• Sandy Reynolds

How do you know who to trust?

Way back in March 2020, we went into our first lockdown. At first, it felt almost like an extended snow day. (For those of you who aren't familiar with snow days - during heavy snowfalls, schools and businesses shut down, and everyone stays home and waits until the roads are cleared for life to get back to normal.) We were so naive about how life would change, so we passed the time baking banana break and spending some guilt-free time watching TV.

During that time, I rediscovered Survivor. It had been years (decades?) since I watched this program, but when it first came out in 2000, I was a huge fan. I'm hooked on it again. If you haven't watched the show in a long time, it's become much more sophisticated, but one thing hasn't changed - to be successful at the game, the winner has to trust people and get people to trust them along the way.

Trust is a big part of the game, and viewers cringe as we watch people think they can trust someone when we know, thanks to editing, that they are about to get blindsided. It's all good fun, and it is a game.

But life isn't a game, and we need to figure out who we can trust as well. Most of us have been blindsided or at least disappointed by people we thought we could trust. It's painful, and it can leave us cynical and reluctant to trust other people again. Like so many things, trust comes down to expecting people to act in a certain way only to be let down when they don't do what we thought they would do.

At times people don't set out to hurt us. They may not realize that we were counting on them. At other times, as I've witnessed in Survivor, people deliberately lie. They say they are going to do something, and then they don't.

Politicians make a career out of this type of behaviour. During elections, they promise they will deliver on specific items and then don't. As a voter, you have to decide, did they deliberately lie OR were they sincere and didn't realize all the challenges involved in delivering on their promise. It leaves you wondering if they are dishonest or ignorant!

We live in a time where thanks to cell phone cameras and data leaks, we have seen ample evidence of how untrustworthy systems can be. We've witnessed police officers, military leaders, clergy and religious leaders, government, and major corporations abuse their power for their gain.

No wonder we don't know who to trust anymore! We choose the devil we know by default.

For me, one of the challenges is trying to sort out whether a person deliberately deceived me or whether they were just ignorant about the significance of their promise to me or the impact their lack of integrity had on me.

Is there an answer?

Last week I wrote about trusting yourself. When you trust your trust, and you've dealt with your failures to live truthfully, it helps you take these breaches less personally. It also allows you to spot some of the inconsistencies more quickly.

At some point in a relationship, you have to risk trusting another person. I find being clear on what is being agreed to and communicating our needs and wants can be helpful. It doesn't guarantee that you won't be let down again. It does give you a starting point for a conversation when it happens again.

We all blow it from time to time, but when you start to see a pattern emerge in a relationship, it is time to step back and evaluate. People-pleasers tend to brush these recurrences under the carpet.

We want to be liked. We want to avoid conflict, and so we can take on too much responsibility in a relationship. At some point, when we have tolerated enough or we've been hurt so profoundly, we finally walk away.

Start getting comfortable having conversations where you communicate what is important to you in your relationships. And get comfortable letting people know when they've hurt you. You might not always know what is going on in someone else's head, but you can let them know your truth, and that's a great place to start building trust.

Question for you to journal this week:

Who do you trust without hesitation in your life? Why?

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