“I cannot trust anyone!” Some of you toy with the statement, and yet you’re killing yourselves, slowly. Mutual trust, where you trust someone and that person trusts you too, is the cornerstone of a happy and healthy life.
When you sit with someone you trust and spend hours chatting and laughing and catching up on the happenings of your life, oxytocin is produced.
Oxytocin is a great hormone to have in large quantities in your body. It’s the hormone that relaxes you after you’ve spoken with someone you trust about a stressful encounter you had.
Social bonds and connections buffer us from the daily stresses of life. We all need someone we can talk to, honestly, about what’s happening, and why it’s making us feel as good or bad as we do. This is what makes people thrive.
You’ve probably seen someone who’s constantly upbeat and happy, and yet it seems like everything in their life is in a mess and undesirable. But they’re happy, and not half as depressed as you may feel. That person survives on oxytocin.
This is one hormone that your body and brain can never have enough of. It’s not like dopamine and serotonin, that come in small doses of happiness and disappear.
Oxytocin and the role of human trust
People with trust based relationships lead happy and healthy lives.
This is why it’s not very advisable to live alone. When you have a housemate you care about or even live with your family, you grow to trust them. You share moments of happiness, sorrow, love and joy. They get to understand what uplifts you, and what doesn’t.
Trust is not based on the assurances you get with the likes and comments on social media. It’s an investment you put (knowingly or not) through giving someone deliberate attention, and engaging with this person in a way in that you can be true to him/her and to yourself.
So why is it so hard for us to develop trust-worthy relationships? Some of us are lucky to have big families, that are intimate enough to act as a social buffer to our limitations of making true friends outside family.
If you have a family or friends that you trust, you must also invest the time needed to be with them in truth. Don’t treat your family like you do your followers. The only way to get high on Oxytocin is by spending time with these people you trust and care about.
Lack of trust is to blame, Raise your oxytocin levels
Our aim is to beat loneliness, not being alone but loneliness. There’s a high correlation between the feeling of trusting someone and having high levels of oxytocin hormones in your brain. This feeling of trust is what beats loneliness.
When we talk of trust, we are referring to you having confidence in the belief that this person cares about you and is motivated to act in your interest.
When a child gets hurt, or suffers shock from falling down, she will wail as she rushes straight to her mother or father. In the absence of these two, there’s a third point of reference. We are wired to look for, and depend on, people whom we believe have our best interest.
A huge number of us are lonely and miserable. To compensate for lack of oxytocin release, we engage in destructive hobbies like alcoholism, gambling and other addiction.
Trust works within the context of uncertainty, risk and interdependence. Life uncertainties will serve us stress and disappointment from work, school or elsewhere. We are faced with risks every day, in most decisions that we make, and we need to be able to depend on each other (interdependence) to make things happen.
In essence, life requires you to be able to depend on someone else. The only way you can depend on someone is by being vulnerable. You have to put your physical and emotional being at risk, in order to get the help you require.
When someone is completely stuck and needs KSh.500 for a mataturide to a job interview. The person gets to a point where he feels like he can’t bring himself to ask for another KSh.500 with no assurance of a job to pay for it.
Vulnerability calls for this person to bare the feeling of the increased heartbeat, clenched stomach, and dry throat when they make that phone call and say, “Haki nimesota, just bail me out with 5 Sok, I have an interview for tomorrow.”
This willingness to be vulnerable and depend on someone when you’re most in need is what brings trust. And it brings trust in every situation.
After receiving the KSh.500, the young man will know that he can depend on this person to make things happen for him. This reassurance builds up his oxytocin levels, which in turn give him a happier, healthier and longer life.
That is how personal and business relationships grow, because we are willing to be vulnerable and to depend on others. In turn they feel like they can depend on us. Being vulnerable to someone makes them vulnerable as well, and this interdependence anchors trust.
Lack of Trust
Most of us are not willing to be vulnerable. So many friendships and marriages are over, and families have parted ways because no now is willing to be vulnerable.
It starts with being vulnerable in small things. When you have a disagreement with someone you care about, you must be willing to be vulnerable in discussing the truth.
Sometimes feelings of jealousy in marriage and relationships overwhelm us. Although spouses may suspect it, they walk around with that tight feeling in the stomach. They will smile at each other like nothing’s wrong, and yet in their minds, they’re killing them with words and imaginations of what they will do or say to them after they confirm the cheating.
There are people living in homes that are extremely toxic. Their physical environment is sparkling, but the distrust and contempt in the house is enough to lead to stress or depression, which increases risks of diseases like Type II diabetes.
Most people who are living in stressful environments try and find ways to feel happy. They will eat junk food (to increase dopamine levels), spend their time online sharing things that will give them positive attention (increase serotonin levels), or get out of the house and spend their time with people who give them the comfort they seek (alternative sources of oxytocin).
There are men and women who are stuck in deadly conflict. After several months of fighting in the same house, they can no longer talk to each other, and they cross each other on the corridor as though they’re strangers.
You will be shocked how people have mended broken relationships by their willingness to be vulnerable. You have to chose to speak about it, even though it feels uncomfortable.
Our advice to those who have trouble trusting and being vulnerable is to see a good psychiatrist. Contact us if you need help.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable will open you up to a beautiful, happy and healthy life, where you can be honest and trust others with your truth. In return, they will trust you with their truth. We toast to Oxytocins!