In my previous article, we deepened our comprehensive understanding of self-trust by talking about what it is NOT.
In this article, I would like to talk about one important aspect of self-trust: trust in others. Trust in others is the unconditional belief in others, which is seemingly different from self-trust, but in fact, trust in others and self-trust are closely connected.
Self-trust will change the way one looks at others
There is one important aspect of self-trust. When we can trust ourselves unconditionally, we can also trust others unconditionally. Conversely, if we can only trust ourselves conditionally, we can only trust others conditionally.
For example, in a parent-child relationship, communication such as “she’s a good girl because she got good grades” or “ he’ s a good boy because he’s never been selfish” is conditional credit. A parent who only communicates in this way may have only conditional credit for his or her child, and may also have only conditional credit for themselves.
The same can be said for the relationship between superiors and subordinates. The idea that a subordinate is good because he/she performs well or because he/she listens to what the boss says is a kind of conditional credit. Supervisors who view their subordinates in this way may have only conditional reliance on their subordinates, and may also have only conditional reliance on themselves.
This is not to say that such conditional credit is absolutely wrong. I’m just saying that if we view things only in terms of conditional credit, various distortions are likely to occur. To put it another way, I think we all have situations where we perceive things in this conditional way. I think it is important to ask ourselves if we can be aware of our conditional view and if we are able to believe unconditionally.
The starting point for changing the conditioned view of things is self-trust. If we can gain a sense of unconditional trust in ourselves as we are, then we will have a sense of unconditional trust in others as they are.
I’ll use the keyword “trust in others” to refer to this. Whether or not we have trust in others makes a big difference in our relationships with each other.
Definition of trust in others (Ochiai’s idea):
Unconditional recognition and respect for the existence, personality, and subjective truth of others.
I define trust in others as “unconditional recognition and respect for the existence, personality, and subjective truth of others.” It is the same meaning as the definition of self-trust, “to put unconditional reliance on oneself.” As for trust in others, I use a more specific expression because “unconditional trust in others” may cause misunderstanding.
Let’s deepen our understanding of trust in others by considering what kinds of misunderstandings can occur.
Trust in others is different from dependence on others
Earlier, I mentioned that when we have self-trust, we can also trust in others. Some people may say that even if we don’t have self-trust, we can still have trust in others. For example, even if we don’t have self-trust, we can still have unconditional trust in our parents, teachers, or people we respect.
However, I believe that there is no trust in others without self-trust. There may be a phenomenon of unconditional dependence on others in the absence of self-trust, but I believe that this is not trust in others, but dependence on others. Dependence on others refers to the state of not having an independent self.
We can say that trust in others is the unconditional reliance of the independent self on others, whereas dependence on others is the unconditional reliance of the less independent self on others.
However, it is important to note that we are not talking about the state of dependence being bad. Young children are dependent on their parents. Therefore, we are not talking about dependence being a bad thing.
Just as children start out dependent on their parents and become independent, it is important to make sure that we are in the process of becoming independent, even if we are dependent at some point. In order to do this, it is important to develop self-trust, and along with self-trust comes a sense of trust in others (not dependence on others).
Trust in others (Ochiai’s idea):
Unconditional recognition and respect for the existence, individuality, and independent truth of others (by the independent self).
Credit in others (Ochiai’s idea):
Conditional reliance on others (by the independent self or the less independent self)
Dependence on others (Ochiai’s idea):
Unconditional reliance on others (by the less-independent self).
Trust in others is not the same as affirming all the behavior of others
Also, there is a difference between trust in others and affirming all of their behavior. Trust in others means respecting and acknowledging their existence, personality, and subjective truth, and it does not mean approving everything they say and do. There may be times when we dare to say “No” to someone’s words or actions in order for that person to connect to their own subjective truth.
This can be easily understood by taking the example of the parent-child relationship. A self-trusting parent can unconditionally respect and acknowledge the existence, personality, and subjective truth of the child. However, this is not the same as saying “yes” to everything the child says and does.
There will be times when parents will dare to say “no” to their children in order for them to live in subjective truth. At that time, parents should always ask themselves whether it is really for the good of the child or for their own ego, but as parents who trust their children, there will be times when they will say “No”.
This also applies to the relationship between superiors and subordinates. There are times when a boss who can unconditionally respect and acknowledge the existence, personality, and subjective truth of his subordinate says “No” to his subordinate for the subordinate’s sake. A “No” from a boss who has self-trust and trust in his or her subordinate will give the subordinate the feeling of being supported and trusted, even though he or she is being told “No.”
There are probably superiors and team leaders around you who are trusted and loved by their subordinates, even though they may be strict in their communication. Such people may have trust in their subordinates and also have trust in themselves.
