Friday, June 23, 2006

Who should you trust?

"When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends."
- Japanese Proverb

Why should we care about the character of a man or woman? Isn't that their own business?

The character of a person is what tells you whether or not you can trust them. It tells you whether they have integrity--whether they will still do right even if they are not being watched.

Of course everyone has a right to be untrustworthy and dishonest. We have the right to distrust them and put them in prison for their antisocial ways. But you won't want one of these people as a friend.

How can we know whether or not we can trust a person? The proverb quoted says that we should look at his friends. That's all very well provided that the person has friends.

Some people don't have any friends you could look at. They may even be good people. They have simply run into so many untrustworthy people in the past that they don't trust anyone any more.

You have to trust a friend, if that person is a real friend.

Some of the most trustworthy people you could ever befriend have no friends. They may need you to break that trust-no-one attitude for them.

Life is pretty shallow if you don't trust anyone. True, you will get hurt if you trust people. But at least you will know the depth of hurt as well as the height of happiness if you do trust people.

You can't appreciate happiness unless you have already experienced the depth of hurt. Emotion is like a pendulum, it swings as far one way as the other. And no farther.

People who have experienced great hurt have the capacity to also experience great happiness. People to whom you show trust will respond accordingly, if they are worthy of your friendship.

You don't have to have a lot of friends in your life. You only need enough.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to take the cloud of distrust away from honest and trustworthy people.
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