One day, a friend on Twitter tweeted a question that triggered a conversation between us. Let me paraphrase that conversation:
Friend: “Who is the man a girl should love most?”
I: “The one who is dependable and whom she trusts most”
Friend: “I think a girl must love her father most”
I: “You mean, including that father from Kerala who raped his own minor daughter and then presented her to others for money?!”
Friend: “I knew you will bring that worm as an example. Those are exceptions. But a girl should love her father most”
Conversation ended there. But the subject refused to leave me, forcing me time and again to consider the inter se equation and relative primacy of love and trust.
What is more important in human relationships? It is Love or is it Trust? Is there a relationship, or should there be a relationship, between Love and Trust? Can we love someone without trust? Or can we still love someone when we know our trust has been violated?
I don’t have any definite answers to these questions. But let me share my thoughts on these questions so that, hopefully, we will be able to arrive at better answers (for I am sure there are no perfect answers to these questions).
When I asked myself the question what is more important to me, Love or Trust, the answer came immediately. For me the Trust is much more important than Love. If someone loves me, it is more of that person’s business than mine. But if the same person trusts me, it places an onus on me to live up to that trust. In other words, Trust places a duty on me to reciprocate; Love doesn’t.
Same applies to the opposite too. If I love a person it is a feeling which is internal to me. I would love that person irrespective of what that person’s action/reaction is. Love is a one way feeling. If someone says Love has to be both ways, I will have to disagree with that. If Love happens to be flowing both ways, well that is a lucky bonus for me. We love many things without expecting those things to love us back. Then, why do we expect reciprocity in human relationships?
But Trust is definitely different. The very concept of Trust involves a two way relationship. Can we go one trusting a person if that person is not ready to live up to our trust? Wouldn’t that be foolish if we go on trusting someone who has not lived up to our expectations?
It is also important in our life to understand and differentiate Love and Trust. When we mix these two feelings, we might end up losing both. In our conversation, I did indeed mix Love and Trust. I suggested that a girl love the person whom she can place her trust. But having thought through it more, I now believe my answer was wrong. A girl (or a boy) will love a person towards whom s/he feels love, irrespective of that person’s reaction. That has nothing to do with Trust.
For obvious reasons, the answer suggested by my Friend was also wrong. To say that girl must love her father most is to try achieving Love through prescription. Being a father or mother or spouse or child does not automatically make one object of love. That feeling must rise in the heart/mind of the lover.
Loving someone whom we trust may still be advisable to trusting someone whom we love. The latter could be a disaster in the making. Living up to another’s trust has nothing to do with love. It is a matter of honour and duty than of Love. A person who is perfectly in love may still cheat if he is not a person who is bound by honour and duty. That does not make the person’s Love any less intense. It only shows one cannot trust that person, though he may still be loved.
In my opinion, Love is an irrational feeling; it requires no reason. But same is not true for Trust. Trust must be based on solid reasons.
We must have reasons (at least a judgement) for us to trust or distrust another person. It may be based on our past experiences; feedback that we receive from others or even mere gut feeling. We got to be conscious that while trusting someone we must make a critical choice unlike while loving someone we may just listen to what our heart dictates. I do not agree with Ernest Hemingway when he says “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them”. That way, it will be too late when you actually find out the answer.
Love may come straight from the heart but Trust must arise from the mind!
This Love-Trust dichotomy becomes more important when we move from family and personal ties to corporate ties. Here, the Love is often termed ‘Like’. But the mistake of mixing the Love with Trust continues. I have seen many an otherwise astute businessman/entrepreneur/leader committing the mistake of allowing personal likes to dictate their business decision relating to other individuals. Many of them even refuse to admit the need for entering into proper legal relationships because they like the other party and they confuse that Like with Trust.
When the realities of business subsequently affect the ‘Love’, the Trust becomes the first casualty. By then, there is no proper mechanism in place to deal with the relationship. The mistake continues to be perpetuated by confusing Like or Love with Trust.
Before I conclude, let me state that I am still not convinced about the concept of true love or unconditional love. I am yet to see some. The least (!) that most lovers expect from their loved ones is complete trust and we know meeting expectations of trust is not very easy. But more on that in another post!
In personal and family relationships we must be able to give more emphasis to Love than demanding complete Trust; whereas in public/official relations we must emphasis Trust than depending on our individual Love or Like. That, in my opinion, is the best way to balance our relationships!