Tust and Trustworthiness

high trust

High Trust Environment – how does that feel? Have you experienced a high trust environment? Ideally your family! Maybe? What does the above image say to you?

What motivates us? What encourages us to change? What can breach the barriers separating one group from another, so that our differences are celebrated? Enduring change can only happen if there is change in the brain of an individual. It starts inside us. It happens because intrinsically our neurons and dendrites grow new networks. Brain Plasticity is real. Our brains can change and shift so that these virtues, these energies, these character strengths become more a way of life than defensiveness and groupism. They are the way we interact with our world, our emotional tone, the atmosphere of who we are.
But, this kind of change is slow. Neurological transformation – brain plasticity, is similar to plant growth, they are both organic.
When the magnet strokes the iron, the electrons align. The metal’s intrinsic force is awakened. Attraction and repulsion maximises. This energy is a current that can be surfed. The river can be canoed. Entanglement and stuckness are minimised. There is disentanglement!
I call this process Intrisic Organic Disentanglement.

Reflect on your life. Which areas are characterised by higher trust and which by lower? How differently do you feel when with a high trust person or group, than a low trust person or group? With many families I hear how difficult their child is at home, but at school or in other people’s homes they are helpful, courteous and respectful. Home is the place we let down our guard, as we need to, to be ourself even if we are not a ‘nice’ person. For home is our haven of Trust, the place to lay down our head and, be at home.

Trust is kind of a ‘commodity’. Through banks and wills we set up Trusts and Trust Accounts run by Trustees. Yet, the experience of High Trust is a very rare gem, more rare than diamonds, gold and precious things. On reflection, do many people experience high trust in their lives? It seems to me that few do. Explicit effort to create a high trust environment is necessary, for trust doesn’t just happen, it is created by the type of experience we have. Trust is earned by those whose actions are continually trustworthy. Humans are mostly good at sensing, over time, how much to trust another person as there is a clear difference in the atmosphere created in places of high trust. Living with high trust in relationships frees people into the joy of experiencing their full potential.  Trust is everywhere and especially hidden in the small moments of really hearing people in the day to day of communications. So often people may trust their parent with the big things in their lives, security, money, homes. But in the day to day interactions, instead of empathy and listening with care, understanding, acceptance, people remain self centred and so cannot get where the other is. Patient listening with deep tolerance is necessary for abiding trust which connects in a living way, people’s hearts. Here strength grows sturdy as a tree which bursts forth in blossoms, for honey bees to harvest. You will discover the person you are meant to be in ways you didn’t even know existed. Everyone has this right. You may be ‘neuro typical’ and thus able to play the games of cheekiness, flirting, irony, oblique humour etc, but remember those that are not ‘neuro typical’, autistic, asperges, ADD, oppositional defiant, post traumatic stress etc. These people can only more or less get these games. The games are founded on double meaning, micro tones and micro expressions with irony, sattire, sarcasm etc that the neuro typical either misses or integrates, but the non-neuro typical doesn’t, they instead are left disturbed and conflicted with dissonance. For the games to work, there must be two to tango this dance, for only if you have someone who ‘gets you’ and whom you ‘get’ can you play. Non neuro typical in general just don’t get the innuendos.

Our more evolved self, deeply connected to our humanity, can live with a metaphor which reflects reality and informs it.

So what to do about those who can’t handle all this? What if you are highly sensitive and open so that you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, even insecure when there is innuendo, contradictory looks, nuance and subtlety, sarcasm, metaphor and irony? I have for many years now worked with quite a few of these people who were diagnosed as asperges or high functioning autism. In a world of human rights, which celebrates the values of individuality and difference, people who have a limited ability to filter the emotions and attitudes and power games of others, like autistic people, are calling the rest of humanity to a challenge. If we value respect, we can’t toy with these people. We are challenged to take them seriously and rise to a level of respect for human dignity. We are challenged to honour each other’s right to be different, and that includes to be autistic. In short, we are being invited to take responsibility for the way we treat others, for the way we treat everyone.

Is it not true that each individual is called by their humanity to take responsibility for their actions, so as to affirm the human rights of another? Those that do this effectively build reputations of enduring trust, engendering deep respect and loyaly. Is this not the overwhelming and explicit value of most ‘civilised’ countries? If we are to espouse and live by these high values, we, the ‘neuro-typicals’, who can self reflect, who know a little about how to play the games of relationships, are called by those who can’t, to show them the respect they deserve, for their vulnerability overwhelms them by heightened sensitivity to the body language, facial expressions and tone of voice that we express in the moment.

