Braving to Build Trust



In my last blog, I related how in relationships, we all have opportunities to build trust or betray the trust of another.  To choose not to connect when the opportunity is there, to decide to ‘turn away’ from our partner and choose not to meet their need, is a moment of betrayal. However, in those moments when we choose to ‘turn towards’ our partner and help address his or her need, in our willingness to connect, are we doing the important work of building trust.

Trust and betrayal is found in our willingness to connect with one another.

Brene Brown helps to build our understanding of trust by giving us a language to talk about it. She says, “When we trust, we are braving connection with someone.”

So what is trust?

Brown conveniently gives us the acronym B-R-A-V-I-N-G, which are the components or anatomy of trust:

B – Boundaries I promise to hold my own boundaries and respect yours both personally and professionally.  There is not trust without boundaries.

R – Reliability I promise to do what I say I’m going to do, not once, but over and over and over again.  I can only trust you if you do what you say you’ll do.

A – Accountability I promise to own, apologize, and make amends for what I do that hurts you.  I can only trust you if when you make a mistake, you’re willing to own it, apologize for it and make amends.  I can only trust you if when I make a mistake, I am allowed to own it, apologize and make amends.

V – Vault I promise that what I share with you I will hold in confidence, and I expect the same.  I acknowledge that telling even my closest friends a confidence shows I am untrustworthy.  I can only trust you if I know you can keep a confidence.

I – Integrity I promise to always act from a place of integrity. Brown’s definition of integrity: “Choosing courage over comfort, choosing what’s right over what’s fun, fast or easy, and practicing your values not just professing your values.”

N – Non-judgment I promise that you and I can fall apart and that you can ask me for help without judgment.  You and I both can struggle and ask for help without judgment.

G – Generosity I promise you can always assume generously about my actions and I will do the same for you.  Our relationship is only a trusting relationship if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions and behaviours.  And then check in with me.


Using this language helps to decipher where the problem might be in building trust in relationships with those closest to us.

How can these seven components or elements of trust be used as a tool to understand and talk about trust in your relationship(s)?

Until next time …

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