Trust Is a Shared Responsibility in Relationships

I needed a favor. I talked about it to close friends I like to call “soul” mates who are fully aware of my circumstances and the chaos I have been going through starting in the middle of 2020.

One of them didn’t think twice and proceeded with executing my request the second I asked for it. This is called trust. She knows deep inside that if I had even 1% of doubt that it could impact her negatively, I would have never asked in the first place.

She has been listening carefully. She has been paying attention to my consistency. She has been seeing my deposits for what they truly are and honoring them. And I have been doing the same. Reciprocity is key. Unfortunately, she found a constraint that blocked the process and felt sad because she couldn’t help. Up to this point, I was given the message I was cared for, that my wellbeing was a high priority. I felt grateful!

Interestingly, the best part was yet to come. My exquisite friend’s husband was away from home for about a month and a half. He came back last weekend when I happened to tell her about my need. I knew about it when she came back to check whether a solution they discussed could be an option. I was out of words. The attention of taking the time to brainstorm it with her husband whom she didn’t see for that long had an indescribable effect on my heart…I met a treasured friend in the middle of the week and collapsed in tears in a public space while telling him the story.

That’s part of what I find incredible about psychology: the narratives and meaning we allocate to some events create feelings that will always resurface whenever we recall the event. This brings us to a vital detail: we need to be very mindful of the quality of our narratives and interpretations. Because, when we don’t and that disappointment knocks on the door, we may fail ourselves and “react”.

Here is an extract from this piece that was published some time ago:

Appealingly, even some of the most awakened spirits may fall short and be out of their integrity at some point. Bear in mind that we all make mistakes. Shortcomings are human, particularly if we have too much on our plate. In such circumstances, the most important detail is to admit it and apologize sincerely. If the relationship is healthy enough, the incident will naturally become part of the past.

It happened to me during this week with one of my friends I adore the most. She rejected my request. It wouldn’t have been a problem at all if I felt some compassion. All that I felt was a coldness that triggered sorrow and frustration. Instead of confronting her with my feelings, I talked about the episode to other friends. I was out of my integrity. It didn’t feel right. I sent her an email to admit my wrong and sincerely apologize. She kindly accepted my apologies. Nonetheless, she said she was feeling we were out of synch for a while and that she was expecting I would talk about her to others. She explained that I previously shared with her a problem with a friend who happened to block me from all communication media the first time that I dared open up about my hurt feelings.

Am I the only one to believe that one of the basics of healthy relationships is the possibility to go through uncomfortable discussions, bear with the possibly triggered shame or guilt — depending on the quality of our program — and handle it in an emotionally mature way anyway? I didn’t feel the need to argue or prove anything to my friend who based her judgment of my “gossiping” tendency on my need to be seen and validated for being treated so poorly — even if we assume that I made a mistake. I am a believer that every individual had the right to decency and to leave the table with all their dignity in the middle of conflicts, including the most horrible abusers.

Standing up for ourselves is not equivalent to disrespect and emotional immaturity. My friend also reported that what I perceived as being cold was her way to set “boundaries”. Those with whom I had the privilege to discuss the topic of healthy boundaries can confirm how much I encourage them and repeat myself about their critical attribute. Nonetheless, the question is, “if boundaries make people feel not cared for and hurt, are they healthy?” It seems to me that the feeling speaks for itself. Another friend declined my request but the manner was so gentle and loving that the only thing I wanted to do at the moment was to give her a warm bear hug!

To come back to the story, after accepting my apologies and making a point, my friend ended up notifying me that she was cutting the ties so that I wouldn’t have to speak about her anymore… At the same time, she said that she loved my soul. I felt devastated, thanked her for accepting my apologies as well as for all the magical moments we’d shared. I also confirmed that the affection was reciprocated, that I’d always deeply cared about her, and that it would continue to be a reality for the rest of my existence on our beautiful blue planet we call earth. But here is the point: I made a mistake. She had no way to know about it. I took ownership and was accountable. I apologized sincerely risking being rejected — which turned to be the result. It was the highest level of vulnerability. It was a brave act of faith. It was integrity in practice! Why was I devastated? Was the unhealthy residual part of my ego hurt? Not this time. She pleaded innocent and convinced me, to be frank.

She seemed pissed off while admitting how unfair it was to progressively lose her power over my behavior, during the last two years, in the favor of my healthy newborn ego who takes the lead in no time whenever she tries any action and all the credit with it! Her rationalization made perfect sense: if she was involved at all, I wouldn’t have been capable of exposing myself emotionally and apologizing in the first place. It was on my healthy ego. Guilty as charged!

