A number of years ago my husband, dog Tyler and I brought someone new into our family. We adopted Stella. Stella was an older dog who had been through a lot, including the surrendering by her family. We were excited to have her there and welcome her in. Stella on the other hand wasn’t sure what to make of the situation. She had been through a lot and wasn’t ready to trust the situation or us.
Each day we worked to gain her trust. In the beginning she wouldn’t sit near us but preferred to keep her distance on the other side of the room. Day after day I worked to gain her confidence. It was not a quick process.
The first time she came to sit with us and sleep by the bed was huge progress! The work to establish trust kept going. I could hardly believe the progress Stella and I had when she came to cuddle with me, and rolled over to let me rub her belly, trusting enough to make herself vulnerable. From that day on I knew we had each other’s trust and I worked hard never to betray it.
In all areas of my life I look to establish trust with others. I find it, along with respect, to be important values. In some cases creating the relationship of trust can be easy, in others, much like with Stella it can take time.
I was part of a discussion earlier this week where someone was explaining to another person, my role in working with him. He then went on to explain why he felt we worked so well together. As I listened I heard examples of how he trusted me to partner with him, to help speak the truth when I thought things weren’t right, to represent our decisions and work whole heartedly versus speaking poorly about it or him behind his back. As he continued it made me feel good. I had earned his trust, and much like Stella it was not an overnight success, it was a journey.
Trust is not something to take for granted, nor can you expect it without being present with the other person or having demonstrated the reason for the gift of trust. Another important thing about trust is it can be lost very easily. So when you would like someone to trust you, demonstrate that you deserve it and that you will honor it. When you gain it, maintain it and don’t take it for granted. And if you end up losing it, work even harder to get it back for it is worth so much.
For those who don’t know the rest of Stella’s story, she a year later fell very ill. The trust we had gained was extremely important as we had to make frequent trips to the vet. She knew we were doing everything we could to make her comfortable. Our joy of having Stella in our lives continued another year, until she succumbed to her illness. It was a very significant loss that still tares at my heart.
The greatest gift Stella gave me was the understanding of what patience, compassion and being there can do to create a strong bond of trust between two beings. I hope that everyone has the opportunity to experience and appreciate that same trust with another being.
How do you establish trust with others? Share with me below.