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Trust - The Core Issue

by Kathryn Wenzel on 02/17/15

Forgiveness might be immediate, but trust is earned. 
To earn and maintain trust, it must become a lifestyle 
and may take a life time to master.

     One of the most important principles, and we believe, the foundation of any trusting relationship, is Respect. Now, respect has an important role in that there must be both self-respect and the respect of others. This all relates to an understanding of boundaries; our own and the boundaries of others. If trust is the “core” issue, then the foundation of trust is respect. We need to honor boundaries, our own and the boundaries of others. If we don’t honor our own boundaries, how can others trust us to honor their boundaries?
     To obtain a little deeper or more mature understanding, let’s look at the seven most universal boundaries; spiritual, mental, verbal, physical, emotional, personal and material. These are just a few of the many boundaries found within any relationship and the violation of any one of the seven boundaries can lead to the destruction of trust within the relationship. This in turn may lead to the destruction of the relationship itself. 
A quick definition of each boundary may help our understanding of these boundaries:
Spiritual, our beliefs;
Mental, our thoughts;
Verbal, our words;
Physical, our actions;
Emotional, our feelings;
Personal, our desires;
Material, our belongings.
These boundaries are actually the foundation of our legal system and the violation thereof could lead to criminal and/or civil action. Within the relationship, respect of these same boundaries is imperative in maintaining a healthy, loving union. The violation of these boundaries will lead to conflict, drama and eventually the end of the relationship. The key to earning and maintaining a healthy and loving relationship is accountability.
     Self-accountability is the ability to hold oneself accountable for violating another person’s boundaries. This means to say what we did, taking ownership and then apologizing. Not saying “I’m sorry”, but truly apologizing and showing the love and respect to the very person we hurt. 
     Accountability seems to be such a big word and is often misunderstood. This is because since childhood we have been taught to “lawyer up”. For we all know, “what you say will be used against you”. In a close relationship, the quickest way to end it is to lie, deny, distort and/or blame the other person for what is our own responsibility. To be accountable is to take true ownership that we messed up, or made a mistake and show we are willing to correct that mistake. The goal and third component of earning trust is responsibility; by fulfilling all our commitments. If we say it, we have to do it.
     For many of us, we are good at saying what other people might want to hear, but with no true commitment behind it. There is very little, if any, follow through. The excuses of “what?!?” like we don’t know what they are talking about and/or “I forgot” are lame, immature and exhibits a true lack of responsibility. These also severely hinder the development of trust so needed in the relationship. So, there we have it. If we say it, we have to do it. If we don’t, we need to own it, and say that we didn't do it. Then apologize, showing respect, that is so important in the relationship. Now (the tricky part) we re-commit. We say what we are going to do and more importantly, we do it. So basic and so easy to understand, yet so misunderstood and at times actually ignored when it comes to close personal relationships.
     Each of these three concepts or principles are of equal weight. For if any one of them are removed or violated, the trust will be damaged and/or destroyed. For they are so interconnected that to remove one, you actually remove all three. When this is done, at best, you then have a relationship that is either at its bitter end or ripe for a fresh start. 
     The best practice in earning trust back when we do something wrong; is to first own it; say what you did. Then apologize sincerely; not saying “I’m sorry”. For in today’s world, “I’m sorry” has grown to mean nothing, zero, zip, we have heard it so many times. It’s time to show the respect that’s been missing. The next thing is to do is to be responsible and say what we are going to do and more importantly,do it! Otherwise, we are just making a fool out of ourselves by lying to our self and others.


The key to earning trust. The ability to account for our actions, to say what we did, to take ownership or “own it”.
The ability to respond appropriately, in a mature manner. To fulfill all commitments; if you say it, then do it.
To honor my own boundaries and the boundaries of others.

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