My raison d’être has been to offer respect and care and meaningful connection. I do this explicitly and tenaciously and in this, others find their person. They are heard. They know they are listened to. There is eye contact and presence. The body language speaks trustworthiness. The survival brain which is so often on, in varying degrees and in subconscious ways, slowly reduces it’s control. It quietens, allowing the movement toward deep and genuine listening and presence. If we could measure hormones as they change, you are likely to see a significant reduction in cortisal, the defensive hormone and an increase in oxytocin – as is evidenced by research on intimate conversations. We get into resonance, feel we’re on the same page. We feel appreciated. We feel understood and even liked. We feel that what we have to say matters and that we don’t need to be RIGHT all the time. There is little or no judgement, rather there is acceptance, reflection and response.

My intention is to keep a trust lens before my eyes, my words and my actions. To empathise first, to call on peacefulness and create a safe space which allows high emotional energy to first settle without being hijacked by fear, worry, disgust, defensiveness etc. We work with acceptance and forgiveness and focus on how quickly we can recover from tantrums and meltdowns. We explore restorative justice and what kinds of amends are appropriate. We honour personal dignity.

Part of the process is that I focus on personal characteristics, virtues that are reflected in actions like – creativity and enthusiasm in conversations. (see my article: Acknowledgement is NOT Praise !! in this blog). Boundaries are built together as are ground rules that, although non-negotiable are never imposed without compassion, flexibility and understanding. This kind of restorative justice practise helps nurture the person. Like a seed that sprouts in fertile soil and grows into a young plant supported by the stable stake of courage and empathy.

We explore how to enter the social world intact, by opening doors of imagination through real life stories. It is like looking out into the real world from within the autistic / asperges person’s self constructed castle of ‘safety’. When we are ready, we go out into the world and reflect and evaluate the experience. In safe spaces we have fun and laugh and show our imperfections, our vulnerabilities and the fact that everyone is a work in progress. We explore understandings and practises that allow people to choose. One Step, no matter how small, is appreciated as part of the journey. It is, The Way of the Ant, for without each tiny piece of sand brought by the ant, the complex anthill would not get built.

We explore high sensitivity and practise how to ‘lean into’ (Brene Brown’s term) and move toward becoming ‘the person they feel they are meant to be’. I nurture small movements, with clear descriptions and images of what could be. Ideas and stories grow into actions, practise and patterns of effective living. I do not react to the ‘tests’ of these people – which they will throw at me in the form of typically antisocial behaviour and language. Practise does not make perfect. Practise makes IMPROVEMENT and that adage is the foundation for building a high trust environment and relationship.

There is a harmful version of what appears to be ‘high trust’. Sometimes ‘trust’ is forced on others. This kind of ‘trust’ is based on fear. The fear is built by those who have power over people who are then forced to ‘trust’ the dominant controller e.g. dictators and gang bosses. Loyalty and power hierarchies are about controlling others, fear based ‘trust’ like in the movie Good Fellas. Throughout the movie, ‘trust’ is emphasised. But this ‘trust’ is constructed on a rotten foundation – camaraderie based on crime, power over others and the fear of exclusion and betrayal. Over time, the consequences of this situation lead to over confidence, insecurity, drugs, egos which become inflated as power develops in the gang. This leads to slights, dissing, leverage, back-biting, manipulation, betrayal and a slowly growing alienation between ‘friends’. As this pattern extends further, group cohesion and ‘trust’ is destroyed and typically, as in the movie, many people including game members are killed.

Genuine trust, enhances freedom and creativity, respect for human rights and responsibility, vulnerability, wholeheartedness and connection.

Genuine trust is about power with not power over.

When trust is shared and grown with someone very close to you, this elusive experience is often accompanied by a magical lightness and effervescence of being. A kind of sacred space where intuition, knowing and resonance are almost spiritual.

Much of my writing, workshops and presentations explore the patterns of what this looks like, as I cycle through the spiral of my Life.
It’s likely that sometimes you too are aware of your cycles.
Sometimes we choose to be open, so as to grow and evolve.
Sometimes life forces it on us.
Circumstances change, we get older, there are new experiences, loss and achievement, knowledge and confusion, alienation and unity.
Potentially we move toward the person we feel we are meant to be, we mature into the wisdom of the elder and then even the sage.

In the cycle of the spiral,
we revisit places and spaces

I invite you to explore the sacred space of high trust and trustworthiness with the people of your life.

I wish to share with you parts of my journey, evolving the Self.
You are most welcome to contribute to the conversation …


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2 Responses to Tust and Trustworthiness

  1. jack says:

    I stumbled upon your blog web site on google and check a few of your current early blogposts. Continue to keep in the very good work. I just added up your Feed to my own MSN Reports Reader. In search of forward to studying more by you later on!


    • nadiipp says:

      Very happy you find the blog useful – please feel free to share it with your connections if you deem worthy. May we all find meaningful growth as we Develop the Self. Also, if you wish to have a conversation about any of the writing, please feel free.


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