Are you naturally trusting, or do you tend to be suspicious of other people’s motives? Have you ever been taken advantage of by someone you trusted? Do you feel that trusting others is naive?
Sadly, there is no shortage of people in this world who will try to take advantage of you. How many weird emails do you get telling you that you have won a lottery, or there’s a question about your item on ebay, or that you are the beneficiary of millions of dollars from overseas someplace? What do all these messages have in common?
Someone is trying to take advantage of you
Does this mean that it’s unwise to be trusting of others? Well, sometimes it is unwise, but then again, being suspicious of everyone you meet is not a very positive way to live your life. So what’s the answer?
Before we delve into answers, let’s consider how we are affected by our own attitude toward trust. As with everything else, your level of trust, or suspicion, sends a subtle message to those around you. People respond to that message in various ways, and their response will have a direct impact on your quality of life.
How do you feel when you meet somebody, and right away you sense that they don’t trust you?
Consider three possibilities:
1) Does it make you feel like you have to prove that you are trustworthy? That’s not a very comfortable feeling because it immediately puts you on the defensive.
2) Perhaps it causes you to jump to negative conclusions about that person, thinking, “what is their problem anyway?” In this case, you reacted with suspicion to their lack of trust. Again, not a comfortable feeling.
3) If you are someone who struggles with a lack of self confidence, how do you think it would feel to have someone who doesn’t even know you, be suspicious of you? Needless to say, it is very difficult to build self confidence with that kind of negative emotional feedback.
In all three of these examples, having someone else treat us with a lack of trust had a negative influence on our mental and emotional state. If that is how they made us feel, we need to ask ourselves…
Are those the feelings I want to bring out in other people?
The truth is, we don’t like it, and neither do they. Now, let’s look at the flip side. How does it make you feel when you first meet somebody, and you immediately sense that they are trusting toward you? It makes you feel good, right? In fact, you like that person right off, don’t you? If they make you feel good, and you like them, you are much more likely to treat them with respect in return.
If you want others to treat you with trust and respect, do the same for them. In most cases, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Trusting others sets up a subconscious desire in them, to live up to your trust. Many times, that is all that is needed to help them rise to the occasion.
Everybody likes approval
Trust is a form of approval, and when someone else feels your approval, they will generally respond in a very positive way. Approval is one of the strongest motivators there is. People seek out approval, and will go to great lengths to gain it. If they view you as a source of approval, they will feel drawn to you without even realizing why. Making people feel good about themselves is a win-win situation.
Successful relationships are built on trust
The more we count someone as trustworthy, the higher they rate on our internal people-meter. Obviously, complete trust is something that must be earned. But, could we begin every relationship by giving the other person the benefit of the doubt?
Who do you like to do business with, and who are your best friends? The answer to both of those questions is directly related to who has earned your trust. When we feel that we have good reasons for trusting a company and their products, we become repeat customers. When we feel that we have legitimate reasons for trusting other people, they become our friends.
Now, let me ask you this: who is the most important person in your life? Isn’t it the person that you trust above all others? Trust is a factor in all positive relationships. The greater the level of trustworthiness, the stronger the relationship.
Back to our opening question
In a world where some people are looking to take advantage, is it unwise to trust others? Only if you have some legitimate reason not to trust them. Keep in mind that we’re not talking about trusting somebody you just met with your newborn baby or life savings. All we are talking about here is the attitude you project toward people you meet for the first time. So use common sense and exercise caution when caution is called for.
But, don’t let the spammers and scammers of this world mold your opinion of people in general. If you greet most people with trust and give them the benefit of the doubt, you will not be disappointed. Helping others to feel good about themselves will raise the quality of their life, and yours.
What do you think about this approach?
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