80. Trust wisely…

I’ve been thinking a lot about trust today. It would be a very cold lonely world if we never trusted anyone. A lot of the time we have to give people the benefit of the doubt, to take a leap of faith and see if our efforts are rewarded. And I am not adverse to second chances. All of us make mistakes, and I think we should judge each situation individually and see if we can understand why our trust was broken and whether we think it will happen again.

However, I would not encourage people to trust everyone implicitly. People play different roles in our lives and sometimes people we really care about just aren’t trustworthy. That doesn’t mean we should cut them out of our lives. But it does mean that we should adjust our expectations and not give them more than they can handle.

I see trust as a sliding scale. There are some that I tell some things to, others that I tell most things, but only a very select few that I would trust with everything. I like to follow Shakespeare’s advice to ‘Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none’ (All’s Well That Ends Well). I guess that’s the philosophy that I try to apply to my life. I think that we can love more people than we trust. Although love and trust can go hand in hand, they don’t have to. One of my favourite bonkers Victorian writers George MacDonald said that ‘To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved’. Often we love people just the way they are, but trust is something that has to be earned.

But for those few who do earn our trust it makes the relationship even more special. It’s the knowledge that you can tell them anything and that they won’t judge you or use the information against you, that they will support you and help shoulder the burden. Everyone needs someone to talk to, and without those people we really trust we might all bow under the weight of our respective consciences. ‘Few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly’ (George MacDonald). Oh George, how wise you were.