(to believe that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable)

Real trust can take time on both sides. This can be a real challenge but if you really want a man to open up to you it is key. But don’t expect miracles from a man (or a woman). Something else you should also need to take into account when communicating is the simple fact that we are all the sum of the experiences we have made in life. But what does that have to do with trust? As always I ask you to bear with me…

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” -Ernest Hemingway

Now some people try not to take too much into the next relationship and manage to live more in the present than in the past but for others this proves to be an enormous challenge. I am sure you have often heard that he or she had a difficult childhood, a horrible experience in a former relationship, a traumatic experience or something similar. I do have an understanding for these situations but I also believe that sometimes this is used as an excuse for not wanting to communicate, commit or simply come out of your usual comfort zone. We all have experiences whose memory can be triggered by scents, words, sounds or other things and produce reactions that might need explaining. If you trust someone, help that person understand your reactions when this occurs.

One of my favourite phrases, and my dear friend has probably heard this a million times from me: “Only expect understanding from others when they can actually understand you!” And of course it also takes trust to explain yourself to others as we often need to show our most vulnerable self.

I am sure you have heard people say: “Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair”! I am sure it has some merit but I would like to shine a different light on this quote.

So let’s start with the first bit: Trust takes years to build! I truly believe that if you want to build or start an open and honest relationship, it is incredibly important to give the other person some advance trust first. This is actually something we often do unconsciously and it is a good thing.

“To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond our own control.” -Martha Nussbaum

But to build true and stable trust does take some time and getting to know one another. We all need reliability and a certain reassurance to blindly trust someone else.

The second one can be rather tricky: Trust takes seconds to break! That can be true but it should be something very grave to make you lose your trust in someone you love and care for within seconds. When you know someone well, perhaps it is worth giving the benefit of the doubt and a chance to explain and remedy the situation.

Which brings us to the last part: Trust takes forever to repair! When trust has been broken significantly, rebuilding it can be a huge challenge and sometimes even an impossible task.

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

But then again, when you do truly love and care for someone there is still forgiveness. The trust may not be as it was before but if you are really capable of forgiving (and I mean really forgiving and not bringing the same topic up over and over again when you are angry or annoyed, playing the blame game) someone for what happened. Don’t get me wrong, forgiving does not mean forgetting – huge difference. But let’s face reality, we are all not perfect and we make mistakes.

That is why I love the idea of wabi-sabi. In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetics is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete”

If you apply this concept to trust, by fixing it you may create something new, something very unique, precious and wildly beautiful – as long as it was not broken beyond repair to begin with.

So trust that has been lost can under certain circumstances be repaired and may take some time and effort, but it must not necessarily take forever.

Trust is based on honesty and reliability. It allows us to be vulnerable, knowing that this vulnerability will never be abused. Trust is this feeling of having arrived and even if you are not perfect, you are loved for who you really are. Trust doesn’t need false pretence and deceit and it does not need to be perfect – we all slip up sometimes.

“Trust is not an obsession, it’s an extension of love. When we truly love someone, we give them our heart to hold in their hands. And when that love is returned, that very trust is balm to our souls.” -Julie Lessman

But what can we do to build trust?

I already mentioned giving the benefit of the doubt. In our daily life we tend to rather listen to someone whom we have known for a longer time and have learned to trust than someone that is possibly more knowledgable – we give them the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to personal relationships, setting aside doubts goes hand in hand with trust and letting the person be there for you. In some situations you may want to reconsider to set aside all doubts all at once, especially when trust has been broken. When rebuilding trust you may still need a certain level of checking up on someone to protect yourself from further pain. But you should at least have the willingness to let go of doubt bit by bit eventually to see if the other person is worthy of your trust again. If they are not you can at least tell yourself that you have tried.

I write a lot about vulnerability and it is a key factor in building trust, especially in a relationship. So essentially building trust takes a willingness to open yourself up to the risk of getting hurt. Showing parts of yourself that may not let you shine in the best and brightest light is difficult, telling someone what moves you and speaking of your weaknesses may not appear sexy and takes a lot of (advance) trust. Trust is built when our partners have the opportunity to let us down or hurt us — but they don’t. There is no shame in starting small if you are not used to showing your more vulnerable side.

Make your word mean something – say what you mean and mean what you say. Trust has a lot to do with reliability. If you keep making promises an neglect to keep them, if you say beautiful things but disappoint again and again because you do little or nothing to make them come true, you lose the trust of someone and they will eventually no longer believe you anything at all.

“Enough words have been exchanged; now at last let me see some deeds!” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Trust is a give and take! Trust should never be a one way street. This is not a matter of calculating who gives or takes more or less. There will always be situations in a relationship where one gives more and the other less but all in all there should be some form of balance and trust in the ability to lean on one another.

Of course there are many more factors through which you can build and regain trust. What is important is the willingness to open up and to trust another person and to accept this trust.

Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.” – Richard Rohr


And if you have been following this series you will know that I will end with a song (today from one of my favourite artists) and wish you a wonderful weekend!


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