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Friends, family, partners, and spouses, trust is the cornerstone of genuine and satisfying personal relationships. Remember our three circles of trust? The center one stays the same when we are building trust in our personal relationships. We still need to have the character attributes of integrity. Honesty, compassion. Our relational partners need to have integrity, honesty, and compassion. The middle circle, contained those day to day actions we use to establish trust.
Those are a little different in the work place and at home. But the day to day actions are still the backbone of trusting relationships. Do you everyday, prioritize time with loved ones? Do you everyday share openly? Do you listen deeply and without judgement? Do you keep promises? Do you express gratitude? Our outside circle, with the credibility busters and boosters, is far less important in our personal relationships, and that's good, because we have our work cut out for us, making sure we're on track with the inner two.
Part of being open and honest, is being willing to face tough conversations with your loved ones. As a chronic conflict avoider, I find this so challenging. But so worth while. Open sensitive conversations carefully. Avoid language like, we need to talk, or, we've got a problem, and opt, instead, for phrases such as, I want to talk, but I don't want to make it worse. How about you? Or, I sense something isn't sitting well with you. Is it about us? Know what you want, before you start a difficult conversation.
It does no good for you to say, honey, you're getting on my last nerve, if you can't even articulate what behavioral change you want. Fill up your emotional bank account. That's what Steven Covey calls our need for more positive than negative interactions relationships. If you need to make a withdrawal, like bringing up an unpleasant conversation. You wont bankrupt the relationship if you've made plenty of deposits. Emotional deposits happen when you compliment someone, when you cover for each other, help each other, or confide in one another.
Strive to keep your emotional account balance, way above zero. Finally, a note on being too trusting. Now wait a minute, too trusting? Throughout this training I've sung the praises of trust and how it is essential to healthy relationships. Can we even be too trusting? Yes. We do need to do a gut check every once in awhile. Know the difference between unintentional violations of trust, he would have been on time for date night, but traffic was horrible, and deliberate betrayals of trust, he didn't want you to know how much he spent on the game tickets, so he lied and tried to hide the receipts.
Building trust can be hard work, the hardest work in a relationship. But it's worth it.
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