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Some thoughts on life, purpose, leadership, ministry and some other stuff.

The Psychology Of Trust


Whether we know it or not, our lives are a sum total of several patterns of varying magnitudes. From the timing of our meals to the order in which we dress, somehow our brains have developed an involuntary system for carrying out some routine tasks. I realized I belt my jeans before I wear them. I have to brush my teeth before I take my bath or, for some reason, I might just forget the former completely. Our brains have even learnt how to read in patterns; we rarely process words alphabet by alphabet. We defer to patterns because they conserve mental and emotional energy.  Trust is a good combination of emotional and psychological energy. We trust with our hearts and heads. We are said to have blind trust when we cave in to the pull of our hearts, ignoring what our heads say. Our heads see, hear and think; our hearts feel. Ever heard of 'gut feeling'? That's blind trust beckoning.

So what does trust have to do with patterns? Think of it. You go to a restaurant, pull out a chair and sit, pick up a menu and order your drinks and food. This pattern rarely changes, and if so, it does with minor tweaks. Somehow in this pattern you have come to trust the integrity of the chair. We believe wholeheartedly without knowing it. We trust the waiter understood and captured our order. We believe what appears before us is what we ordered, except when there is a stark disconnect.  We trust the waiter didn't spit into the food. We trust the pattern because it has worked countless times.

We trust people because over time, pattern on pattern, they have earned it. We confided in them and they held our confidence. We reached out and they were there. We knocked and they opened. We called and they answered. So somehow, our hearts let go of the chokehold and involuntarily flaps the gate open. Our brains, eager to shorten nervous connections, bypass the mental vetting process that keep us suspicious. And we let go.

We let go because a combination of time, tests and actions have produced patterns that warm our hearts and calm our minds.

Why do we feel heart broken? Why do we feel deceived? It's simple. A breech of trust causes us to loose faith in ourselves. It causes us to question our processes, mental and emotional. We get discouraged because, again, we have to go through the laborious process of emotional and mental testing, vetting and gating that keep us on our toes and drains us of energy.

We loose trust because patterns, once trustworthy, have failed us.

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