February 22nd, 2007

“Trust that …”

I usually don’t buy “trust” as a need. One clue is that I usually hear “trust” followed by “that”, which certainly gets into strategy-land. For instance, “I want/need to trust that you’ll hear and value my needs.” Trust doesn’t fit for me for several reasons.

  • My trusting is entirely up to me.
  • “Trusting that” may be a poor choice, i.e., out of sync with reality.
  • I hear “trust that” as NVC-speak (not NVC-heart) for an attempt to get a static guarantee (nail down the future) and thus go against living, spontaneous Choice.
  • I suspect that every question of “trust-that” can be laid to rest with a single generic answer:

    You can trust that I will XYZ, exactly when doing so is the best way I see to get my needs met at the time.

  • A living alternative to “I want to trust-that you will XYZ” could be “I want to collaborate in exploring how you choosing to XYZ will meet your needs.”

Afterthought on February 26: I’m guessing that “I want to trust that you will XYZ” generally means “I want you to XYZ”, where XYZ is a “wish” rather than a request. See Promises, predictions, and wishes.


4 Responses to ““Trust that …””

  1. holly Says:

    Conal, I really enjoy how you inquire into yourself and into language, not settling for word usage that doesn’t make sense to you, in this case about needs. I appreciate the reminder to question and delve into what makes sense to me, as it leads to my growth and deeper understanding.

    My sense is that we have such a deep habit in our culture of relying on and trusting “authoritative” sources, that we go along with and even hang on to ideas that are not serving us. Especially when the authority is an entity like CNVC, which was set up to contribute and support something we all care so much about, we may fall into that old habit. We may not recognize when we are going along with authority or invoking authority rather than remaining centered in personal choice and integrity.

    The list of needs on the CNVC site includes such words as respect, consideration, and consistency. The majority of times that I hear people use these words as needs, I don’t connect with what’s alive in them. I think what’s happening is that I’m hearing an outward directed sense of these words, i.e., “I need respect” I hear as “I need you to respect me.” “I need consideration” I hear as “I need you to be more considerate.” Remembering that I feel suspicious when I hear these outwardly directed “needs,” I want to be very conscious in myself if I’m thinking I need respect. Is that truly the core, or am I just latching on to respect because it’s on the “approved” list of needs?

    I’m longing to contribute to a cultural shift toward personal choice, partnership, and power with, and I believe in the benefit of shining light into these unexpected or unquestioned places where obedience to authority hides. So, thank you, Conal, for shining the light into all the corners!

  2. Susan L Says:

    Conal, in my reality, trust-that is a feeling, a feeling of confidence about the way a situation will play out in which I perceive that my power or choice is limited. I guess that fits more with your prediction model. The need I can usually tie trust-that to is support or reassurance. I see trust as a need when it can be paraphrased as belief in the basic assumptions on which this whole model is based – that the universe is abundant and that people are compassionate. This is the trust, these are the beliefs that make us willing to be vulnerable, which is the second requirement for empathic connection right after presence. Peace and Love, Susan L

  3. conal Says:

    Hi Susan,

    Do you really mean trust-that as a feeling of confidence? How about instead, a thought that supports such a feeling? And maybe “calm” is closer to the feeling.

    I’ve often heard “reassurance” used as a need, but I don’t see it that way. What I really hear is “reassurance that …”. If someone wanted pure Reassurance (whatever that could mean), it could be about anything or about nothing, couldn’t it? As for support, sure I guess it could be. It could really be any need though. Maybe they want Inner Peace. In that case, reassurance is a pretty brittle, though popular, strategy.

  4. conal Says:

    On second thought, I don’t see “support” as a need, but as pointing to a strategy, which then points to a need. For instance, “I’d like some support with keeping the house clean”. Occasionally, support might point directly to a need: “I’d like some support with connecting to myself.”

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