it rarely helps. It’s overwhelmingly painful to hear and it gives us no direction about what specifically needs to change.

Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston’s Graduate School of Social Work, who has tackled this in her, “The Anatomy of Trust.” In fact, she lays out a whole new definition and way of talking about trust.  As always, her storytelling is on par.

She explained how trust is a lot like a marble jar, which was a discipline and reward system her daughter’s teacher used in the classroom. If the class did positive things, marbles went in the jar and there’s a party when the jar is full. If the class did something negative, then marbles are taken out of the jar. When her daughter came home from school hurt and afraid to trust again because some friends broke her trust, Brown said to her, “Trust is like a marble jar. You share those hard stories and those hard things that are happening to you with friends who over time you’ve filled up their marble jar. They’ve done thing after thing after thing where you know you can trust this person.”

We often think trust is built by grand gestures at crucial moments in our lives, but trust is typically built with simplicity and small actions. After looking at the research Brown concludes, “It’s very clear. Trust is built in very small moments.”

How do you respond to what Dr. Brown has observed?  What do you think?

Until next time …


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