Circles of Trust
Love-Yourself-More Monday Newsletter
Dear Awesome Woman,
Welcome to Love-Yourself-More Monday 🙂 So glad that you are here.
One thing that I wish that I had known as a child was to create circles of trust. I first heard of this concept from life coach Martha Beck. If you draw a dot in the center of a page which represents you and then draw widening circles around the dot, those are your circles of trust. You decide who is close and who is far. The closer to the center dot (you), the more trusting and loving (vulnerable) you are with them because they are safe in holding your heart. Some people you may move around the circles—bringing them closer or moving them further away depending on their behavior and situations. Some you may make leave entirely.
I was blessed with a few wonderful friendships growing up, but there were others that I experienced that were not so wonderful (and had some of those in college years and beyond). This knowledge that I’m sharing with you now would have saved me a lot of anguish. I actually wrote a children’s book (not yet published) based on this concept because I believe it is so important that people understand the concept of discerning relationships and trust from a young age.
The most important thing is that we always get to choose who are in our circles of trust.
You get to discern the ‘who’ and the ‘where’ based on your body’s wisdom and your mind’s wisdom. With using the body, you pay attention to your emotions. Emotions are ‘energy in motion’ and are in your body as sensations.
For example, if someone has been nice to you for a while, whether a friend, a co-worker, a boss, a romantic partner, and then gets critical, cynical or hot/cold, then your mind might be confused, but your body won’t be. Your mind may try to ignore, justify and/or rationalize their behavior. It may say “Huh, that was weird. But they’ve always been nice so maybe they’re having a bad day. I’ll judge them positively.” It’s okay to judge positively, but not to ignore the behavior. It just may happen again. Your body knows the score. It will feel an aversion to the person. Your stomach may sink, your torso may want to turn away and run. Good to notice and pay attention to!
Tread carefully with moving forward in these relationships. You may need to move the person to an outer circle—not as close and not as privy to your thoughts and to your vulnerability. Not as close to your heart.
Here is a checklist for your mind to determine how near or far you want someone in your circles. Remember that it is a good thing to take relationships slowly—that goes for co-worker relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. People have so many different sides to them and it’s much easier to bring people into your inner circles rather than push people from inner circles to outer ones. People get hurt and confused and not all decisions can be explained. Honesty with others is not always the best policy. But self-care is.
Brene Brown has something she calls BRAVING—the 7 elements of trust. I paraphrased her BRAVING list as well as added to it a bit. Ask yourself these questions when you’re discerning how much you can trust the person you are interacting with, including where to put them on your circles:
Boundaries—Do they respect your boundaries, and when they’re not clear about what’s okay and not okay for you, do they ask? Are you able to say ‘no’ to them? Are you willing to say ‘no’ to them or are you afraid to because when you have said ‘no’, they get mean and nasty, threatening, manipulative or have a temper tantrum claiming that you’re selfish or that you don’t love them enough? (in other words—emotional blackmail).
Reliability—Do they do what they say they’ll do? Are they aware of their competencies and limitations so that they don’t over promise? Are they able to deliver on commitments? Are you a priority for them? Are you a low priority for them? Either is fine as long as you know where you stand so that you’re not constantly getting hurt from false expectations.
Accountability— Do they own their mistakes, apologize, and make changes?
Vault — Do they share information or experiences that are not theirs to share? A person needs to know that her confidences are kept. You also need to know that this person is not sharing with you information about other people that should be confidential.
Integrity—Do they choose courage over comfort? Do they choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy? And do they choose to practice their values rather than simply professing them?
Non-judgment—Are you able to ask for what you need? Can the both of you talk about how you feel without judgment? (With husbands, the ‘how’ you talk abut your needs and feelings is very important. Some men are ‘highly allergic’ to criticism and if they feel attacked, will shut down or criticize back. Don’t be put off. There are ways to speak ‘husband language’ that works beautifully and peacefully in marriages. Please ask me how by scheduling your Free Clarity Call if communicating with your husband is painful and problematic.)
Generosity—Do they extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others?
This checklist is not only great for deciding where to put people on your circles, but also in managing your expectations of others. If you know that someone is not great in the Vault area, you’re going to be careful what you share about yourself with them.
If they have a weakness in the Reliability area—they say that they’ll be somewhere at a certain time and they never are, then know that. If you want to meet them for a lunch date, figure out how to do it without expecting them to be on time. Choose when you’ll show up and what you’ll do if they’re late. Or better yet, speak to them about how you feel when they show up late repeatedly. You can tell them that it feels disrespectful to your time and energy, and that it damages the trust you have in the relationship. Take note of how they respond and then decide where you want them on your circles.
Life is always changing and so are relationships with people. There is a flow and when we allow the wisdom of our body to guide us as well as our mind, we can make safer choices. Teach about the circles to children so they learn these skills early-on. They’ll grow up to be pros with their circles of discerning trust of others. They’ll grow up to be resilient and wise, keeping themselves safe and healthy in an ever-changing world.
Need a hand? I invite you to schedule your Free Clarity Call today. As a Somatic Healer and Clarity Coach, I help empower women to trust themselves through the wisdom of their body and intuition. Marriage wellness, narcissist relationship detox, career clarity, money receptivity and emotional/physical pain relief is accomplished through an integrated somatic process in person or over the phone. Discover your clear path to empowerment and joy now. Please feel free to forward this to friends.
Miriam Racquel (Meryl)
Somatic Healer & Clarity Coach