More to the point, my inner child was bleeding. She couldn’t understand how her friend couldn’t regard with high respect her sincere apologies. She couldn’t accept the reality of how fragile the relationship was. She couldn’t


Myriam Ben Salem
Myriam Ben Salem
I am deeply passionate about everything life has to offer. Writing has been my very favorite means to educate my audience, captivate their attention, talk to their emotions, and make them relate and take action. I have been honored by working as a columnist for BIZCATALYST 360°, an Award-Winning life, culture, and biz new media digest, serving as the global hub for enhanced performance and well-being, during 2020. Also, I am a contributing author in Mayhem to Miracles: True Stories of Courage, Triumph, and Peace. I am so in love with writing that I have a peaceful smile drawn on my face whenever I start visualizing the books I will be writing for whoever will be tempted to discover an inclusive philosophy breaking with all the stigmas! I was born in Tunisia, a small country in North Africa. I did pretty much everything earlier than the average: walking, talking, singing, dancing. Promoted throughout my entire education, I was also the leader of every end-of-year party. At some point, after working several years for multinational companies as an engineer, team leader, project coordinator, and product owner while always being a top performer, I figured out I was feeling miserable despite the 'perfect external image'. That marked the starting point of an existential crisis followed by an episode that triggered my re-birth and the beginning of the most rewarding adventure of my whole existence: re-writing my subconscious program and reconnecting with my true self. I was saved at the last moment through an out-of-body experience making me see all the lies, realize this gigantic Universe was not revolving around me. Most importantly, I was able to visualize I was here to leave a legacy like all of you, no matter how big or small! The butterfly took time to emerge though. Today, I identify myself as a Universal Citizen. Like-minded and light-hearted people are what I call home. I am deeply passionate about everything life has to offer, and was granted the edutainer qualifier: a combination between education and entertainment! I educate on the importance of healing unsuspected traumas, seeing our limiting beliefs and biases with honest lenses, finding one's purpose and a principled mission that goes beyond the self, and unleashing the hidden potential so that to leave our legacy for the generations unborn. I have been using a panoply of means that could vary from explicit ones such as mentorship, speaking, and writing, a skill that emerged naturally during my self-actualization process to implicit mediums like storytelling, how I daily show up in the world and model servant leadership! Writing is my very favorite and most preferred tool deployed for my mission. The topics I explore are in the nexus of stoic philosophy, psychology, neuroplasticity, epigenetics, and pretty much any topic involving human behavior. Common denominator? The quality of the subconscious program. You may have a look at some of my works published on my website; Set Yourself Free.

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  1. I am so honored by your feedback, my dear friend Aaron! You will never piss me off, given that I know your heart! I’m grateful for your beautiful empathy! I understand your point and find it legitimate!

    “Trust simply can’t be handed out like candy, and what we share with strangers truly jeopardizes our perceived reputations.”

    Let me tell you that I wasn’t realizing that I almost gifted my trust to some folks while taking the huge potential I was seeing in them for the truth, indeed! There were, undoubtedly, some efforts in building trust from their side, but anything but consistent, for sure. The root cause of my blindness was my residual ‘savior’ pattern which the Universe made me destroy (its 3 levels) starting from July 2020 to February 2021 after discovering its existence following my mother’s ugly truth (NPD). The ‘radical acceptance’ grief was beyond liberating, and that’s why I’m thankful to the Universe for its generous plan: throwing in my direction the hardship that I need at the exact right moment; when I’m ready to handle it! Another element that contributed to the disappointing experience is that my friend wasn’t paying attention to my consistent investment! I may do everything required to truly build trust, but that wouldn’t matter, should the other party not even notice it! Killing the ‘Rescuer’ is a radical solution to give a chance only to the self-aware, secure, and emotionally healthy enough individuals (who know how sacred building trust and healthy relationships is).

    “It’s really impossible to count on anyone unless you have a proven track record of honesty.”

    How accurate, indeed, and I am fortunate enough to know a few of them even without having met in person! I like to call them soul friends whom I constantly celebrate for how special they are! Should it be worthwhile, I talked about them and explored trust again in the following pieces:

    Thanks again for stopping by, my friend!

  2. Sorry to hear your friendship fizzled Myriam. It is so challenging to invest in online friendships. Trust simply can’t be handed out like candy, and what we share with strangers truly jeopardizes our perceived reputations. We simply don’t have the history with these little circles and squares staring back at us. Behind those trusting smiles are things we will truly never know… their values or morals, their agenda, their patterns of behavior. It’s really impossible to count on anyone unless you have a proven track record of honesty. For many, only our parents will ever truly measure up to those unconditional standards… and that comes without gossip. I would never impose my advice on anyone – it’s not my place – but I will say one thing… the only person who will ever listen with genuine authority is your own reflection. What others think or feel is irrelevant. Only you can work through the pressure, the anxiety, or the truth of a horrible situation. People may hold your hand, but ultimately it’s up to you to find the strength to pull through. It’s up to you to weather that storm without relying on false platitudes, sympathy, or cardboard pity from online friendships. Just how I see it my friend, not trying to piss you off… 🙏