Trust: 10 Things
Apr 20, 2020
(reading time: 6 min.)

#20 in a series of wild and precious things to help you gain trust.

  1. TWIL (This Week I Learned.)

This week I learned about trust.  I’m noticing as I create these newsletters and podcasts each week, I require myself to show up in a healthier space than I may want to right now.
Or ever, if I am honest.
And this week, I kept coming back to the importance of building and maintaining an emotionally safe home for myself and my family. It’s easy until it’s not.
An emotionally safe space requires a delicate balance — I think it’s important to admit that it’s a constant work/play effort and is sometimes the most easy, natural thing in the world and sometimes just challenging. Right now, with 6 adults or near adults in the house, we’re 6 people figuring out this “new normal” <= in quotes because literally what the heck?
We’re 6 people with our own anxieties, our own desires, our own ideas and compulsions and senses of humor. And sleep schedules. And needs. Etc. Sometimes, there’s a gorgeous harmony and trust just flows.

But I noticed something this week: it’s the times when one or more of us is going through something and the others haven’t clued in yet that the magic can happen.

You can’t trust without vulnerability and you can’t be vulnerable without trust. And, you know, if we’re human, we’re often flowing between states of feeling really available and vulnerable and compassionate and feeling really, well, the opposite.

An example: one person is making coffee after a terrible night’s sleep (we have 4 cats), another stumbles downstairs having had vivid Covid-19 nightmares, when a third enters the kitchen cracking jokes. Into this scene walks the fourth who has just received really upsetting news. (I’m amalgamating several stories so this is loosely based on a real scene)

We have an emotionally pretty mature family but man, this is an unsafe kitchen. What happens next determines whether trust is built or degraded a bit:

Either the rest of the group senses the body language and “vibe” from the one who needs compassion or they don’t. If they don’t sense anything, it’s up to the one who needs compassion to say something. But can he? He’s just been hit with really bad news.

The combination of busyness and grumpiness and the between worlds state of having just woken up creates a lot of potential barriers to a welcoming, loving arena where the person who needs compassion gets what they need. I think life is often like that “irl” We aren’t usually handed devastating news (or whatever) at exactly the moment where our closest family and friends are ready to receive us in our sloppy, vulnerable, undone mess.

The call is a bit to dive in when you can to get strong and flexible enough so that when the above moment hits, no matter who you are in the story, you can do what you need to do in the moment with grace. Give, receive, whatever.

I think my point this week is really more to highlight that building trust is an ongoing, inefficient, beautiful, ugly, utterly human process. Maybe the correct metaphor is a drip sandcastle — do you remember those? patiently dripping wet sand to slowly build oddly shaped treasures? The way they are built up, sometimes degraded and imploding, sometimes getting stronger, sometimes weakening, but as long as you keep trying, slowly, over time, a kind of lovely, unsymmetrical, beautiful, sturdy sandcastle is built? Building trust is maybe kind of like that.

You’re probably never going to have a perfectly safe, always open to vulnerability home. And that’s okay. We’re all lovely humans. Resilient, always learning, always able to get stronger and more flexible.  

2. Quote

“My question is kind of the opposite. How do I be vulnerable with someone I can’t trust, like in a relationship?” — “You don’t”  Question from an audience member after an interview by Oprah of Brene Brown. Both Oprah and Brene Brown answered “You don’t” in unison.

“When you trust yourself you will know how to live” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

3. Prompt

What would you do if you loved yourself unconditionally? What does unconditional love look like to you? Paint a picture (words, pencil, pen, paint, embroidery) of what that world looks like.

When you love yourself unconditionally, you’re building a lovely place where you can begin to trust yourself. And hello: When you really trust yourself, what a great friend you’ve just made.

4. Quest

One barrier to trust is busyness. Busyness is a great way to stay clear of needing to carve out any safe spaces, do any self care, or really feel anything at all. It’s a perfectly reasonable response to many situations that can feel like overwhelm. But, you know, if you’re up for a little quest this week and want to begin to make space for more trust, let’s try to cut out the busyness and find that lovely white space where trust can start.

Look at your week. On the one hand, you may be someone for whom this pandemic has meant a revving up of you schedule. If that’s the case, even though you have more “legitimate” busyness in your life, your quest, should you accept it, is to try to carve out some whitespace and get quiet.

For the rest of us, either you've overfilled it with Zoom meetings and volunteer gigs or you already have a bit of downtime imposed on you — and the quest is the same: carve out or choose some whitespace in your day and get quiet.

From that first step into quiet starts the essence of trusting yourself. This is the important first step. When you can trust a bit of time in your day to breathe, sit, notice your self touching the ground, the feeling of the air around you, feel your breathing slow down and begin to regulate (maybe 6 counts in; pause; 8 counts out; pause) You can begin to notice your thoughts as they come and go, like clouds passing through the sky.

Give yourself the goal of once this week:

  • Carve out 20 minutes of whitespace (free time)
  • Alone, in nature, or in a quiet room (bathrooms work)
  • Notice yourself touching the ground. Notice the air around you.
  • Begin to regulate your breath: Notice your breathing. Begin to count your breaths in; count your breaths out. Keep going until you have a rhythm you like, maybe 6 counts in; pause; 8 counts out; pause.
  • Notice your thoughts as they come and go. Just notice them. If it helps, say something kind and almost silly to them like “Hello random thought. Nice to see you today.”
  • That’s it!

5. Level-UP / Go Deeper

If you feel ready and if the opportunity presents itself: Try a self-trust exercise. If you can carve out time to get quiet, the next step is to kinda get to know yourself. From a place of self-acceptance and compassion, you can begin to trust yourself. That truly is where the magic starts.

Here are three things to look for and build awareness of this week that will bring you closer to a place of self trust:

  • Notice people around you. Are they supportive and kind to you? Are they willing to let down their guard and let you see them (respecting your boundaries, of course.) Can you feel relaxed around them, or are you always a little on guard. Just notice.
  • Speak kindly to yourself. If you find this to be difficult, try wearing a loose rubber band around your wrist and lightly snapping it when you catch yourself saying an unkind thing to yourself.
  • Make and keep a promise to yourself. Make it simple — your goal is to build trust with yourself, after all.

6. POD Poem of the day   (Thomas R. Smith: Trust)

This poem is short and literally gave me chills. Please click though — Here are the last two lines:

And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life  
      is delivered, even though you can’t read the address.

7.Article   (Brain Pickings — Mary Oliver.)

8. Video  (Brene Brown: There’s no vulnerability without trust)

9. Hero: You
Why?      Honestly, trust begins and ends with trusting yourself. I was thinking about trust in this moment and the number one, most important person to trust right now is YOU. It’s so important that you recognize your trustworthiness, your ability to be that person in your life. You are the hero of your own story. You may not know the entire plot, you may not know what’s about to happen in the next scene, but you do know this: You can trust the hero of your story, and that hero is YOU.

10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.

The Underbelly Podcast available everywhere you download podcasts. Trust episode Thursday.

Just Start —

Let's Do This!