That title was supposed to say “spilled milk,” but I’m much more partial to coffee than milk, so there you have it. Trust is an important commodity. It’s something you definitely need to have in others, both in your professional and your private life. Without it, you’d never be able to work side-by-side with anyone or let anyone into your life. Just think: when was the last time you met someone new and just immediately trusted them?
Some people can definitely engender a sense of trust in you the first time you meet them but for the most part, trust has to be earned over time and through the words and actions of the other person. It’s almost always a difficult process, especially when it involves trusting the other person to do something in your stead. A good example would be watching my five-year old pull a carton of chocolate milk out of the fridge.
Nathan rarely gets chocolate milk. Yeah, I know… I’m a cruel daddy. But we have chocolate syrup that I use for him on occasion so a carton of actual chocolate milk is a rare treat that he gets when he’s been behaving well (so he rarely gets any). Recently he got a small glass from a 500mL carton, which left the remainder in the fridge for later consumption. During the following morning’s breakfast, he asked if he could have some, to which I replied that he could.
Then my genius son, in all his glory, chose to pull the carton out of the fridge by gripping the very top lip of carton, using nothing but his index and thumb. I could see his tiny wrist trembling from the weight and the visible struggle on his face, and my every instinct was to grab the carton from him and bring it to the counter myself before it inevitably fell and splash all over the kitchen floor. I was surprised when I took a breath (and held it) and allowed him to complete the task, thereby preserving his dignity and allowing me to trust him.
But it was forced and difficult, and I usually find that this is a difficult thing regardless of who or what I’m dealing with. For a lot of people, myself included, it’s a control thing. Most people dislike and/or are uncomfortable with the prospect of letting someone else do a particular thing when they know they can do it faster/better/more efficiently… For others, they’ve simply been doing things themselves for so long that it feels distinctly odd to have someone else do it for them.
Allowing yourself to trust can relieve a great deal of pressure in your own life. Nobody should be expected to carry the burden of life on their own, and we can all agree that any load is much easier to bear when it’s weight is shared. This is something that I feel I need to work on, for my own self-development. Had Nathan dropped that chocolate milk, sure it would have made a mess but it would have been a teachable moment (especially since I’d have made the booger clean it up himself). But it allowed me to let go a bit and trust that he could do it. And he did. What would happen if he’d ever spill my coffee is a conversation for another day… ☯