Trust, well-being and Positive Psychology

We often hear the statement about failed relationships as "there were trust issues" or apparently the trust between the partners was missing. More often so the same happens in any human relationship

Trust is an integral part of all human relationships, including romantic associations, family relations, business transactions, political messaging, and health care as well. If we do not trust our care-giver or a therapist, for example, it is much harder to get real benefit from a professional advise or expertise. Sometimes we hear people say, "we blindly trust that doctor, she will never give a wrong advice"

More than your likes and dislikes, Trust is also a matter of attitude as well. Many introverts for example are not able to get along well with new people and hence the trust is not an organic outcome of their meetings. Such kind of people take more time in understanding others and building the kind of rapport that would aid their trust in other people. 

Positive psychology, the science of well-being talks about building positive relationships as a key ingredient to sustain our long term happiness. Positive relationships are built around trust. How do we build such relationships?

There are few ways to do this;

1. Examine why we do not have trust in people and see, through a self-reflection whether it was us who had problems in seeing the others based on our perception or whether the other individual or group in question had seriously violated the terms of trust. In most of the cases if we shift the perception, we see people in a different light, or to say it affront, in their "actual light". Sometimes our ego comes in the way in trusting people.

2. Journaling our gratitude towards such attributes in people which are trust worthy is a helpful exercise. For example, a micro managing leader at your work may have good talent in reviewing a project report and providing timely feedback

3. Trying to connect to new people or rekindling old broken relationships is a great way to develop trust. Many a times because of our emotional vulnerabilities, we find difficulties in trusting people. We can always start afresh by sending "Thank you notes" to people with whom we are not in touch. It is always good to connect to new people. For example a developer connecting to the cafeteria manager and trying to understand the work he/she does. A friend from the US recently told me that at least once in few months, she has a nice coffee with her apartment's security guard who is a Philippine migrant to the US. Of course we have to keep our boundaries intact and see how many people are of interest to us.

4. Helping people in any way you can is a great foundation for building trust. If we help people and are committed to our word, people start trusting us and they help us back. This is a great leap forward in our own individual growth. Our personal well-being gets enhanced in the bargain. And the side effect - well you start enjoying this! I know it as I try to help people as far as possible and my friends are aware that I am just a call away.

For me, building trust had come through practice and personal experiences. But I found the science of Positive Psychology extremely useful when it comes to looking at the positives in people whom we work with or live with and leveraging those positives to understand each other better. 

As a coach, I work with people who have either challenges in building trust or are having inhibitions to go out and explore. Either way, I love helping people develop that trust. Also, I find conversations around trust or lack of it very engaging. I am reachable on