Tag Archives: Instant Apostle

12 Steps to becoming trustworthy

Trust one who has tried (Virgil)

To have good friends requires being a good friend.  Being a good friend is built on trust.  So what does being trustworthy mean?  Trust is an elusive component in life, but essential.  Building trust takes time, effort and commitment. 

  1. Be there. You have to spend time with a person to gain trust. Someone who hangs in with another however tough things get.   Ready with a word of kindness but also practical.  Our actions speak so much louder than our words.   We must allow our lives to get interrupted at the most inconvenient of times when the person on the phone, or at the door, needs our company.
  2. Learn to listen. When you are with someone do not allow electronic or any other interruption. At that moment they are the most important person in the world. 
  3. Be honest but with kindness – say what you think. It is amazing how difficult we find it to tell the truth in all circumstances.  We make a mistake and rather than owning up we lie.  Don’t deceive people or tell lies to make ourselves something we are not.  Most of us hate confrontation so rather than express what we are truly feeling, we say nothing.  It is so difficult to build a relationship with someone who will not say what they feel.  It makes both parties feel insecure. 
  4. Do what you say you will do. If you make a promise keep it or if it becomes impossible say so and apologise. Learn to be efficient – some are better at this than others, but we can all learn to do better at what we put our hands to. Be punctual. Meet deadlines. Be reliable.
  5. Be loyal. Be someone your friend knows will never betray them.   In any and all circumstances you have their back.
  6. Speak well at all times in all situations. Don’t jump in and say you can do something only to realise you cannot. If you are asked to help and you are unable to, say so. We are allowed to say no.
  7. No gossip. When people share themselves with us, they must know they will not be talked about when they leave the room. The confidences that have been aired will not be expressed to anyone else.
  8. Be empathetic. Learning to stand in another’s shoes and see what the world looks like from their viewpoint.  It means we can stand with our friend, utter words that will soothe and heal because we understand.
  9. Choose close friends carefully. Go for quality not quantity.  We can befriend many people, but not all people can or should be close friends. 
  10. Learn to say sorry. Take responsibility for all we do including the bad things, the wrong things, and the mistakes. Never blame others.
  11. Avoid denial. When things happen that disrupt a relationship don’t push it under the carpet. Face what has happened, talk openly and find a way through.  If we fail to confront difficulty eventually we will lose each other and the relationship.
  12. Stay consistent. Hold fast to the values of trustworthiness and don’t allow misunderstanding or unkindness to sway you. 

Learning to be trustworthy is a journey. I have made so many mistakes in my life. Every single point I have written about I have at some time done the opposite.  However, I have learnt.  I continue to learn.  I want to be a trustworthy person, an authentic faithful friend, and treat the relationships I have as the treasure I have discovered they are.

How to flourish

This is a holly tree. It is not remarkable.  When we brought the bonsai from our previous home, the plant looked as if it was dying.  The greenery had gone.  There remained a few scattered individual leaves.  It was a tree due for termination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My determined husband placed it in front of our new house, to give the shrub another season.  Imagine my surprise when over the next months this happened.  In its fresh position it flourished.

  1. Love–we all long to be loved and accepted as we are. Sometimes we feel this is our right.  True for a child.  However, as an adult we need to become lovers in order to give and to accept being loved.  Life is challenging, painful, distressing, and alienating.  Choosing to love and also to receive love releases the oil of gladness into our hearts and minds
  2. Community–we are social beings and isolation and aloneness cripple us. It is not only elderly people who suffer from loneliness.  In our busy, over-stretched lives, making time for genuine friendships is something we all need to do.  Failing to give time is detrimental to health and well-being.
  3. Encouragement–the challenge is to discipline what comes out of our mouths and our fingers. Our tongues can indulge in gossip and tear into people, our fingers can do the same through social media. This is destructive and upsetting.  I remember gossiping about someone and then they walked into the room.  Shamed I vowed I would try never to gossip again. 
  4. Work–whether paid or unpaid, we all need gainful employment. Earning money is vital.  We need money to live, but work is also about well-being. Volunteer to help somewhere if you cannot find work.  I have done some boring and excruciating paid jobs, but it was therapeutic to give my best.  The work I loved I did after hours crucial because that work filled me with well-being.

Are we flourishing?  Do we need to change our position?  Do we need to change our environment?  Can we assist others to flourish?

We all need back-up!

Remember “About a Boy”? I’m recalling the film of the book by Nick Hornby.  Marcus, a 12-year-old somewhat odd son of an unstable single mother recognises they need friends or ‘back up’ when things get tough.  They do as his mother is so unhappy she tries to die. However, a small unlikely community grows around them, including a confirmed bachelor Will, terrified of growing up. When the bad times happen friendship sees everyone through. 

Why is community important?                                           

1. We need each other:   nurturing human connection is essential for our well-being. We need to be touched, to be hugged a certain number of times daily. I’m not talking about sex, but about human beings appreciating and loving each other.

2. Be a friend: Let’s not wait for people to befriend us, why not foster friendship ourselves. We don’t have to do anything grand. One of my friends rarely had someone round for a meal because entertaining was so stressful for her.  She believed she must clean the house completely;  provide outstanding food; be the perfect host.  She had a difficult full-time job, so she was exhausted before she began.

3. Eat together:   we all need to eat, why not organise mealtimes to eat with others? We have had people living with us for years and we tried to eat together.  The quality of food depended on when I shopped but there was food of some description!  People didn’t care. They loved being invited.

4. Know your neighbours:   we need each other.  Do you have elderly neighbours? Can you check on them, perhaps pop in with a pack of biscuits to share a cup of tea?  Elderly people are among the loneliest in our society.  When I walk my streets I remember those who live around me. I feel I belong.  Are we too busy to stop and have a chat?   Send an invitation to neighbours for a Christmas drink it might surprise you who you meet. 

5. Volunteer:   doing something positive, serving your community is a great privilege. It brings a sense of belonging, of ownership and has certainly helped me to understand and care about the people I live amongst. On occasion we band together.   I lend my voice as we stand against what we view as destructive initiatives in our neighbourhood.

6. Life is more than me:   let’s allow ourselves to be part of something greater than ourselves. If my life was only about myself, it would be paltry indeed.

7. Living without fear:   being part of, and living within a community brings a sense of safety and security.  I know my streets, I love my streets, I love the people who live here and I pray for us regularly.