February 2016

The Importance of Trust

From the very beginning of our lives, we learn to trust our families. It is a vital stepping stone for building trust. We learn that we must trust that our family is always looking out for us and has our best interests at heart. If anything, I would say not trusting your family to begin with and dealing with the consequences leads to a greater trust.

By: Daniel Junor
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Wales Powys – United Kingdom


Trust on your team
Photo by: Cochabanner

We never really think about trust; however, trusting is one of the most important aspects of everyday life. A lack of trust can be damaging as it necessary to trust so many people in our lives. I have always found the concept of trust intriguing on personal and political levels. I have always seen the importance of trust, yet I feel at times it can be a double edged sword. Of course, a lack of trust whether with friends, family, or partners is terrible as it prevents relationships to grow. However, I have always believed trusting too much as a weakness. The more you trust, the more susceptible you are to a betrayal of that trust. That was my original viewpoint when it came to trust; yet, over the course of writing this article I have softened my original stance. While I naturally still have a slight fear of betrayal – as most people do – I will from now on try to trust more people and things. I learned from my research that lacking trust can be far more damaging. I hope that from reading this article, you gain the same positive experience I got from my research.

Trust is important in every relationship. We have to have trust in our family and friends and our partners. From the very beginning of our lives, we learn to trust our families. It is a vital stepping stone for building trust. We learn that we must trust that our family is always looking out for us and has our best interests at heart. If anything, I would say not trusting your family to begin with and dealing with the consequences leads to a greater trust. For example, when I was seven years old, I had a toy pedal car. My mother always specifically told me not to ride on top of it but to stay in its little cabin. Not trusting her better judgement, I sat on top of the pedal car. It lost control and I broke my foot. From then on, I have always trusted my mother’s judgement on safety, including most importantly to always be wearing a helmet when riding a bike. A total lack of trust in your family can be damaging, especially when you are still young and unaware of the world. This mistrust of family comes from a belief that your family mistrusts you. However, what many people see as mistrust is more often than not love. Parents are nosy and strict because they want to make sure you are safe. Too much trust can be damaging. The kids who I grew up with whose parents totally trusted them were psychologically and physically screwed up. They often showed poor work ethics from a lack of parental pressure and became physically out of shape with their parents letting them eat what they wanted.

As Leo Tolstoy asserted, “If you want to be happy, be.” Even in friendships, there is often the fear of betrayal of trust, yet if you trust in a friendship you will be trusted back once again. The positives outweigh the negatives in trusting.

As humans are social creatures. We feels the need to interact with others at an early age. Once again, trust is the cornerstone to any great friendship. A friendship built on trust is mutually beneficial as everybody has each other’s best interests at heart. Unlike families, friends more often than not are more likely to speak the truth and offer constructive criticism. While such truths can hurt, they help with your personal progression. Once again, a lack of trust here can be damaging. If you fail to take on their advice, you’re less likely to change and you could stagnate as a person. Worse, even a lack of trust could lead to an end of friendships and to your isolation as a person. As people, we are often very reserved when we meet others as fear of judgement is common; however, once there is trust, people feel they can be themselves. People who are themselves are often far more happy. As Leo Tolstoy asserted, “If you want to be happy, be.” Even in friendships, there is often the fear of betrayal of trust, yet if you trust in a friendship you will be trusted back once again. The positives outweigh the negatives in trusting.


Photo by: flickr.com - Vic

However, people’s personal reactions that suffer the most from lack of trust are in their relationships simply because trust is broken so often. While before I have made the point that lack of trust is more damaging than the potential betrayal of trust, I cannot make the same point here. Infidelity and adultery, which are so common, are terrible and can totally ruin lives. However, I will make the argument that a lack of trust can be just as damaging. Perhaps the scariest impact of a lack of trust is the potential to lead to depression. A lack of trust in a relationship can lead to the belief that the whole relationship has been a lie and to the feeling of a waste of time. Another impact is the decrease in intimacy as it can cause a person to pull away from his partner and withdraw all physical affection. This leads to frustration for both people in the relationship and heightens the chance of infidelity.

Trust is also an important factor on a much larger scale as it can have a monumental impact on the outcome of a country. A lack of trust in government has the biggest chance of seeing widespread change in countries with revolutions sometimes resulting from this. Bolivia itself has a revolution for this reason in 1809. Bolivia, then called Upper Peru, had been under Spanish rule since 1533. However, distrust began to grow. On May 6, 1808, the Spanish king Ferdinand VII abdicated. Distrust had been prevalent in Upper Bolivia for a while as the criollos, the mestizos, and the indigenous people all resented being ruled over by peninsulares -- influential people who had come over from Spain. In the chaos that resulted from the abdication, numerous Juntas vied for control of Upper Peru, most notably the Junta of Seville. Princess Carlotta of Brazil claimed authority over the region. What followed was a bitter struggle for the next 16 years, with independence finally being achieved in 1825.

Trust is vitally important to us on a variety of levels, from the importance that you trust the people around you in your everyday life to be the best and healthiest person you can be.

A lack of trust in police can cause massive security issues within a country. Bolivia is at risk of this as a recent study shows that only 35% of Bolivian people are satisfied with police performance – the lowest in all Americas. A major problem with a lack of trust in police is that that it can lead to a higher usage of the military in law enforcement situations. Already 66% of Bolivians would like to see armed forces combat crime. However popular it may be, militarized law enforcement is never a good idea. First, there has never been any proof that it reduces crime, and it can also lead to a less democratic country. Across much of Latin America, when law enforcement becomes militarized, so do many other government posts. For example, Honduras’ penitentiary system, civil aviation, and social service agency are run by the military. As you can see, the lack of trust can be damaging. Instead of preach for military intervention, efforts need to be made to make the police more trustworthy. The police need to work closely with the community, become respected contributors to it, and engage with both private and public organizations. Studies have long shown the success of this method of policing; it demonstrates that trust between people and the police increases. This is something the Bolivian police sorely needs.

Trust is vitally important to us on a variety of levels, from the importance that you trust the people around you in your everyday life to be the best and healthiest person you can be. People also fail to realize just how important trust is in the bigger picture, but events such as revolutions show just how far a little distrust in authority can go.

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