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Trust Is A Choice

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

Unity of Birmingham Guest Writer Series:

By Jane Phillips

“Trust is ‘choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.’ Distrust is ‘deciding that what is important to me is not safe with this person in this situation (or any situation.)’ Trust is a word made real by actions.”

Charles Feltman (The Thin Book of Trust: An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work)

I recently attended a Trust Circle—my first such group in many years. I was impressed with the degree to which people who were strangers to me felt safe to speak honestly and openly. One of the cornerstones of such groups is that one must be willing to allow spirit to guide and respond only to what one’s inner guidance suggests. It reminded me of the Quaker meditation services I have attended. To allow spirit to lead, we must willingly relinquish control of the experience and simply be present in the moment.

Trust is not something that comes easily to me, as it probably doesn’t to many people. We’ve become an angry nation in the last few years. Seemingly, we expect the worst and put on our defensive armor just to walk out our front door. We are no longer surprised when violence erupts in public places. Paranoia is our daily bread. And yet, the Trust Circle asks us to be vulnerable, and to willingly surrender control—that’s a big ask.

In intimate relationships, even in close friendships, we must allow ourselves to take off the armor, and to relax our defensive posture so that we can be authentic. Surprisingly, even in love relationships, that isn’t easy to do. As a counselor, I heard stories every day of all the things married and mated people kept from each other. Usually, the reason given was, “I don’t want to hurt him/her.” I’m not an advocate for unloading all your pet peeves on your significant other, but the underlying reason for withholding our truth is usually not the stated one. We tend to hide what we’re not proud of.

The first step in learning to trust the universe (God) is to trust ourselves, and if we know there is something we’re lying about, or withholding for whatever reason from the people we love, we cannot trust ourselves. A good example of trust in action is the process in the twelve-step groups called “making amends.” It centers around coming clean about ourselves—telling the other person(s) what we’ve done that affected them and apologizing for it. Sometimes, saying I’m sorry goes a long way toward healing a wound. But, more than that, making amends offers a very concrete way to self-evaluate, and to take an honest look at ourselves.

When one trusts oneself, it’s easier to trust others, and to extend trust to the universe. “I trust that I will be guided, that I will be shown the way, that I am not alone, that I am loved. I will listen to my inner guidance and follow where it leads.” These affirmations, said daily, help develop trust. It’s a practice, not a one-and-done kind of thing. Life will present many opportunities for you to choose whether to trust a person or a situation, and if you develop a good working relationship with your own soul—your inner guide—you will know in the moment what is the right thing to do. Trust that. Listen to your head, listen to your heart, and when they are in harmony, go.

In the Spirit, Jane

About the Writer

Jane Philips is a retired Special Education teacher, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Licensed Massage Therapist. She has also lead Spirituality Groups, Wisdom Circles, drumming circles, and she wrote a daily blog for twelve years called Spiritually

Speaking. Jane is currently working on a memoir titled, Old Crazy Town. She is a fifth-

generation quilter.


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