“The only thing that will bring happiness is affection and warmheartedness. This really brings inner strength and self-confidence, reduces fear, develops trust, and trust brings friendship. We are social animals, and cooperation is necessary for our survival, but cooperation is entirely based on trust, people are brought together-whole nations are brought together.” –Dalai Lama
Trust is wonderful. It is the reason I can get in my car and drive to work on shared roadways. I navigate between other drivers, through rain or snow, in my approximately 2,000-pound vehicle which I forget to think of as a potential weapon. I know that if I break the rules, the car or body of another trusting driver may get damaged.
I get in my car, and I trust myself and others to get to the desired destination safely by following shared rules. Shared rules in a community make living together more civil. The regulations which community members uphold are supposed to make us better neighbors to each other.
Driving is a less personal experience because each individual rolling by me is enveloped within a metal barrier. The connection potential is blocked by a lack of contact. I can see when the rules are followed or not, but I can’t reward every good driver with my congratulations or gratitude.
When we are face to face, the rules are called etiquette. A lack of trust between strangers, who are facing each other, is more prevalent because there are different “rules” from family to family about politeness which we aren’t sure of.
The absence of trust can make face to face interactions feel cold. We can treat each other like automatons, thinking to ourselves- just do your job (but feeling that you don’t want to have more vulnerability than necessary with a stranger). There is a way to engender trust without being too trusting, too soon.
Warmheartedness is a step towards building trust with others. It is an invitation to be seen and experienced as a fellow human being – not a driver, worker, or stranger. When we move with warmth, it conveys acceptance which is humanizing. Being seen, heard, and experienced, in small positive ways, is a place for trust to begin.
Note: The Dalai Lama spelled warmheartedness as one word in his quote and I liked it so much I followed his lead.
One Thing to Do: Think of how differently you act when you feel warmth for someone. Use that memory, water it down if needed, and make your warmth more available to others on a daily basis.
Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.