Welcome to Format Free Fridays at, the one day a week when I break the format of answering your questions and I dispense that which we rarely welcome in life: Unsolicited advice.

This week I want to discuss the concept of trust – a topic that, not surprisingly, comes up quite often in my office.  When clients bring up the concept of trust, the focus is almost always on whether or not they can trust someone.  Today I’m going to give you a new spin on trust and I’m going to explain to you why, in my opinion, trust has nothing to do with another person and everything to do with you.

Trust is about trusting yourself.  Trust does not come from being able to predict what our loved one will do.  It comes from knowing that we can handle whatever our loved one does.  Re-read the last sentence and breathe a few times before reading on.  Essentially, trust is about trusting yourself – not another person.

When you trust yourself, you trust your capacity to rebound from whatever life has thrown you.  One of the benefits of having had significant pain and loss in life is the knowledge that you’ve lived through it.  And when you’ve lived through it once, you know you can live through it again.  Ultimately, you cannot control another person.  You cannot predict with any percentage of certainty what they will do in the future.  But you can control yourself.  And because you can control yourself, you can absolutely predict what your future behavior will be.

It is your future reaction to pain that will determine how resilient you are.  Will pain or betrayal serve to reinforce a negative belief you have about the world?  People aren’t trustworthy.  They always disappoint. Or will you choose a belief that will serve you?  Well, clearly she was a scumbag.  Next time, I’ll choose better.

Take a minute to think back to the last time you were betrayed.  What story have you written about it?  How do you explain it?  Do you attribute the betrayal to some universal flaw in humanity?  Or do you attribute the betrayal to the individual who committed it?  If you blame it on the individual, you are someone who trusts.  If you blame it on humanity at large, you are someone who does not trust.  It is to you that I’m writing this.  I challenge you to think differently.  Stop trying to trust others and instead trust that you can handle whatever life throws your way.