With the fact that the Millennial Generation is the most untrusting generation ever recorded, this week, Lexi and I wanted to answer the question, “How to Trust Without Getting Hurt”.
Trust is what bonds us to other people and allows us to feel safe so we can be vulnerable enough to connect.
Usually people fall into one of two groups…they either give trust at the beginning (allowing someone else to choose whether to honor it or not), or hold it back, making others “earn” it.
Problem with broken trust is you’re just as pissed at yourself for your bad decision to trust them as much as you are at the person (or institution) that betrayed you.
Understanding all of these points, I wanted to talk about Why Millennials, in general, are the most untrusting generation of recorded history and how you, as an individual Millennial, can authentically “trust” in today’s upside down world without ending up getting hurt in the process.
To set the stage, I want to mention a couple of good articles about Millennials and trust.
Big Think article by Paul Taylor: “Millennials are the Most Cautious Generation We’ve Ever Seen”
Taylor posits a few theories about why millennials are the most cautious generation Pew has ever seen.
- A large share of young adults are non-white and/or on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. This places them in “an attitude of vulnerability” and causes them to act more carefully because they’re not well fortified to deal with the consequences of misplaced trust.”
- It has to do with millennials’ time spent online. Millennials understand that you have to take everything you see online with a grain of salt; not everybody is as they present themselves. This reality breeds distrust.
- Has to do with how much social horrors, coupled with the ways millennials were raised, contributes to their wariness: “Millennials came of age at a time of global terrorism, of domestic school shootings, Columbine, 9/11, a lot of pretty horrible things that are particularly disturbing to parents. The worry about strangers online, online predators and all the rest… There is a kind of an everybody gets a trophy quality to the way millennials have been raised. You’re precious. It’s a mean and difficult world. I need to protect you. Which may then be picked up by the children raised this way as you better be careful, you better be wary.”
While these are only theories, Millennials’ general aversion to risk as factual and evidenced.
Simply put: millennials have watched a lot of people get burned over the past seven years. Their parents have fought foreclosures and debt. Divorce rates have led to a lot of broken homes. Millennials have come of age during an era where the promise of success more resembles a fleeting chance. There’s been unending war, escalating political partisanship, and growing economic inequality. In many ways, millennials feel they’ve watched their cultural inheritance get squandered away by the political elite.
So perhaps the question could be phrased not so much as “why are millennials distrusting of others?” but rather “what reason do millennials have to be trusting at all?”
Another great article was from the Washington Post, titled, “Millennials Don’t Trust Anyone. That’s a Big Deal”
The article states…
There is a feeling that the safety net is gone. In political terms, the conviction that honest brokers simply don’t exist leads people to seek sustenance from those who affirm their points of view. They watch the same TV shows, listen to the same radio stations, shop at the same places and live in the same neighborhoods as people who believe like they do. Interactions with people with whom they disagree and entities such as Congress or the news media dwindle. Suspicion rises. Distrust becomes pervasive.
The Key to Trusting without getting hurt is: Perspective
The reason we feel the hurt is because we chose to believe in something that ended up not being real. And, in order to live in that belief, we gave a little of ourselves, we became vulnerable…opening ourselves up to a “sense” of being uncomfortably exposed. And when we are betrayed, it feels as though the person or institution that was the one we wanted to protect us the most, was the one that stuck a big stick in an exposed wound…which then leads to the double-whammy impact of being betrayed as well as being pissed at yourself for allowing it to happen…which then leads to a knee-jerk reaction of building an even bigger wall around your vulnerability, so you’ll never have to feel that devastated ever again…because if it did happen again, you have a feeling like you wouldn’t be able to survive it.
This entire trust-betrayal-devastation-building more emotional protection cycle is real…it’s legit, however, it is entirely a product of letting your Ego reaction control your reality. Because, it’s the Ego’s job to “protect” you, it wants to be sure that you feel the pain for making the mistake of trusting so you don’t make that mistake again…and, it also wants to rub it in your face for not being more protective of yourself so you, in fact, build that bigger wall around yourself.
As you can imagine, all of this Ego crap leads you down the wrong path, making the pain worse and the recovery take a lot longer.
Alternative to the Ego reaction
Good news is…you do have a choice and you can choose to “see” and process the betrayal in a more construction fashion.
Trust (individuals or institutions) with the understanding that there will probably be instances where they don’t live up to your expectations. And, if there is some action of betrayal, having the perspective of “that sucks but this action in NO WAY defines who I am or my worth” and the feeling that “it is what it is and sometimes shit doesn’t work out the way you have it planned in your head” will allow you to keep things in a more realistic perspective and will also keep the action from creating deep emotional damage that would take a long time, if ever, to heal.
Before you go, I would like to provide you with a way to get my latest FREE mini-guide.
This one is all about 7 Proven Phrases That Will Immediately Bring More Love, Money and Happiness Into Your Life.
Here’s the link: http://wp.me/P7LiCb-i1