Tiny Wisdom: On the Power of Trusting

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don't trust enough.” -Frank Crane

I had one of the most disheartening experiences of my life when I was 24. Some people I trusted conned me out of a huge chunk of my savings and then dropped off the face of the earth.

Later, I  questioned if I was being naive whenever an incident looked slightly similar. I instinctively mistrusted a lot of people, projecting past hurts onto them before they even had a chance to show their good intentions.

It was like everyone was guilty until proven innocent. And worse, I was constantly defensive and bitter. I didn't want to be caught off guard when someone inevitably disappointed me again.

A couple years back, I found a blog post that offered an interesting perspective on trust. The author described how a cab driver tricked her to steal her backpack, including her wallet and $500 worth of possessions. Her friend concluded that they should trust people less.

But the author, she decided that losing faith is far worse than losing stuff.

She wrote, “Spending $500 every once-in-a-while is a small price to pay to be able to continue trusting people…I consider the loss to be part of the optimism tax.”

It just plain hurts to suspect everyone. It hurts to hold onto past disappointments, as if it's only a matter of time until other people let you down. That's not to say we shouldn't trust our instincts when we suspect we're in harm's way. But the world is a far more peaceful place when you believe in people.

Today if you mistrust someone, remember: You tend to find what you're looking for. Are you more invested in finding reasons to doubt or reasons to believe?

Photo by Alice Popkorn

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About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Anonymous

    I learned at a very early age not to trust too much.  It took me many years to learn the wisdom you write about here.  I have pretty good ‘gut feelings’ about people early on, but my objective now is always to trust and believe in good trumping evil.

    Excellent post! Thanks.

  • Meesh

    I have been working through very painful break up this past year. I wonder everyday why I was deceived and lied to, after giving my entire-self to this person. I have never received an answer, nor closure. I was ready to give myself and my life away to this person, and they up and walked out of my life with no explanation, no proper closure, nothing. Recently, I heard from others of his intentions to marry in the near future….and of course it is quite painful to hear, even after all the self-healing/help I have done. Sadly, I still find it so hard to trust other’s or to open myself up to be vulnerable and open to receiving someone/something new in my life. I guard my half-healed heart and avoid situations where it could be hurt again. Perhaps its true to be able to trust is more important than to assume the worst and protect yourself, but how long do I wait until this awful feeling leaves me, and I am open and ready to receive goodness ? I read your blogs everyday and I must say I find them all inspiring and all meaningful to me, but this one I find very hard to agree with at this moment in my life. Thank you for sharing.

  • Hi Meesh,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your break-up. I know how tough is to let go when you feel like you haven’t really gotten closure. I have been in that situation before, and I know it isn’t easy!

    For me, it took some time for me to fully let people in again. However, in retrospect I realized that I was waiting for the awful feeling to leave while secretly feeling unwilling to release it. It’s a natural survival instinct to protect ourselves–it’s just that we have a hard time recognizing when there isn’t any actual danger when we’re holding onto past hurts.

    My best suggestion would be to work on healing, instead of focusing on trusting new people. It will be really hard to form a fulfilling relationship when your head and your heart are still heavy from questions and pain from the past. It helped me to work on forgiving both myself and my ex. Neither of us were perfect in the relationship, and acknowledging that made it easier to release the feelings.

    Once the breakup stings less, it will be a lot easier to see people with fresh eyes, instead of projecting the past onto them. I realize this is not easy in practice, and it might take time. Healing takes time.

    I hope this helps a little!

  • You’re most welcome!

  • Fabulous post!   Thank you for sharing! 

  • Ella

    I completely agree! It’s too stressful to be cynical.

  • Anonymous

    Just wanted to say that this is one of my favorite blogs to read.  Always providing a gem or two.  As a matter of fact, I am motivated to get back into my writing.  Have to learn to trust myself a lot more.

  • Typo, it’s “You may _be_ deceived”.

  • You make a very important point with this really hitting home: “You tend to find what you’re looking for.” How true that we see the things that reinforce our beliefs and filter those that do not. Trust is an especially sticky issue — I have to keep working at it — and I’ve learned that it’s the core foundation of all my relationships and interactions. 
    I love that concept of a loss being accepted as an “Optimism Tax”… that’s brilliant!

    Thank you for all your wonderful posts. I’m so glad to see you back up and running :~)

  • Thank you for your comment. How wonderful to read! I’m glad that Tiny Buddha has motivated you to get back to writing–and also to trust yourself. I know that I am always happiest when I listen to and trust my instincts.

  • Thanks Sue! I’m glad to be up and running, too. A 24-hour down period seems like an awfully long time in the world of the web! The idea of the Optimism Tax has really helped me through the years. I still need to work at it sometimes, but I know I am so much happier when I let go and trust.

  • Thank you for letting me know!

  •  You’re most welcome! By the way, I love singing, too. =)