Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Who can you trust?

Actually, it is not WHO can you trust; it is WHAT can you trust. You can’t trust a person, but you can trust what they are.

You ever thought about how much we trust as we drive our cars about roads and highways? Travelling at high speeds in heavy vehicles just feet from other vehicles, and sometimes those vehicles are travelling in the opposite direction. How do we do this with confidence? Because we trust that other drivers are looking out for themselves. We trust that other drivers do not want an accident, or injury, or death. Just as we don’t want those things. We trust in the self-serving nature of humans.

So on the roads and highways; so in life.

Trust is considered an important component in any relationship. What exactly are we trusting? We trust the other person will keep our best interests in the forefront of their thinking and behavior. We trust they will not hurt us. We trust they will provide us support and comfort. We trust they will not offend or betray us. We want that in our relationships.

Can you really trust another person to always keep your best interests in mind? The answer has to be no. What you can trust, however, is that a person will always keep their best interests in mind. In terms of a relationship how can you know if you can trust what a person is? How can you have confidence in the other person’s interests?

I could talk about mutual concerns and activities while respecting differences. I could talk about building a life together so you are “in the same boat.” I could talk about controlling what you can control, leading by example; you be there for the other, you be loyal, you earn trust. But our society is replete with examples of broken trust where the above conditions existed.

How can you trust?

Let’s close with a quote from Star Trek: The Next Generation:

RIKER: In all trust there is the possibility of betrayal. I’m not sure you were prepared for that.
DATA: Were you prepared, sir?
RIKER: I don’t think anybody ever is.
DATA: Then it is better not to trust?
RIKER: Without trust there is no friendship, no closeness. None of the emotional bonds that make us who we are.
DATA: And yet you put yourself at risk.
RIKER: Every single time.

Every single time.

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