If you’re a fan of Super Soul Sunday, Ted Talks and general self-development, chances are that you’ve heard of an amazing and wonderful woman named Brené Brown. She is one of the most engaging and authentic storytellers and lecturers I’ve ever seen and I strongly encourage you to enrol in her free course called “Anatomy of Trust” or give her Super Soul Sunday video a watch. After doing a lot of reflecting on the content Brené shares and speaks about, I wanted to share with you a sort of introduction, or crash course if you will, on the topic of trust. So, let’s talk about that. What does it mean to trust? And not just trust, but honestly, truthfully and deeply trust and foster trust in a relationship?
As Brené says, it’s about so much more than there not being lies in your relationship. Trust is something that you continuously work to build, protect and maintain. It’s about our everyday thoughts, intentions and actions.
Brené breaks it down with the acronym, “BRAVING.”
B is for Boundaries
Boundaries are super important in any relationship – the relationship you have with your self, with your significant other, your friends, family, coworkers, and the list goes on. They’re crucial in protecting all the good stuff inside your relationship and in keeping the “bad” stuff outside. A boundary could be a commitment to yourself, and your partner, that what you speak about stays with just the two of you. It could be a promise to leave work at work and enter the home, at the end of the day, with a positive mind.
R is for Reliability
Nobody likes to be flaked on. It’s not a good feeling to be told that someone’s going to be somewhere or do something and then they aren’t and don’t. Reliability is paramount in relationships and aids in building a deep level of trust. Practice reliability by doing what you say you’re going to do, keeping your promises and stopping yourself from over-promising. Knowing your limitations and what you can realistically be relied on for, is not a weakness. If anything, it’s a show of strength and also a show of consideration for others.
A is for Accountability
Own your behaviour and hold yourself accountable for mistakes. Nobody is perfect – far from it, really – but how you address and acknowledge your mistakes makes all the difference. Instead of pointing blame or arguing about why you’ve argued, take accountability for your part in the matter and face the issue head on.
V is for Vault
I think that “C is for Confidentiality” could be used here interchangeably, but the word “vault” introduces much more powerful imagery to the concept of trust. The idea of the vault is that exchanges that happen in confidence between you and your partner, or whomever is in the relationship with you, stay only between you two. You can trust, implicitly, that what you are sharing will stay in your partner’s vault. And, just the same, your partner can trust that you will treat his or her words with just as much respect.
I is for Integrity
Integrity calls for truly practicing your values. It’s not enough to believe that people should or shouldn’t behave a certain way; you need to truly and authentically practice what you preach. If you expect only the best from the people in your life and encourage them to live authentically and with good hearts, it’s your responsibility to do the same.
N is for Non-Judgment
Casting judgments is, unfortunately, human instinct. However, building trust requires you to push judgment to the side and to allow your partner a safe and open space to share with you whatever is on his or her mind. They should be able to come to you and express what they need or desire without fear of being judged, and you should be able to do the same.
G is for Generosity
Acting with a kind heart and generous spirit will do wonders for building trust. Regularly and routinely seeing the best in your partner and doing small, everyday things to make his or her life more joyful is the kind of generosity that has serious impact. There’s really no need for grand gestures or expensive gifts. Something as simple as packing a lunch for your partner for a busy Monday filled with meetings or folding and putting away the laundry could mean the world to them.
Again, I encourage you to give Brené Brown’s video a watch for yourself. Even if you’re not in a relationship right now, the principles of BRAVING can easily be applied to check in with yourself and deliver a measure of your self-trust. Like I said, thirty minutes now could have a major and positive impact on your life.
To your authenticity,