When we talk about health most of us think about our physical health. That is an important thing and I try to take that seriously by eating healthy and exercising. Emotional and spiritual health is something we don’t think about or talk about as much. I believe that they are even more important than physical health because they contribute to physical health. When we are unhealthy emotionally or spiritually it can actually contribute to physical problems because of the unhealthy beliefs and thinking that contribute to the emotional state we are in. So how do we get a handle on how healthy we are emotionally.
One of the biggest indicators of emotional health is the level of trust a person has. The dysfunction of mistrust hurts relationships, marriages, work environments, churches, families and even entire countries. Mistrust and control often go hand in hand. At its core control comes from not trusting others to make healthy and wise choices. Mistrust is often present when there is not proper clarity and when boundaries are not defined. When their is a lack of communication people begin to mistrust. Here are some things that create a culture of mistrust, either at home or at work:
- Approaching people from the beginning with an attitude of mistrust. Many people have a built-in attitude of mistrust. This attitude says, “I will not trust you until you prove that I can trust you.” That is the reverse of what a healthy person would think. This attitude often is the result of being hurt in the past and therefore guarding against that ever happening again.
- Believing something to be true when you don’t have all the facts. In other words assuming things that turn out to be false or untrue. This happens when you don’t ask questions and dig for the truth. It also happens when you automatically think the worst instead of believe the best.
- Believing what someone says without hearing the other side of the story or knowing all the facts.
Healthy people don’t draw conclusions without doing due diligence.
So how do you build trust? How do you change a culture in a home, church or workplace that has mistrust?
- Choose to trust unless you are given a reason not to.
- Assume that motives are right even when you disagree.
- Be proactive in clarifying issues rather than assuming something to be true.
Finally here are some trust building principles that will help transform your relationships at home and at work.
- Choose to Trust – Choose to trust people unless they give you a reason not to. When trust is broken make the effort to let that person know how trust can be re-established.
- Be up-front and candid – Tell people what you are thinking and don’t hope they pick up on your hints. Tell people what your expectations are and be clear about what you are thinking and why.
- Keep your Promises – Do what you say you will do and be honest when you know you can’t.
- Act Consistently – Your life needs to match your words. You need to be consistent in how you treat people, how you express love to people and how you handle conflict.
- Listen Carefully – This will transform your relationships because it will help to cut down on misunderstandings. To listen well you need to ask clarifying questions, repeat back what the person said, honestly consider peoples opinions and suggestions and even change your mind if they have a better idea. Seek first to understand and then to be understood.
- Caring for People – Be genuine and treat people the way you would want to be treated. Care about them as a whole person not just for how they can help you. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Be Self-Disclosing -Be quick to admit your own weaknesses and when you have made a mistake. Share your story with people in appropriate ways. For people you are close with open up and share the good the bad and the ugly. If you are hiding something, it eventually comes out in your behavior.
- Empower people don’t control – Give people the freedom to do what they are responsible to do. Allow them to make mistakes and coach when necessary. In a marriage relationship this means allowing your spouse to have other friends and activities they enjoy. Clarify your desires and vision for your marriage. Speak their love language without expecting them to speak yours. Don’t give in order to get.
- Clarify, don’t Assume – Always believe the best instead of assuming the worst. When he is late again, believe that he had a busy day and something unexpected came up instead of assuming he intentionally worked late to make you mad.
Healthy people trust, unhealthy people mistrust. It is the same way spiritually. Healthy people trust God completely and believe He will do what he says He will do. I encourage you to get healthy, take a risk and start trusting more.