Let's Digress

Trust and Integrity

It is said that relationships are built on trust and that a relationship is only as strong as the level of trust between those involved. Really, it’s probably the most important part of any kind of relationship, whether that relationship be romantic, platonic, or business related.

Most of the time, trust is defined as how reliable someone is with following through on his or her commitments, promises, or the reliability of the things they say. Other times, trust is defined as how “safe” a person is, if they’re “trustworthy” or not. In other words, if they’re reliable enough to keep something sensitive confidential or if they can be left alone with something of value (money, small children, wheelchair-bound geriatrics, etc.).

However, there is another level of trust, a level that goes far beyond just being “safe” and “reliable” and having “follow-through” on commitments when it benefits oneself. This level of trust is usually only ever seen in people who have a more highly integrated character quality.

This higher level of trust exclusively looks out for the other person’s interests, regardless of what that means for oneself. With this more wholesome trust, the other person will watch and have your back for you, all the time. Not just when the relationship is benefiting them somehow, not just when the business deal is a “win-win” situation, but all the time, period, no matter what.

There is a Hebrew word for “trust” that has this definition: To trust is to be careless.

To paraphrase Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Integrity, this kind of trust means that you don’t have to worry about how to “take care” of yourself with that person, because they’re going to be worried about it as well. It means you don’t need to “guard” yourself with her, because she is going to be concerned with what is and is not good for you. You don’t have to “watch your back” with him, because he is going to be watching it for you and will have a concern for you too, even when he doesn’t have to.

You can be “careless” because the other person is looking out for you, just because it’s the right thing to do. No ulterior motives or secret reasons needed. They’re simply looking out for you because, 1) they genuinely care, and 2) because it’s the right thing to do.


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