The Anatomy of Trust

Brene Brown has become one of my favorite authors and speakers this year. Her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” is one I refer back to constantly, as its always that gentle reminder to just be me. Even if its weird or awkward or people don’t know how to respond, it’ll be better for everyone if my outsides match my insides.

So I’m thankful for her. Thankful that she is slowly giving people permission to own themselves. And to do so in a healthy way.

Brene Brown did an e-course not too long ago on The Anatomy of Trust that I took. She says that the definition of trust is:

Making your needs vulnerable to the actions of someone else

Then she breaks down trust into seven different components:

  • Boundaries
  • Reliability
  • Accountability
  • Vault
  • Integrity
  • Nonjudgement
  • Generosity

Trust is such a core component of any relationship. When you start to look at the relationships in your life where you don’t feel like there is much trust, there has probably been a breach in one of these 7 areas. And although I hate acronyms, I think having some tangible words to lay over top of a relationship to see where it is healthiest or where it needs work is hugely helpful. Especially if those are relationships you really want to work to improve.

In any counseling session or book on mental health, boundaries is a topic that comes up constantly. The core principle being that boundaries are limits you put in place to help you keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out of your life. In a way, they allow us to create an environment around us that makes us feel loved, supported, encouraged, valued. It is important that we identify what boundaries are important to us in our life. How we will allow people to talk to us. And what types of relationships we want to define us.

Diving deeper into how you can build better trust in your relationships, here are some questions to ask of yourself:

  • In your relationships, are you reliable? Do you respond in a consistent manner that people can learn to trust?
  • Are you accountable for your actions? Do you take responsibility when you make a mistake, and are you willing to make amends?
  • Are you a safe place? Do you hold the things people tell you in confidence?
  • Do you have integrity?
  • Do you allow people space to be themselves and not judge them, even if your opinion is different?
  • Do you assume the best in someone’s intentions?

Now, those can feel like a tall order in any relationship. Especially because I’m sure I’ve failed at all of these today alone. And maybe more than once. But I love laying those things out there because they help me to pay attention to my responses and behavior, to keep my negative feelings in check or to address them in the right way.

Building trust takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, and energy, as well as attention to detail. It can also be painful when you can see where you are the sticking point in the relationship. But I hope you’ll join me in figuring out how you can be a positive force to those around you. A safe place. Someone who is consistent and assumes the best. Because these tools have the power to create freedom for people around you to show up with their true selves.

And wouldn’t the world be so much more beautiful if we all became a little bit less like everyone else and a little bit more like our selves?



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