Confidence in the strength, ability, integrity of another person or relationship.
The practice of trust is about attunement. It’s about momentarily setting your needs aside to feel into the needs of another. It’s about taking action toward connection and stepping into greater harmony. It’s about listening and creating space for another person to be received. It’s about recognizing our oneness.
Trust is the first step to love. ~ Munshi Premchand
John Gottman, a top expert on marriage, is also one of the leading experts on trust in relationships. Through his research along with his graduate student, Dan Yoshimoto, they discovered that the basis for building trust lies in the idea of attunement. With attunement we feel harmonized with another.
In their model we ATTUNE by practicing skills that lead to the following.
- Awareness of your partner’s emotion;
- Turning toward the emotion;
- Tolerance of two different viewpoints;
- trying to Understand your partner;
- Non-defensive responses to your partner;
- and responding with Empathy.
How To Start Practicing
Practice Mindfulness – Mindfulness assists us in creating greater emotional intelligence. With more emotional intelligence we are better able to understand our own emotions and interpret emotions in others. This ability helps us to be more skillful in our relationships and paves the way for a greater amount of trust between people.
Practice Emotional Bidding – Practice expressing intimate emotions, or as John Gottman calls it, emotional bidding. Bidding can be a powerful tool between two people who want to make a connection and build more trust. This isn’t just limited to our romantic relationships. Bidding can be done in a variety of ways: 1) verbally (connecting through curiosity, listening, asking questions, checking-in, words of affirmation), 2) physically (a hug, making eye contact, shoulder rub or a pat on the back, touch, quality time), 3) behaviorally (gifts, preparing food, a card, kind gesture, acts of service)
Know Your Love Language – Emotional bidding closely connects with the idea of Love Languages created by Gary Chapman and outlined in his book The 5 Love Languages. These love languages include 1) Words of Affirmation, 2) Acts of Service, 3) Receiving Gifts, 4) Quality Time, 5) Physical Touch. Each one of these represents an emotional communication preference. We each have a primary love language we prefer to use when communicating our emotions. When we understand our partners style we can more easily begin the emotional bidding process through small acts that build and nurture trust.
Practice Tolerance – Tolerance is about our willingness to practice acceptance of someone else’s habits, beliefs, feelings or behaviors even when they are different from our own. Empathic tolerance helps us to take another’s perspective and release our judgments creating the possibility for more trust.
Practice Empathy – Empathy requires us to be mindful, curious and practice deep listening. When we are empathic we create more spaciousness in our relationships and people feel more seen and heard. It is from this place where a foundation of trust can begin to grow.