So far, I have talked about how self-trust creates trust in others. From now on, I will talk about what good things can happen when we have this kind of trust (self-trust and trust in others).
Trust allows us to face up to our challenges
The biggest problem with not being able to “trust” yourself or others, or in other words, only being able to have conditional beliefs, is that it leads to overprotection (i.e., excessive defensive reactions).
If we don’t have self-trust, we tend to run away from our challenges. If we don’t have a base mindset that says, “I’m okay with who I am,” we will deny our own existence if we admit that we are not good enough with our problems.
For example, let’s say there is a person who is having trouble communicating with customers and is struggling to improve. If this person doesn’t have “self-trust,” when people point out the problem in his/her communication skills, he/she will feel that he/she is being denied.
There is no relationship between communication skills on the job and the value of one’s existence as a human being. If there is a challenge, we can just work on solving it plainly.
However, if we don’t have self-trust, we stop trying because we start thinking, “What a bad person I am,” or “I’m not good enough, so I’ll give up. We turn away from our challenges and lose the opportunity to grow.
The basic concept regarding “trust in others” is the same. If we don’t trust our subordinates as a person, we may intervene too much and deprive them of the opportunity to grow spontaneously. Also, when pointing out a challenge to a subordinate, it may be in a way that denies his or her personality or existence rather than addressing the challenge.
Alternatively, the fear of hurting the subordinate may prevent us from giving the necessary feedback, and the subordinate may miss the opportunity to grow by realizing his or her own challenges and making improvements.
When we have self-trust and trust in others, we can separate the challenges from the personality. The fact that a person has a challenge is completely unrelated to the fact that he or she is a valuable human being. With this awareness, we can face our challenges and work plainly to overcome them.
We can separate our own challenges from our own personalities and feel that we can overcome them plainly. We can also separate our subordinates’ challenges from their personalities and give them appropriate feedback on their challenges while respecting their personalities at the same time.
There is a saying by Confucius, “Hate the sin, not the person,” or in workplaces where improvement activities are carried out, “Hate the system, not the person.” These can be considered to be based on self-trust and trust in others.
Trust allows us to positively challenge each other with subjective truths
As mentioned earlier, overprotection arises when we can only believe in ourselves and others on a “conditional” basis.
“What if I say the wrong thing and people think I’m useless?
“I don’t want to say anything unnecessary because I don’t want my reputation to suffer.”
This kind of risk-averse attitude will make it difficult to have an intensive discussion where we can go toe-to-toe with each other’s hearts and minds.
Conversely, if we trust each other, we can discuss things honestly and truthfully. This will lead to a creative discussion, where both sides will challenge each other with their own subjective truths. Such discussions are very exciting and fun, and as a result, creative things are more likely to be born.
The overall theme of my articles, “ISHIKI(Consciousness) Management,” has been explored twice a week for three hours each time for a year by Shunsuke Nakamura of Alue and Takahiro Hirano, a management consultant. The time spent by the three of us in dialogue and discussion alone is 900 hours, and more than 1,000 hours if I include the time for each of us to explore individually.
Both Mr. Shunsuke Nakamura and Mr. Takahiro Hirano were originally my tennis club mates in university, and even after graduation, we have a relationship where we talk about various things in both business and private life. “Mutual trust” has been fostered between the three of us, and thanks to this, we have been able to enjoy exploring together for over 1000 hours.
Of course, in some aspects of social life, it is important to properly fulfill the expected role in a conditional relationship.
However, if we stay only in that relationship, it becomes difficult to create new things from the inner energy of what we have conceived by connecting to the subjective truth. In social relationships, if there is “unconditional” trust, it is easier to create new products and services beyond the conditional relationships that are already defined.
It is important to reflect on whether or not you are “ putting your confidence” in your boss, colleagues, subordinates, business partners, etc., based only on external factors such as education, position, and achievements.
Of course, such “ credit” is necessary, but if a certain amount of “credit” is secured, why not weave in the idea of “trust” as a person? You may be able to have a relationship with a different quality than before.
In this article, we talked about how self-trust brings about trust in others. This has a positive impact on value creation as well, as it allows us to face challenges and to engage in creative activities through the interplay of subjective truths.
A simple summary, including the concept of self-congruence that I have discussed in previous articles, is as follows. (If you want to know more about self-congruence, click here)
Trust in others
Developing a sense of self-congruence leads to self-trust, which in turn leads to trust in others. Again, self-congruence can be realized anytime, anywhere, if we want it to be. Therefore, I consider the most important point to be that self-trust and trust in others can be achieved depending on how we are conscious of ourselves.
Here are the quests of the day. (If you’d like, please share your thoughts in the comments.)
・What is the difference in feeling between trusting others and depending on others for you?
・What would be good for you if you were to further realize within yourself that self-trust creates trust in others?