Unpacking Trust

I am sat quietly in the conservatory, where it is now cool and quiet, the clear table with just the vase of simple flowers and where it was only a few hours ago, filled with laughter, chatter, platters of wholesome simple delicious food, warm from the sun and bodies littered on ledges, seats and armchairs.


We had and have so much to celebrate and be grateful for…. Highlighted by this small gathering of good friends and their families.


But this evening, while the sun sets to the sounds of Willy’s overtired wails from the windows above, I feel uneasy, unsettled, restless.  My Big Man, usually the life and soul of a party, exuberant, animated, laughing the loudest, sat opposite me, the length of the table and his eyes were sad, his mind elsewhere, quietly looking into his glass, absent in spirit and often in person, once to be found lying on a bed upstairs with Tom.


Faint alarm bells started to ring in my mind.  The sweet cream of the pavlova, curdled sickly on my stomach.


Was he wishing he was somewhere else, with someone else?


In the quiet spell and lull as everyone has left, I found him sat quietly where I am sat now.  And we speak of our feelings.


I stumbled on just the most poignant Ted talk by Brene Brown this week on trust.  Such a big word that I wasn’t able to explain to Tom in the car this week what it meant, perhaps only touching the surface of its depth of meaning.


Marbles.  She uses marbles and a jar to explain it.  Trust between people is gained and can be measured by how much they do to fill up their ‘marble jar’ with the seemingly insignificant daily things, the connections and small moments between people to show how much they matter.


And she also uses the words by John Gottman, which I paraphrase but says that ‘trust is built in the smallest of ‘sliding door’ moments, where you have an opportunity to build trust or betray it.  Each time you choose not to connect with an opportunity to build trust, is simply betrayal.’ And a definition by Charles Feltman ‘Trust is choosing to make something important to you, vulnerable to the actions of someone else.’


I have been suffering trust issues.  With the Big Man is the obvious one – because my heart was important to me, I made it vulnerable to him and his actions broke it.  With myself – because I trusted myself, I trusted my gut and instincts and made them vulnerable to myself and my action was to ignore them.


But I also have trust issues with friends, and I have found it very difficult to try and explain to myself and others, why.


And this is where I have found the most help; Brene unpacks the components of ‘trust’ and names the different types of marbles that can fill the jar by using the acronym ‘BRAVING’.


There are marbles for respecting Boundaries, being Reliable and doing what you said you would do, being Accountable for your actions, mistakes and making amends for them, holding secrets in a Vault that is not meant for the ears of others, having Integrity by living your values, being Non judgemental when people ask something of you and by being Generous in your thoughts of others, always seeing the best first.


Using these, I am able to now see why I have lost trust as so many marbles have been tipped out of their jars.


And I can see why the Big Man was sad today.  What he did, didn’t make him a bad man, but he is aware and so disappointed in himself that his mistakes made the incredibly full trust jars that everyone held sacred with his name on, suddenly emptied as the marbles all came tumbling out.


He has been so strident and determined, consistent and blinkered, wholeheartedly passionate in filling my marble jar again and again so that it will be overflowing, that today was a harsh reminder that there are others who have marble jars to tend to also.


And having watched and absorbed this information, I was able to share with him the final words of Brene, that when you have lost trust of yourself, you need to begin to fill up your own marble jar first for you can’t ask others to trust you, if you don’t trust yourself first.


bowl with marble shoot in studio

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