In the general population about one out of ten people are completely untrustable.
They are called “cons” and they live by these “rules”:
1) Only fools tell the truth.
2) If you can get by with it, it’s OK.
3) Joy and love don’t exist.
So excitement is the only good feeling in life.
4) Say anything – you can always talk your way out of it.
Luckily, when we meet cons we usually know it right away.
If their shallow values don’t give them away,
the fact that they break their word about 50% of the time surely does.
ABOUT THE REST OF US
The other 90% of us are trustable about 95% of the time.
We don’t lie as a general rule,
and we don’t live by the egocentric rules listed above.
But we do lie to ourselves sometimes, about specific things!
And, of course, we lie to others about these same things.
This is what makes the question of trust so difficult.
USING YOUR BRAIN TO DECIDE ABOUT TRUST
If you are wondering whether to trust someone or not,
the only question you need to ask yourself is:
How often do they break their word?
Make mental notes whenever the person you are evaluating
gives you their word by making a promise or a commitment:
If they almost never break their word they are trustable.
If they break their word about a few things but not about most things,
trust them ONLY in the areas in which they keep their word.
If they break their word about 50% of the time, they are cons.
Don’t trust them about anything.
USING SOMETHING BETTER THAN YOUR BRAIN
Infants will coo while one person holds them
but cry loudly as soon as someone else picks them up.
They make quick and accurate decisions about who to trust.
If we could still make our decisions that way,
trust problems would be easily resolved.
HOW INFANTS DECIDE ABOUT TRUST
Infants are little bundles of physical sensation.
They do their remembering with their bodies,
not with their minds.
Their bodies remember what it feels like to be handled with love,
and they compare that “body memory”
with how they feel when they are being handled by someone else.
RELEARNING HOW INFANTS MAKE DECISIONS
1) Think about someone you trust completely because they always keep their word.
2) While thinking about this person, take a reading of your body. Notice how you feel in your torso (shoulders to pelvis). To make sure you remember this sensation, write down a few words to describe it (e.g.-“warmth in my chest,” “lighter in my stomach,” whatever.)
3) Practice making yourself feel this sensation over and over (about 10 times). Get so good at it that you can make the sensation happen with just a single thought.
4) Now think about someone you do not trust because they seldom keep their word..
5) Repeat step 2. (Notice the completely different sensation you feel.)
6) Repeat step 3 (Practice this new feeling.)
7) Now test your skill by thinking about some recent acquaintances. Take another “body reading” as you think about each of these people, one at a time. Compare these sensations with the sensations you remember from the person you trust, and then with the sensations you remember from the person you don’t trust.
8) Then simply ask yourself: “Do I trust these new people?”
The answer will come to you immediately,
without further thinking,
and without further testing or practice.
You have reacquired a skill,
and it will always be available for you.
THE “LITTLE PROFESSOR”
The ability you can relearn in this way has a cute name.
It’s called “the little professor.”
It means “the brilliant way infants think.”
Infants are almost never wrong!
(Wish I could say the same thing about my grownup thinking!)
From now on you will be able to use your “little professor”
along with your adult thinking
to help you make all the important decisions in your life.
Set the goal of learning to read your body so well
that it can even work as a “lie detector”
to uncover the lies you tell yourself!
Look for other articles about fear and safety and trust to learn more.