Trustworthiness. Why is learning about this notion so important? Why do I work on this with ALL of my clients? Truth be told, this is often a very difficult thing to work on with my clients. Not because they aren’t willing to work on their own stuff and become trustworthy/”emotionally safe” people, but often because they start to realize the untrustworthiness of others in their lives. They may have to create boundaries in unhealthy relationships, or outgrow them altogether which would mean also dealing with grief, loss, and change. Not many people sign up for therapy knowing they may have to say goodbye to loved ones or set hard boundaries that often disrupt their natural flow. For others, they are grateful to finally put language to traits and feelings of unease they’ve had about certain family members or friendships, and it helps them to choose better relationships in the future. Most importantly, it often gives people language as to why they may not truly trust themselves or lack identity. It’s hard to know who we are when we don’t trust our own ability to make decisions, pick values, and do things in our best interest. 

For the next several weeks, I will be going into detail about the 7 traits of trust as first introduced to me by Brene Brown (who created the acronym below based on research done on making good, trustworthy, quality hires in the corporate world), with my own take as I’ve taught it, learned it, relearned it again, and seen it in the therapy room throughout the last 2-3 years. 

The traits are as follows (and reads like the acronym BRAVING, as Dr. Brown describes how it takes courage for us to trust and work on our own trustworthiness – I fully believe in that notion as well). 

1. Boundaries

2. Reliability

3. Accountability

4. Vault

5. Integrity

6. Non-judgment

7. Generosity

I’ll begin a deep dive into each of these traits beginning next week with “Boundaries”. Each section deserves it’s own time and space to not only learn about, but to let sink in — as well as examining how this shows up (or doesn’t) in the people around us and within ourselves.

Ideally, we apply these principles to ourselves first. But if you feel like you are around a lot of “toxicity” or “ick” you may necessarily apply this to how you navigate the relationships around you first. 

Learning about these concepts has changed how I live, how I love, how I work, and who I choose to be close to.

I hope learning about trustworthiness impacts your life as much as it has impacted mine and the lives of my clients. -Jenny Helms, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

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