Trust allows us to rely on something or someone. Trust has to do with the next step towards wherever we are headed. If I step off of solid ground on to a swinging bridge to cross a chasm, I am trusting that the bridge will hold me as I take the first and then the next step. My hope for success and security is placed in trustworthiness of something or someone else. To trust requires that I risk faith, confidence, reliance, and dependence on this other thing or person. We have to relinquish self-sufficiency to trust; since no one can find well-being alone, we must find people who are trustworthy.
Trust of another is a category of relationship that has a great deal to do with merit or earning. Trustworthy people are those who have the characteristics that have earned the worthiness of being trusted. That is, we who need to trust can risk faith, confidence, reliance and dependence upon the history of dependability of the one we are trusting. Trust is the risk; trustworthiness is earned.
Four essential characteristics are required for someone to meet the standard of trustworthiness. (We must remember as I speak of a standard, I do not speak of perfection, as much as I speak of focus and direction. We are all works in progress, and we all fail. However, trustworthy people live in such a way that one can see a focus and direction in their lives.) The four characteristics express and expose one’s essential character. Trustworthy people possess capability, integrity, truth, and empathy.
Trustworthy people have capability to move towards what they themselves hope to do.
Capability is made up of two words, capacity and ability. Capable people have the capacity to continue to learn and grow in whatever area that makes them dependable to others. They continue to make room in themselves to learn more and gain more around their specific areas of authority. They are open to more, and have the volume or space to take in more because of their openness. This capacity allows them to continue to grow their abilities, or refine, improve, invest in and expand their talents. Ability is a gift set that can always be improved, added to or multiplied. Capacity and ability make one capable. Capable people can be relied on to bring the best they have to participate in the best outcome.
Trustworthy people have integrity.
Integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole or complete. Many giant trees that look strong and vibrant may be hollow inside and come down quickly in a storm. The appearance of the tree doesn’t match the inner core of the tree. It was not solid, or it lacked integrity. People of integrity are essentially solid, that is, their inner self matches their outer presentation. They are integrated, which means that the heart, the thoughts, and the actions move in congruence. What you see is really what you get with people of integrity because they live with others the way they live when they are not with others. One p.m. is the same to people of integrity as one a.m.
Trustworthy people tell the truth.
They will speak honestly and wisely about their feelings, ideas, and opinions without imposing them on the other person. They can say, “yes” and they can say, “no,” and be relied upon to do both. They can also admit and work on mistakes and failures. The truth characteristic can make the person not seem safe, but they will be known as good. They are not safe if one wants to be patronized; but they are good if one is searching for trust.
Trustworthy people have empathy.
A trustworthy person has a focus and a direction that they themselves are following. They themselves trust an intrinsic set of values that are not dependent upon the approval of others. Therefore, they can seem rigid, when they are actually unyielding, which makes them trustworthy. The difference between rigidity or being controlling and trustworthiness is empathy. Empathy allows a person to care. Empathic people can relate to the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of another because of their awareness of how much alike we all are. Empathy comes from humility, and humility reinforces empathy. A person of empathy has faced and felt and persevered through loss and failure, betrayal and wounds, struggles and heartache, enough to not forget the realities of being human in a difficult place. They know that they live on earth and for that there is no cure. They can understand with their hearts and still maintain the character one needs of a trustworthy person.
Trustworthy people are known from the inside out, remain consistent as to who they are, do not assume authority that is not theirs, and do not pull away from appropriate authority that is theirs. They can be relied upon to show up in our lives to help us move into the future we hope for.