Building Relationships Based On Trust

 “Trust comes from the Norse traust, Proto-Germanic traustam, and Old English treowian. All these roots point to confidence, reliance, protection, solace, and support. They ask, where do you find your confidence? Where do you find solace?” 

One of my favorite movies, “Liar Liar” with Jim Carrey, is about a lawyer who can’t lie for 24 hours. This is his son’s birthday wish, after he disappoints him for the last time. I love the movie because it teaches the dad a lesson about earning trust by being dependable and following through on commitments.  

Most of my life before Unitarian Universalism (BUU) was a time when trust was in short supply.  Disappointed so many times by adults in my early life, in the areas of basics such as food, shelter and safety; I learned to only count on myself, or to trust only that the adults in my life would let me down. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss, on trusting yourself 

I carried this outlook further in life with most of my relationships. Author Christopher Pike says this, “Relationships are mysterious. We doubt the positive qualities in others, seldom the negative. You will say to your partner: do you really love me? Are you sure you love me? You will ask this a dozen times and drive the person nuts. But you never ask: are you really mad at me? Are you sure you’re angry? When someone is angry, you don’t doubt it for a moment. Yet the reverse should be true. We should doubt the negative in life, and have faith in the positive.”  ―, Remember Me 

That was all BUU. Now I look for the positive time and time again in all my relationships.  Though I may be disappointed on occasion, I can see a pattern that demonstrates more positive than negative. I trust that for the most part, people have good intentions.  I keep looking to our first principle of the inherent worth and dignity of every person. I remember that as Unitarian Universalists we are all working for the common good, to make the world a better place, one of peace, love and compassion. 

Here at UUSM we are trying to build up relationships based on trust. We are doing this by having confidence in our board to make decisions that are in the best interest of the congregation. We are relying on our minister to take us places (where we may not want to go) but need to go in order to become a stronger and healthier congregation. We are having tough conversations about relationships, racial issues, and women in safe settings where we all can be heard.  And most importantly, friendships are building!

“But it does not seem that I can trust anyone,” said Frodo.
Sam looked at him unhappily. “It all depends on what you want,” put in Merry. “You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin–to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours–closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring 

Yes, we are going to be disappointed at times. People are going to let us down. We are going to be hurt but we must keep returning, because we cannot begin to make a change in our communities or in our world unless we start within. We must continue to build trust. “If we are willing to embrace the challenge of becoming whole, we cannot embrace it alone—at least, not for long: we need trustworthy relationships to sustain us, tenacious communities of support, to sustain the journey toward an undivided life.”  – Parker Palmer

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