The Anatomy of Trust

Dr. Brene Brown has started an international conversation about shame, vulnerability, courage, and connection. If you haven’t heard of her work yet, indulge your curiosity with this link to her personal bio and website. She has semester courses online that are open to anyone interested in diving into the deep end of the pool of interpersonal development, relationship, and healing. This is one of the many things that I appreciate about her work: it is accessible to all.

One of the clear findings of her research is that shame is a common human experience. Another common denominator emerging from her research is trust. Everyone struggles with trust. This fundamental rebuilding block of relationship serves as an overlapping experience of each family that joins the Chrysalis community. Navigating into the sacred space of trust within the family system is a daring, courageous, and brave undertaking therapeutically.

Trust is a lynch pin for connection, courage, and compassion not only in relationship to others but in relationship to self. Trust a big word with so many variables and implications, which can make it very difficult to really understand what it means.

One of Brene’s stories that accompany the application of trust in a relationship is through the analogy of a marble jar. When her daughter was in elementary school, her teacher put marbles in a jar when the class was collectively doing as they should throughout the day. She withdrew marbles when they made poor choices and were not showing up as their best selves. Once the class accumulated a full jar, their collective efforts would be noted with a class party.

If you think about trust in terms of the marble jar, it is the accumulation of many small demonstrations of showing up in a relationship with self and others.  Over time, a relationship collects experiences that represent small yet meaningful tokens of trust. The small things preclude and allow for the bigger marble jar moments.

Dr. Brene Brown broke dAnatomy of Trust Quote | Chrysalis Therapeutic Boarding School for Girlsown trust and it’s various facets into the acronym BRAVING because when we trust we are braving connection with someone.

B = Boundaries (clear, consistent)
R = Reliability (over and over)
A = Accountability (owning mistakes and allowing for the mistakes of others)
V = Vault (confidentiality)
I = Integrity (choosing right over fun, fast, and easy)
N = Non-judgment  (compassion, common humanity)
G = Generosity (assuming the most generous thing about a person)

Here are some examples lifted out of the research:

  • “I trust my friend, she said hello to my parents.”
  • “I trust my boss, she asked me about my friend.”
  • “I trust him because he will ask for help when needed.”
  • “Attending funerals.” Again, it is the little yet meaningful ways that someone lets you know they are paying attention and are there when needed.

Since BRAVING relationships with other people is braving connection, then self-trust is crucial because it means being in connection with self. Trust implies braving self-love and self-respect. Brene calls this the “wildest adventure we will take for our whole lives.”

“If my own marble jar is not full, then I can not give out marbles. How do you treat yourself? We can not ask from people what we don’t believe we   are worthy of whatever it is we are asking for.”

In building trust and relationship within yourself and in your family, how can you begin to name the marbles that are beginning to matriculate in your relationships? Using this analogy will give you clarification, insight, and strategy and I encourage you to watch the story teller, Dr. Brene Brown first hand share her insights further on the Anatomy of Trust.

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