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T is for Trust

Trust is like a delicate flower. When stepped on, it may wither, but beneath its surface lie roots with the power to make it bloom again when cultivated with patience.

In my upbringing, I was raised with a cautionary tale: trust no one, especially political leaders. Having been born in a suppressed state, where speaking against it could lead to imprisonment or worse, served as a significant trigger. I was woven a narrative on the egoistic and cruel human gene by both parents and society. The idea is not novel; writers like William Golding and psychologists like Philip Zimbardo, known for the Stanford Prison Experiment, have propagated it for centuries.

Examining their observations, the evidence seems clear: humans can't be trusted. Whether in the absence of a strong central authority, leading to a "war of all against all," or when individuals are empowered to then only engage in extreme and abusive behavior. Those stories appear reasonable and trustworthy. But are they?

The human mind is a trickster. It seeks to make sense of things and loves to trust stories that fill the gaps, even if proven wrong. It tends to trust narratives influenced by personal experiences, cultural background, social context, authoritative figures, emotional resonance, and alignment with pre-existing beliefs.

Consider Golding, who wrote "Lord of the Flies" after losing faith in civilization during World War II, and Zimbardo, who outlined guard expectations before his experiment started.

History showcases inhuman behavior but also the strengths of community. We're not doomed; we have the power. Trust is the basis of change. Without it, acquiring necessities like safety, stability, emotional well-being, intimacy, communication, cooperation, connection, and resilience becomes challenging. Trust doesn't come easy, but when nurturing it it can transform the landscape of our lives. As we navigate the narratives that shape our perceptions, let us reflect on how those trusted stories serve us. Do we bloom or do we wither?

Do you want to learn more about trust?

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T is for Trust
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