Friday, 27 July 2012

Our Distrust is Expensive

The famous 19th century writer and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “Our distrust is very expensive.” It’s true, if we lack trust in others we suffer an extreme form of isolation. A good example of the chaos that can result from distrust gone array is what happened in Colorado on July 20, 2012.

James Holmes, a 24 year old man, who a few months before had a life of possibility, apparently developed a distrust so insidious and toxic that he collapsed his life and simply closed down from all society. Former FBI profiler Brad Garrett stated on CTV’s Canada AM, “His behavior changed erratically and suddenly. When you start to distrust everyone you have an extreme form of isolation and we can all go off the rails in regards to our thinking.”

Trust is not actually a given and some can not help but come into a new relationship riddled with a sense of distrust. For example many who struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder often find trust a constant tug of war. However, in an attempt to build relationships and end their own isolation that same individual might decide they will trust until the other is proven untrustworthy.

Our western judicial system begins from a place of trust; that being, all are innocent until proven guilty. As young children we begin our life psychologically from a place of trust. An infant holds a pure trust, a perfect trust which ‘just is’. However, this state of perfect trust is fleeting and even if our parents do not violate it, we as humans will never know it again.

So how then will trust look as we age?  As we grow our trust will no longer ‘just be’ as when we were infants. Rather, our psychological trust in others will have to develop. The most recent theory on trust maintains people obtain and sustain certain patterns with regards to trust.  In this theory, trust in relationships develops in stages. Each stage is built on a foundation of ability, integrity, and benevolence. So the more we see these behaviors in another person the more we trust that person.

The first stage of trust development is calculus based. We look at someone and we decide subconsciously what are the rewards for trusting that person and what are the threats should he/she violate our trust. Then we continue to calculate and we subconsciously decide if the rewards will out weight the threats. If the rewards are greater we will begin to form a calculus based trust. This first stage of trust is a cognitive trust which is grounded in the dependability of the one who is being trusted.

The second stage of the development of trust is more emotional then the former. As two individuals successfully navigate through the calculus based trust stage they might-- if it is appropriate to do so-- move to the second stage of trust development. With a better understanding of one another and a more extensive personal history they may actually realize that they share the same goals and values. With this awareness their trust will grow to a higher level that is referred to as identification-based trust.

Identification-based trust is more emotional than calculus-based trust. Two individuals who have developed an identification- based trust will understand each other to the point where they will be acting on the others interest and subsequently an emotional bond develops. Identification-based trust is a rich, quality type of trust built on a foundation of emotions.

Confussion by Kolenya

Psychological trust is not a given. We can not be expected to trust everyone we meet. Yet if we distrust everyone we meet we will never be able to build trustworthy relationships and will live our life in a severe state of isolation. This type of isolation can lead all of us to behavior that is regrettable. We are social beings and we need to have some socialization to function in a productive way. So what can we do when our trust for whatever reason has been betrayed?

What we must do is subconsciously or conscious decide to build trust with another. As our personal history develops with another and we find they are trustworthy, so to will a rich, emotionally based trust: the most rewarding and nurturing of the two stages of trust.

No comments:

Post a Comment