Trust Trust Baby

Let’s talk about trust, baby! Building and maintaining trust. We all want it. We often even use it as a catch all phrase for what we want in relationships or what we like about a relationship we’re in- both platonic and romantic. 

So how do we build that trust? And if I may pose a more difficult question, how can we REBUILD trust? 

SUCH GREAT QUESTIONS.

We all know how easy it is to lose trust. A split decision- a moment of weakness- not think everything through- impulsivity – temptation. We’ve all been there. On both sides of the coin. 

Often, if we are on the receiving end of betrayal, we then give the “opportunity” and “expectation” to rebuild trust. But we forget to communicate what exactly trust means to each of us and what exactly we need to do for one another for trust to be rebuilt.

This happens with spouses and children ALL the time. A spouse loses trust through infidelity. A child loses trust by lying about homework. They are then posed with the option and challenge to gain back trust, often without the boundaries and definition of what trust means and steps to rebuild said trust. If each person has a different definition and expectation {or worse- no expectation, simply the vague idea of trust} they are left chasing a moving finish line. And only have the opportunity to fail. 

We build trust with clarity, actions, and communication. It’s the little actions and communication that build up over time. I know what you’re thinking- what a vague answer! And yes- yes it is. While trust is consistent across many people as a value, there are also little intricacies individuals need based on their past attachment and past interactions. Because of this, trust to each person looks a little different. 

Experts in the field have come up with different formulas to build and rebuild trust. I like to believe that because as humans, we are all so wonderfully and beautifully made, success in trust comes when you put together the advice of multiple experts. 

Gottman created a “trust metric” and an acronym to build trust. He explains that trust is built slowly over time through ATTUNEMENT

Awareness

Turning toward

Tolerance

Understanding

Non-defensive responding

Empathy

Brene brown shares her marble jar analogy. That in the small moments our loved ones show up for us, they continue to fill our marble jar. She goes on to break down her anatomy of trust to boundaries, reliability, accountability, vault, integrity, non-judgement, and generosity.  

Each expert has areas that overlap and areas that are unique to their research. I venture to say, trust is built through a combination of both formulas. We find what we need in our relationship to build trust based on our values combined with our partners values. 

And what would a blog be without a brain based reason for why we feel the way we feel?! Trust- is also based on science! When we experience betrayal, our cortisol spikes {aka our stress hormones}. Berglund (2015) explains that researchers have correlated that our ventral striatum {associated with positive emotions and reward system} and medial prefrontal cortex {associated with our perceptions of others} experience heightened activity together when we have positive social interactions- particularly with those we are closely connected with. Through our small interactions, we are activating those areas of our brain and associating positive emotions with those specific loved ones- slowly building trust. See- it’s science! 

Everyone has a different formula. What is yours? Today may the day where you open up communication in your relationships {romantic, platonic, familial} and talk about what trust means and looks like for you!

*The information contained herein is not therapeutic advice nor a substitute for therapy. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health problem. If you are located within the United States and you need emergency assistance please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are located within Colorado you may also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 844-493-TALK (8255).

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