When you ask most people about losing trust the primary thing you hear is that lying causes them to stop trusting somebody. I get it, and that’s probably why there is so much mistrust out there; but here’s the thing, who do you know that doesn’t lie? I’ll wait – humming Jeopardy theme. We all lie. We lie to avoid, protect, cover up, or throw off the scent. We lie because the truth is painful or simply just because. If your reason for not trusting someone is because they’ve lied, you might want to delve a little deeper into the reason for not trusting them, otherwise you will have to put yourself on the list of people you can’t trust. Or are your lies justified?
I asked people about their views on trust and this was the response that I loved most: “…people prove over time if they are snakes, sometimes fate shows their true colors, sometimes people’s alliances change … it’s the character of the person through circumstances and choices that reveals their trustworthiness … [I] cannot tell who to trust with anything when I first meet them, so [I] will extend trust on loan, like a credit card, make your payments on time I’ll raise your limit”. The reason that I liked this response so much was because the speaker never mentioned dishonesty.
Your character will speak very loudly for and about you. How do you treat people? When things are good in your life, and then when they’re not so good. Is your character dictated by how you ‘feel’? Can you consistently treat people the same way no matter what? Can you look past their flaws the way you expect yours to be overlooked? How do you treat people when you absolutely know they are lying? I’m not saying don’t call them on their crap, but how do you call them out? And do you respond in kind when called out on yours?
One thing that I desperately tried to avoid with my children was making promises unless there was no shadow of a doubt that I could deliver. My go to answer was "I’ll do my best to make it happen". I can still identify the feelings of disappointment from parents/guardians who made promises that were unfulfilled. And believe it or not, children know when you’ve given it your best shot; they are always watching you. Children may not have a full understanding of trust, but they need reassurances and they can detect your crap; they just aren’t able to call you on it. They will understand very quickly who they can or can’t count on. People say that children are good judges of character; that may or may not be true, but they are acutely aware of the lesson(s) you’re teaching them. I believe that trust – or the lack of – is learned behavior early in childhood.
I’ll never forget when I was called on the carpet and my character brought into question. It was by one of my granddaughters when she was 8 or 9 years old. I don’t know if she was fully aware of what she was doing, but I admired her for needing to know where I stood. Not all my grandchildren are biologically mine, but they are mine nonetheless. I’ve never questioned whether or not they knew that, because they will never be able to tell you that they were treated differently by GiGi. This grandchild, who we will call Poopie, was expecting a little sister. The only one of my sons and his wife together. She knew that he wasn’t her dad and that I was his mom and one plus one was two. When I went to see my new first biological granddaughter for the first time, taking gifts for the three daughters that they already had, because that was my custom, she called me out.
I must also inform you that she is a most sarcastic young lady. I fully expect her to grow up to be a prosecutor. This same child at about 5 or 6 years of age was laying on the floor reading the newspaper. I asked her what she was reading, to which she responded – The Crime Blotter. So, I asked her if she’d seen anybody in there that she knew; her response: not yet. In no way disrespectful so I simply said ok.
As I was loving on my new granddaughter, Poopie asked me who was I to the baby. I told her I was her grandmother. Then she asked me what did that make HER? My answer to her was that she was my oldest granddaughter; she looked at me for a moment, then went out to play. I was moved deep inside of my soul and that lesson was very valuable to me. She wanted reassurance of where we stood, and she certainly has it. She would never be made to feel less than any other child in my family, and to my knowledge she never has.
Character traits – those valued aspects of your behavior. Make sure that integrity is among your traits, because so much louder than your words, it will let it be known if you are someone To Trust or Not To Trust. Fret not, we are all a work in progress.