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Transcultural Friendship: Our Political Future

Chapter Six: The Future Human

Section 2: Trust and Related Strengths

 

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 San Jose Taiko introductory item at Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival, 1998. Headband working itself loose.

 

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Trust is a fundamental attitude, an inner sense that everything is all right. It includes trusting oneself, others and the environment. While there is a naive quality to trust, it is not founded on ignorance of the way people and things really are. One must recognize that negative outcomes and selfish people do exist. However, despite their presence, one can maintain a faith that things will work out right in the end. This faith is based partly on the sense that the most important things cannot be taken away, and, in part, on the fact that for the most part society is set up so that things usually work. One value of trust is that it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy -- trusted people tend to strive to be trustworthy.

 

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A number of important qualities derive from a basic sense of trust. One example is openness to one's feelings and to new ideas, and to other people. There are people who fear feelings that they might have and find unacceptable; this results in a neurotic waste of energy. A person who trusts oneself is open to all feelings, and this is important in promoting self-awareness and several other qualities to be discussed below.

 

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Openness to oneself and to others is also called "acceptance". Acceptance of oneself is, in fact, highly correlated with acceptance of others. Additionally, accepting others tends to make them more self-accepting. Thus, a positive cycle can be constituted. Open and accepting people tend to have an experimental attitude. They are open to new ideas and willing to experiment with new ideas, feelings new ideas and behaviors. Beneficial new ideas and behaviors can be incorporated into a person's repertoire, increasing one's personal and system competence. In fact, being open and experimenting constitute about one-half of the behaviors identified by Argyris that increase the probability of the individual contributing to system competence (Intervention Theory and Method, p. 40)

 

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Another aspect of trusting oneself is confidence, or fortitude. Confidence, like trust, should be tempered by realism. A sense of confidence will allow a person to commit oneself wholeheartedly to complete a task that cannot be accomplished with half-hearted doubting. Thus, confidence increases the likelihood of success, which, in turn, confirms one's positive self-image and confidence.

 

 

 

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