How Do You Rebuild Trust?

Trust takes a lifetime to build but can be destroyed in a moment. This is true with work, investments, friendships, and family. I came to a place a couple of years ago in which I desperately needed trust rebuilt in an important relationship, but I had no idea how to define it. It is such a momentous, consequential key to relationship and workplace success, but it seems nebulous. Without a clear goal, it’s impossible to achieve success. Defining trust is critical to rebuilding it.

How Do I Define Trust?

Here are some definitions I have found to be extremely helpful.

Henry Cloud on Building Trust

Henry Cloud explains that trust is built on understanding and feeling understood. Important components of this are:

  1. Connection: Trust is built on understanding.
  2. Motive: are they generally for us and for the relationship/generally selfish?
  3. Capacity: capacity to pull it off and ability to entrust them with what I need to entrust them with.
  4. Character: are they lying, hiding, deceiving, cheating, stealing, blaming, or owning their stuff and showing respect, humility, perseverance, steadfastness, compassion and the willingness to do whatever it takes. Whatever the character traits are for what we want to trust them in.
  5. Track Record: what happened the last time I said yes/opened my boundaries. Did the person show up trustworthy or did they hurt you on repeat? Are they consistently safe?

Find out more in Henry Cloud’s course on Boundaries and Trust on Boundaries.me.

Brene Brown on Braving Trust

Brene Brown defines trust with the acronym “BRAVING.”

BOUNDARIES: You respect my boundaries, and when you’re not clear about what’s okay and  not okay, you ask. You’re willing  to say no.

RELIABILITY: You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your  competencies and  limitations so you don’t overpromise and are able to deliver on commitments and  balance competing priorities.

ACCOUNTABILITY: You ownyour mistakes, apologize, and make amends.

VAULT: You don’t  share  information or experiences that are  not yours  to share.  I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re  not sharing with me any information about other people that should  be confidential.

INTEGRITY: You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values  rather than simply professing them.

NONJUDGMENT: I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.

GENEROSITY: You extend the most  generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words,  and actions of others.”

These are all definitions from Brene Brown, and you can listen to great podcasts explaining this here: Braving Trust Parts 1 and 2.

Faithful and True on Rebuilding Trust

The organization Faithful and True works with couples who are working to rebuild trust after it has been broken through betrayal. Their principles are helpful for all relationships when trust needs rebuilt after significant hurt. Here are some of the ideas they share:

  • He/she is willing to get help and to accept that he/she has a problem.
  • He/she is broken, remorseful, and wants to get well.
  • He/she is willing to do whatever it takes.
  • He/she works towards setting and maintaining boundaries for himself/herself.
  • He/she doesn’t blame me for his choices.
  • He/she shows great patience for my questions, anger, and hurt.
  • He/she supports my need to get help.
  • He/she doesn’t let my behavior, opinions, or feelings distract him from making healthy choices for himself and staying sober where there have been addictive behaviors.
  • He/she is willing to be up front and honest about all things and be an open book.
  • He/she is willing to talk about the past when I need to.
  • He/she is aware of his/her own triggers and has safeguards in place to avoid spiraling into damaging behavior.
  • He/she is working on getting to the root causes of his/her behaviors so as to heal and grow.

You can learn more about Faithful and True resources here: Faithful and True.

Make it Your Own

All of these definitions help me see trust not as something nebulous but as something specific, clear, and therefore, attainable. If you can’t define your goal, there is no way to reach it. These each contribute to my own internal definition of trust. I hope they are helpful to you as you make your own definition.

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Photo Credit: Photo adapted from Photo by Photo by Yuri Catalano:

Copyright ©  2022 Angela Edmonds. All rights reserved.

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