The Nature of Trust

Trust is the sense that another person or human organization has integrity and will act in our best interest.  It is distinct from love and friendship; we place our trust in many who we do not love or befriend and, through the course of our lives, we love some individuals who we cannot trust.

Our ability to trust others is likely affected by our early childhood experience; if we are ignored, abused or abandoned by parents or caretakers, we may find it hard to trust other individuals.  In like manner, repeated episodes of misplaced trust may diminish our capacity to rely on other human beings.  For most of us, over the years, we come to trust a mix of individuals and organizations that earn our respect and rely on them repeatedly for their advice and support; among these are friends and loved ones with whom we share our passions, beliefs, hopes and fears.

Trust is not always permanent.  Some who earn our trust later prove to be deceitful or unreliable; examples are charitable, financial or religious organizations that demonstrate fraudulent activity or engage in behavior that defy their basic tenets.  While our trust in others is frequently tested, we cannot flourish without a willingness to rely on fellow humans and the organizations that foster our passions; in the end, social trust is a vital component of our lives.