“Friendship – my definition – is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don’t have trust, the friendship will crumble.”
Mikael Blomkvist in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Stieg Larsson
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Ernest Hemingway
Choosing a quote for ‘trust’ today has been difficult, hence the inclusion of further quotes in this post. Trust is such a wide theme that to narrow it to one single interpretation would be wrong.
“Don’t you trust me?” is the cry from an aggrieved friend. So how should one respond? What do they actually mean? Should you ever trust someone completely? Doesn’t that trust stifle another human being, preventing them from being at ease with themselves in the choices that they might make? Couldn’t a complete trust in another human be a surrender of oneself as well as the other person?
The reality is that too much trust can be as damaging as too little, yet we must strive to trust and respect others in order to live peacefully with one another. Nations need to trust other nations for the same reason. But we shouldn’t have blind faith. King Canute’s faithful flock trusted the man so much that he had to prove that he didn’t have the absolute powers they thought he had. He sat at the edge of the sea and demanded that the tide wouldn’t envelop him, knowing full well that it would.
We also have to trust ourselves; to make the right choices – for ourselves and others. We must know ourselves in order to trust ourselves, and without this, how can we trust others?
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparkle of possibility into flames of achievement.” said Golda Meir.
And we must trust our feelings too. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.” This is interesting. Can we trust our “instinct” when there is no thought behind instinctive actions? We have to trust our instincts in certain situations. If we are confronted with something that is going to harm us then we have to ‘listen’ to our instinct to flee, not “rendering” our reason.
It gets more complicated if we consider our intuition, and understanding the difference between instinct and intuition is essential.
Should we trust our intuition? Anne Wilson Schaef says “Trusting our intuition often saves us from disaster.” In knowing ourselves we have to trust our intuition and we have to respect others’ intuition and feelings too. We have to trust other peoples’ intelligence as much as our own.
Ultimately we should trust in trust. We should trust in the values that we are commenting on through advent. It is these values that will shape our lives and ensure that we place our trust in the right places and the right people.
Trust is valuable. It’s a value that we need to embrace, for as Lao Tzu says, “He who does not trust, will not be trusted.”