Recently at a small gathering of women, the subject of trustworthiness came up. Many of the women who were present did not feel comfortable sharing within their communities about the struggles they’d had in their lives and relationships. What a shame, when sharing allows us to give and receive support!
One of the reasons for their reticence was the negative experiences that had boomeranged, coming back to hurt them or their partners in the past. We had a wonderful discussion on what creates safety in sharing and our responsibility to create trustworthy relationships, friendships, and communities.
How Trust Is Affected by Conditioning
One of the many types of conditioning that our society asserts is that love and relationships are relatively easy and follow the natural progression of fairy tales. As women, our physiology and ancestral programming urge us to talk to other women because that’s what creates a strong tribe. The need to talk is fueled by our female brains, which are wired to process experiences through talking.
On the other hand, we aren’t really expected to have challenges within our partnerships and marriages or as a parent, so being transparent about our difficulties can make us feel like we’ve failed. Being vulnerable and opening to others are vital, but with discretion and wisdom.
It has become apparent that many women want to share and be supported in their lives, but many times it doesn’t feel safe to confide in others, except for a few chosen friends whom they deem trustworthy. What does that say about the communities that we’ve created?
For trustworthiness to be present in any relationship—whether in love, friendship, or business—we must first be trustworthy ourselves.
Keys to Trustworthiness
KEY #1: That means keeping trust with a person or persons by not repeating what is said confidentially.
KEY #2: To be trustworthy, we must hold one another accountable to grow and be our best.
KEY #3: Don't agree to listen if you're unwilling to hold confidentiality.
Sometimes what another person tells us may feel too burdensome to hold—and as verbal processors, women can inadvertently repeat things and break confidence unintentionally.
Also, many haven’t been taught the elegant art of repair and the enormous relief of conflict resolution so friendships can end abruptly, shattered by broken trust and betrayal. These experiences make us even more cautious about being vulnerable and transparent.
If we pretend that other people are perfect or have perfect relationships, we have already sabotaged the ability for a community to be open, authentic, and healthy. Why? Because there are no perfect people or perfect relationships, and it is an exhausting experience to act as if we are perfect. By the very essence of our humanity, we are imperfect, constantly making mistakes and growing.
It’s time to shine acceptance and compassion on our humanity and allow one another to heal and be real simultaneously.
This extension of loving acceptance will lend itself to more safety and increase the legitimacy of helping each other to become more lovingly human—perfectly imperfect!
As I touch on this subject, I realize its enormity and how this tiny blog is only a scratch on the surface. We’d love to hear from you. What are your challenges and how have you created trustworthy relationships and supportive networks? What empowers you to stretch for your highest potential while gently accepting your humanness?