You’ve seen those motivational posters, purportedly enriching our lives. Here’s one popular quote – “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours. If they don’t they never were.” Whoever wrote this couldn’t be more wrong about everything. It’s not about controlling others. It’s about Trust.

Trust allows deep relationships to form. We learn to depend on others for different reasons – love, companionship, support, advice, help or what have you. It could be as complex as honoring our wedding vows, or as simple as picking someone up after practice. The principle is the same. When others trust us, they believe we’re competent to do what we promise, and that we’re committed to seeing it through. Trust underlies every bond we have with our children, spouses, family, friends, co-workers. All of society.

I hear all the time “Trust is earned”. No it’s not. It’s given. You have to make an emotional investment. You have to open up yourself to that person. You have to expose a part of you that you otherwise wouldn’t to a stranger. What you risk losing is your self-respect. And yet that’s what makes it so rewarding.

You can’t “make” someone trust you by “earning” it. That’s controlling behavior.