The best relationships are built and maintained on mutual respect and trust. This truism has been affirmed throughout the ages in relationships of personal and social natures. Trust is important in human relationships and in our relationships with other animals.
Proof of the power of trust is observable in our personal lives. We notice that carefully nurtured trust can be crushed in an instant of betrayal. We have all been betrayed by others and we have all probably betrayed others so we understand trust on the human level very well. The same principle holds true in the rest of the animal kingdom, as well. We only need observe the relationships of people with their pets or domestic animals to notice this. Albert Einstein’s apt observation about trust is noteworthy. “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.”
I wish there was a simpler, better way to determine whether or not someone is trustworthy than trial and error, the way it’s normally done. As it is now, we have to let down our guard or skepticism, then grant trust as a gift on ever greater matters. Our gamble is then rewarded or we get burned. A measure of naïve trust is the traitor’s most important tool.
The trouble is that at some point in a relationship, we must extend some sort of naïve faith and trust in order to foster and grow that relationship. There seems to be an innate need in humans and animals to be able to trust one another in order for us to thrive. We need to know someone who we can trust. To have the security provided by mutual trust is to enhance one another’s mental and physical well-being.
We are in a period of constant crises of trust. Leaders in the highest religious and secular positions have violated trust by neglecting basic integrity and truthfulness. Basic ethical standards have been swept under the rug in the pursuit of personal wealth and power. The betrayals have hurt the nation along with the rank and file citizens who had granted their trust to these leaders. It will be a long, difficult struggle to reaffirm the public trust in our institutions.
When we set high standards for ourselves we are rewarded with enthusiasm and positive energy. We discover shared social goals that lift up everyone and provide us with a sense of real purpose. It is through trust that we meaningfully and deeply connect with one another.
We have a lot of trust issues these days. The time has come to sincerely work on them.