Lately I have been presented with trust issues; my “people” have been making choices that lead me to not trust them. This is NOT a comfortable place to be.
Trust and respect are fundamental to the growth and maintenance of relationships. When we trust someone, we have confidence in their actions and can usually predict what they will do. This feels comforting. Respect is about honoring someone’s needs, thoughts, and feelings, and communicating this helps strengthen the relationship. A trusting and respectful relationship considers the other person’s boundaries, and encourages each person to take responsibility for their own attitudes and behaviors. Talking about our differences, and realizing that each person is a unique individual, is essential to feeling secure and solid about our roles in this world.
Yet how often do we put thought and effort into what and how we communicate? This is especially true when we get home from a long day at work or when we feel like we have so many “things” that need to get done. Do we take the time to communicate with our loved ones or do we just feel so exhausted that all we can do is turn on the TV and let the screen do the talking?
Healthy communication, mutual trust, and respect are critical for strengthening relationships of any kind. When we do not take the time and effort to listen or explain ourselves, dysfunction can result. This can lead to conflict, ineffective problem solving, lack of intimacy, and weak emotional bonding.
What Can We Do to Improve This?
1. Set aside time in our busy schedules and talk to each other! Even 10 minutes a day without distractions can make a difference. And this means looking at each other when talking and listening.
2. Pay attention to what the other person is saying and ask questions if you are not understanding.
3. Be empathetic. Tune into the other person’s feelings and let them know you do get what they are saying when they are telling you how they feel. Do not minimize their feelings. Watch your words when responding to them, remembering their feelings are real to them and we need to respect them.
4. Manners count – yes even with loved ones you see often. Say please, thank you, and you’re welcome. When they do something, this means you do not have to. So show your gratitude with your words for not having to work so hard.
To receive trust and respect, it helps to show trust and respect to others. Model behaviors you want to receive. Sometimes we have to count to 10 before we speak. Often we need to make the effort when we do not think we have it in us to do so. Trust and respect can take some work. And being in relationships that have both is very comforting, and worth the effort.