No matter what stage of life you are in, it can be hard to know who and what to trust.
We live in an imperfect world. There are times when it is not appropriate to trust a particular person or situation. If there is a need of proof of this, you can look at corporate and institutional scandals as well as fabricated stories by politicians, editors, sales people, and journalists. People use social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to say whatever they want to say. It may or may not be truthful.
This is not a new problem.
According to the University of Chicago National Opinion Research Center, 53 percent of Americans believed most people could be trusted in 1964. Pew Research compiled an index of public trust released in 2007. Individuals responded to the question, "Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted, or that you can't be too careful in dealing with people?"
- 45% believed most people are trustworthy.
- 35% of all adults fell into the "high social trust" category.
- 38% fell into the "low trust" category.
- 27% were in the middle range.
Today, the trust level is even lower.
How do you answer the question, "Can most people be trusted?"
How you answer this question affects your general attitude about life. Research clrearly indicates feelings of trust impact your life in several ways. People who are more trusting tend to be more optimistic. Unfortunately, people who lack trust tend to be pessimistic.
Positive Psychology research has found that pessimism can be harmful to your health in the following ways:
- Intellectually – slows down the thinking process making you less alert.
- Emotionally – increases negative thoughts which can lead to depression.
- Physically – slows down response time, weakens muscles, and your immune system.
There are lots of factors that go into building trust with others, different situations, and with yourself. It also requires time. The challenge is to learn to be realistically optimistic.
What you do need is to be able to build your emotional strength, so that you are able to make a wise choice about who and what to trust. In those situations where you are able to trust, you will be more optimistic about the world you live in, who you are, and what you can accomplish.
What do you need to do differently to be able to:
- Answer this question with a strong "yes?"
- Be emotionally strong and realistically optimistic?
Comment in the box below about what helps you build trust.
Until next time,