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Trust and Benefit of Doubt

Breaking one’s trust or getting betrayed is a common affair these days. And we all have been on both sides of the situation. Even though we very much acknowledge that understanding is essential to a relationship, we often forget to do so. And it is only human that we forget it as we are blinded by the emotional toll that we are facing at the time. We, in fact, judge them and assume that they have changed, which may not always the case. So, even when you have judged:

Have you thought enough, especially by fitting into other person's shoes? You want others to trust you - are you truthful? Are you open to trusting them despite the circumstance that concludes otherwise? One of the most important virtues of human relations is TRUST – a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. I believe it is not a big deal to trust others when everything is fine. The true sense of TRUST remains valid especially when things are going wrong. So, do we really trust people when it is required the most? Let us see the factors affecting two humans in the TRUST building:

  • The first impression, which is generally the best impression.

  • The initial experiences - incidents and their outcomes.

  • Perceptions of near and dear

  • The circumstances

  • Personalities

  • Expectations as the relation build

  • Openness to confessing mistakes

  • The impact of your environment

A holistic picture of all the above factors is complicated. All these factors interlace and can make situations and relations go awry. Until everything is fine, all our deeds are encouraged, mistakes ignored and bad situations are backed up with motivation. In all these cases there is an onus of proving things for others to believe, which ultimately leads to improvement of any situation easily. But, for all these to happen, the human mind tends to take a lot of time to understand every situation, especially from the other person’s perspective, give the benefit of doubt to negative situations and take the relation positively. Depending on the personality, negative instances that are encountered take a toll, hamper the above factors and push the people apart. For example- If you observe, there are a lot of conceptions, and sometimes misconceptions, with our maids, drivers, and other helpers.

In India, many of these jobs are not streamlined and everything is based on observations. So, you trust a person even after they make a mistake based on your observations and vice versa. Even though there was no evidence, my friend frequently accused his driver of driving the car to earn some money in his absence. This led to confrontations as no one could prove these allegations to be right or wrong, thereby leading to frequent hiring of new drivers. Had there been a parking authority who issued a parking ticket, this would not have been complicated.

The human mind is very amusing. Once doubt is created in mind, we do not believe anything unless it is proven otherwise. In all these instances, ignorance and misinterpretations of your inner circle add fuel to the fire. Slowly, every factor of trust is aggressively tested for the authenticity of a person’s actions. Here on, you will not believe the other person, unless everything that is visible in front of your eyes is satisfying your thoughts.

But, in actuality, this is the costliest mistake we do in a relationship. We forget that every person is different in terms of their personality, response to stimuli, and their reply to these kinds of weird situations. Practically, in many of these cases, each party takes the other negatively, and stop the other person’s perspective and end up breaking the relations.

In addition to this, we stop conversing as negative thoughts creep in. We either let the negative thoughts pile up to be burst one day, or discuss with some other people. The first scenario leads to an emotional outburst that fades our logic in aggression and we focus more on winning the arguments. Whereas, in the case of discussions, which mostly become gossips dilute the actual problem and focus on what people are thinking. In either case, your problem is not solved but worsens. The latter case could make things even worse. Any discussion with other people, even though they are your thick friends, adds fuel to the fire. The second person takes it as a way to spread negativity against him/her.

A real example is of office colleagues John and Anita, who became very good friends in no time. They started sharing their thoughts and spent quality time with each other. After a few months, when they were jogging together in a park, John suddenly pushed Anita to make a prank. Unaware of it, she fell and John burst into laughter. Enjoying his prank, he started jogging again, but a few people standing there enquired about the behavior of John. Overall Anita had a bad experience. Instead of expressing her thoughts to him, she shared her thoughts with another girl in the office. Within no time, this incident spread like a wildfire in the office, wherein the gossip -

John misbehaved with Anita - evolved. When John came to know about the outcome, he was completely disheartened. Eventually, John and Anita broke emotionally because of this incident and stopped talking. Had anyone thought from the other person's perspective, the situation now would have been completely different.

To avoid all these, there is a simple mantra - Try to think from other’s perspectives and believe in the benefit of the doubt. This requires a very open mind along with patience and perseverance in order to preserve the relationship. You need to challenge every doubtful instance in order to judge the people in the best possible way. Even though proofs are required sometimes, remember that it is not possible to have proof all the time. Look for the right time, and discuss it with the concerned person constructively. More than that recollect the times where you were not wrong, but proofs were demanded to show that you were not guilty.

In spite of all the hardship, if you don’t find luck – don’t panic; Time heals everything!!

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