This I Believe

kris - Renton, Washington
Entered on January 17, 2008

I believe in trust. Trusting people is one of the most essential emotional and logical acts that are used every day. For me to be able to trust someone, they must exhibit personal integrity. One of the characteristics of trust is that it takes time, and when it is broken it is very difficult to get back.

There are some different levels of trust. The first level is when you trust someone because they have proven themselves trustworthy. This is the level that my family and friends are on. My brother will let me drive his car because I have proven to be a safe driver; my parents will let me stay out late because I have proven that I make good decisions… But I will not loan anything to one of my friends again, because he never returned an old snowboard I let him borrow.

The second level of trust is blind faith. My definition of blind faith is when you trust someone without proof that they are trustworthy. This is the most dangerous, yet most common type of trust. An example is while driving you must trust everyone else on the road. You trust that the person in front of you will check their blind spot before they decide to change lanes. You trust that the person driving in the opposite direction won’t fall asleep and swerve into you. And you trust that everyone will stop when the light turns red. When you take all these into consideration you trust thousands of people with your life every day, and you have not even met most of them.

The final level is general distrust, or paranoia. Paranoia is the belief that nobody is trustworthy without extreme evidence. Many countries and governments practice paranoia. A modern example of paranoia is the cold war, the USA was afraid of the USSR, and the USSR was afraid of the USA. This paranoia could have easily led to a nuclear war.

Trust is one of the most important, yet one of the most difficult emotional and logical acts. Every crime committed is a violation of someone’s confidence — an employee steals from an employer, a driver disobeys the state’s speed limit, or a student cheats on a test. Sometimes trust sounds illogical but if everyone was able to trust everyone else there would not be wars and fighting or stealing. For this reason I try to trust and be trustworthy.