noun. firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
Trust is confidence in the honesty or integrity of a person or thing. The belief that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable. An example of trust is the belief that someone is being truthful.
Trust is the foundation of any relationship. It is pivotal to how we interact in our personal, professional and social spheres. We need to trust in something or someone to feel safe. When we cannot rely on a person or thing, when we doubt they are being honest or whether they are telling the truth, then our sense of emotional safety is destabilised.
My default is that I give people my trust willingly, until they do something to jeopardise it. I am an open person – open door and open heart. I am not someone who carries keys around with her and locks doors and drawers behind her. Physically nor emotionally. Perhaps it is the inner country bumpkin in me? We didn’t have our own house keys growing up – the front door was always open. We trusted our community. Perhaps it is naive?
As a teacher I took this value into my practice, I never locked my door, I left my handbag tucked under my classroom desk. I left my office door open, with my personal affects out. I am not advocating this for you all to do by the way, or judging that you do not trust if you do not do this, but I am just stating that in my experience I believe if you give trust, you get trust back. Trust is a value that needs to be practised and modelled.
In 18 years of teaching and leading in large inner city urban schools, I have never had anything stolen from me. If students passed comment on my lapse security measures, I would tell them that I did not need to lock my door, because I trusted our students to do the right thing. They would sometimes give me a wry smile or comment “But Miss-Man it’s not like that on the streets”. Precisely, I would reply, we are not on the streets. We are creating a culture, a community, based on trust.
As a Headteacher I talked about integrity with our students a lot. I explained it to our school community as we trusted (and expected) everyone to do the right thing even when noone was watching. Trust inspires us to be values-led in our actions, trust empowers us to do the right thing.
Right now, our trust is in our key workers. We trust their skills, experience and expertise. We are relying on the workforce who serve communities in various ways and trusting that they will do everything they can to keep us safe. Alas, we do not have as much trust in our politicians and in the Government. Their actions, decisions and behaviours have resulted in our trust in them being lost.
Trust in our leaders is vital. We look to leadership to set the tone in our homes, our schools and in our communities.
Trust in our friends, families, partners and colleagues is essential. We need to be able to rely on others, be able to speak and hear the truth, be able to trust that we are safe.
Trust in ourselves is also important. We need to be able to rely on ourselves, be honest with ourselves and keep ourselves safe, physically and emotionally. We need to trust our intuition as our instincts about a person or a situation are normally right.
My trust has been broken in the past, by friends, by partners, by colleagues and by employers. I might have forgiven those who have lied to me, or been disloyal, but I won’t forget how these actions hurt me. A breach of trust is a deeply personal thing.
Respect and trust are not just words to be spoken, but actions to be taken. Without trust, what do we have?