Trust is the building block of any relationship, be it with your parents, siblings, your friends, people you meet in your professional life and most importantly with the person you intend to spend your entire life.
Humans are capable to build life long bonds with other humans, despite the occasional differences.
However, it’s not the bonding that one forms with another person that develops over a long period of time that has a profound impact in our lives – ironically, it’s the betrayal of trust that causes a lot of damage to the relationship and the unpleasant memory lasts for many years.
This post, as most articles I write, is not meant to be a bashing of people who betray your trust. Instead, I explore the root cause of why we experience pain and can’t get over betrayal of trust.
My approach in life has been to trust everyone unless they prove otherwise later on. Few people have disappointed, but it’s okay, as it never stopped me from connecting with new people.
Sadly, it is the opposite for a lot of people.
Even if people I know did something wrong, I would forgive because life is too short to hold grudges. I give them a benefit of doubt.
I have had my share of strange experiences with people. I have met people who have said to me that they have trust issues. I was not sure if it was indirectly directed at me.
Telling someone you have recently met, who could just be an acquaintance you met on social media trying to get to know you, that you have trust issues, could actually be humiliating for that individual. There is no reason for people to trust you in return as well but they do and it is best to appreciate and reciprocate the gesture unless they prove otherwise.
When you don’t know someone well enough, it doesn’t mean that they are evil and they are a potential threat to you. Most friends are strangers before they become friends, aren’t they ?
Most children are taught early in their childhood not to trust neighbors or strangers. They are told that anyone who does not live in your home with you could be dangerous. There maybe a genuine reason as we all know there are people with evil intentions out there. But most times, the fear of danger lurking around us all the time (courtesy news and horror movies) goes overboard.
So what have we got ?
A paranoid society.
People think that whoever sat next to them, and that could be anywhere – a train journey, flights, amusement ride or mall is out to rob them, hurt them or even murder them.
But how does that impact people these paranoid people interact with in their daily lives ?
I am a father since the past decade. I love my son and I used to love kids even before I had a son. However, for past many years, I do not try to get to know a kid or have a chat with kids I don’t know well either in social settings or a library or even playground.
Can you guess why ?
Parents have always warned their kids not to talk to strangers. Strangers are evil. This view is carried over into adulthood. So, even though adults can make their own judgment about whom to trust and whom not to, the default view is not to trust people unless you need something from them.
So, even though most people are wary of strangers stealing their umbrella at a railway station, they would hold it tight as if their life depended on it but in the event they forget their umbrell, then people also expect that one of the strangers staring at their precious umbrella turns out to be a good samaritan and hands it over to the station authority to keep it safely for the owner to collect it.
In certain cities like London, which has unfortunately experienced many acts of terrorism, it is understandable that people become wary and suspicious about unusual behavior of people around them.
Let me share my personal experience while I lived in London.
Few years ago, I worked in London for about 4 years working for Europe’s largest retailer of mobile phone. Every evening I used to be stressed when I walked out of the office, just waiting to get home and cuddle my son who was a toddler then ( Aadarsh turned 10 this year).
Being stressed obviously does show on the face. Plus, I used to grow a french beard at that time – I still have it.
The reason I had french beard is that without it, I looked like a university under-graduate and it was hard to believe I was a dad. At least, this beard made me look more matured. Ironically, my son did not like my beard as it would hurt his soft cheeks.
For those reading this post who don’t know me and who can’t figure out my religion from my name – just to let you know, I am not a ‘Muslim’ and even if I was, there is no reason to believe that I could be one of those or even have the intention of those heartless people who are condemned by one and all.
Unfortunately, with a french beard, my face looked similar (for Brits and other whites who cannot distinguish between Asians) to those mischievous, heartless people who wrecked havoc in the city.
Returning home from one of my regular ‘stressful’ days at work, I boarded the tube on central line from North Acton to South Ruislip, where I lived. I carried a laptop with me, which did not make me look any better as ‘they’ also have gone high-tech these days. When I looked around, there were few who were curious who I am. I tried to smile but I couldn’t – remember – I was stressed.
Co-incidentally, after few minutes of the tube journey way back home, there was an announcement, which is a regular thing anywhere in London Underground warning people to be alert of any suspicious items left unattended.
I immediately grabbed my laptop bag very tight and my hand movement was so prominent people around me wondered what was wrong with me.
I confess I am absent minded and in the past I have left some of my stuff behind in a lot of places, including milk. Hence, I did not want to leave anything behind especially after that announcement. I looked around nervous wondering what are people thinking ? What have I got in my laptop bag ? Few co-passengers did give me a quick stare. It made me even more nervous.
Luckily, my work to home journey was only 20 minutes and when my station arrived, I just smiled at everyone to ease tension. But, couldn’t wait to get home.
When things settled down and I began to reflect on that journey, I realized I was nervous about nothing.
Whatever thoughts I had about what others could be thinking about me was my own imagination – my inner voice.
That is exactly what happens with people who have trust issues. Few bad experiences in the past dictates their destiny. They tend to think everyone out there is evil and cannot be trusted.
Also, trust issues and low self-esteem are closely linked. Trust issues and low self-esteem are the root cause of most relationship break-ups. Trust issues can get in way of every relationship, not just romantic ones.
People who have trust issues have difficulties connecting with people. They tend to self-sabotage relationships that is going well due to their own imaginations. They believe anyone they interact with is bound to show his/her true colors someday, hence they won’t bother to build a deeper relationship with people.
Such people tend to blame the world why they can’t be trusted, however, the problem actually lies is with them. They tend to constantly nit-pick on people. Even minor mistakes gets blown up as a betrayal.
For any relationship to last, one is expected to trust and respect an individual’s personal space. If that space is violated, this could be one of the leading cause why people avoid their partner and look elsewhere.
Every individual on Earth likes to be loved, feel valued and trusted. Healthy relationships are key to our mental well-being and happiness.
Trust is very essential not only with our loved ones but any individual you interact with. People love to know they are trusted and they behave according to how you treat them.
Without trust, no relationship can survive and you are the one who is going to lose.