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Are You Trustworthy? Am I?

24 August

Am I TrustworthyI used to believe if I fulfilled all the outer conditions that are measure of trustworthiness, things like:

Keeping appointments
Respecting the confidential nature of my conversations with others – family, friends, clients
Presenting myself openly
Acting consistently through all these events and experience…

Then I fulfilled the conditions of trustworthiness, therefore, I am/was trustworthy.

Experience drove home a different message. For example, if I were act in a way that I believed to demonstrate ‘being consistent’ while I was in fact experiencing annoyance or skepticism or some other non-accepting feeling, I was certain, in the long run, to be perceived as inconsistent or untrustworthy.

Do you see the humor in that? I didn’t for a long time…until I did! I got it. It’s not about adopting some behavior and acting on it all the time, it’s about acting with integrity no matter what you’re feeling.

I have come to recognize that being trustworthy does not demand that I be rigidly consistent, but that I be dependably real. It’s a hugely different experience and one that, once I surrendered to it, was much easier to maintain consistently, because it’s real. It’s not me trying to do or be something I think is right because I decided it was. Even if I was trying to do right…

The term congruent is one I have used many times to describe the way I would like to be.  By this I mean that whatever feeling or attitude I experience would be matched by my awareness of that attitude.

When this is true, then I believe I am a unified or integrated person in that moment and hence I can be whatever I deeply am. That doesn’t mean I get to behave in any way I want, but it means I can truthfully experience what I feel and find a constructive way to work with whatever that is. That’s trustworthy and dependable. It’s not always easy, because telling the truth isn’t easy, especially when our everyday norms dictate that we smile and say ‘fine’ when asked how we are.

I’m suggesting that you unburden and say everything that’s on your mind in every moment, but rather that you feel what you do, and act from your true centre – knowing that you can accept how you feel and be true to your own integrity. That’s trustworthy defined a new way.

The reality of being dependable is sometimes not congruent with who you really are or how you feel in a given moment. That’s OK, if you can be true to what you believe and integrate it with what you feel so you show up authentic. We know when we’re experiencing the real thing, our internal compass tells us, if only we pay attention.

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