Bridges and Boundaries
In every human relationship, there will be either a series of bridges or a series of boundaries. Bridges are the trust emotions that link us to others. Boundaries are the distrust emotions that create barriers of perceived protection around us. Both bridges and boundaries will be tested by those we relate to as soon as they are established.
We have all experienced people who establish bridges at a rate we are not comfortable with. For example, if you meet a new neighbor who feels comfortable coming over to your house at all times of the day and night unannounced to borrow your things without permission, we could say that they have established a bridge that is not yet strong enough to support that element of your relationship. On the other hand, we all have friends of long standing who know that if they are truly in need, can come to our house at any hour and have anything that belongs to us that might help them. In this case, the bridge is strong enough to support that element of the relationship.
Boundaries work the same way. As soon as a boundary is established in a human relationship, it will be tested. If you tell your four-year-old not to get out of your yard, you can bet within a few moments, he or she will be at or beyond the boundary of your property. All bridges and boundaries will be tested.
Whenever possible in our personal and professional lives, it is better to build a bridge than a boundary. It is better to be involved with people you can trust because of the bridge you have built instead of only trusting them because of the boundary you have created.
The difference between being able to tell someone, "I trust you to handle this in the right way at the right time" is far superior than being forced to say, "Unless you perform in this fashion, I will be forced to penalize you." Given the opportunity, most people will strive to be trustworthy if presented with a bridge instead of a boundary. Obviously, we have prisons because some people cannot understand bridges and must be subjected to the ultimate boundary; however, most people will be as trustworthy as you expect them to be, and when you communicate the level of trust in your expectations, they will perform.
For over a decade as a blind person, I have given cash to literally hundreds of store clerks, hotel personnel, cab drivers, etc., many of whom already know that I am blind. To date, I have yet to have one person cheat me. If you go through life expecting people to be good, they generally will. Today, find a way to build a bridge and tear down the boundaries.
Today's the day!