Love all, trust a few, do wrong to no one.

I think that we may safely trust a good deal more than we do. We may waive just so much care of ourselves as we honestly bestow elsewhere. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Who do you trust? I mean, who do you really trust, with your life? My guess is that you have a short list and that your list is populated by a few people with whom and for whom you have deep feeling. No doubt these precious few have proven trustworthy over time and in most cases the trust is mutual.

Yesterday we considered the fact that mot people live their lives consumed by care for themselves. This self-obsession is an unfortunate side-effect of the Renaissance ideals of individualism and self-determination having been left unchecked and imbalanced by the failure to honestly bestow care upon others.

Shakespeare wrote that we should “Love all, trust a few, [and] do wrong to no one.” Even in a perfect world devoid of deceit I imagine that trust would be earned and not presumed. True love is not blind and even in a world where love reigned supreme there would be room for errors and omissions due to inexperience or a lack of sufficient perspective.

Even in a world more perfect than our own, this natural margin for error would necessitate that we trust, but verify. In my observation, if you have has been wronged a time or two you become naturally more suspicious of those around you. Fail to do so and you are labeled “gullible” and made a target by those who would seek to take unfair advantage of your blindness to the facts.

Taking it another step, you may have decided to stop trusting people altogether on the theory that abstinence is the best for of prevention. The motto “Trust no one and you’ll never be duped, taken advantage of or double-crossed” replaces “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to no one” and the world becomes a cold, litigious, and inexplicably lonely place. Sound familiar?

One of my favorite sayings was born of the brilliant mind of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He penned: “Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.” I invest copious amounts of trust in those around me. My hope and my expectation is that they will, over time, show themselves great. Is that too much to ask?

I’ve found that investing trust just beyond the point where the recipient trusts him or herself creates a refiner’s fire. The individual either steps up to the plate and delivers a strong return on investment or he or she cuts and runs. When someone trusts you there is a natural pressure that builds up, the pressure to perform. Trust, in this sense, has an incredible ability to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Trust liberally, but verify and you will find that the world around you begins to take on a new shape. Friends who favor only fair-weather will blow away with the high pressure system that dominates your personal atmosphere while those who will stand with you no matter how things look, feel or appear, will be friends that you can trust; that you can really trust.

16 thoughts on “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to no one.

  1. Foxglove

    I see, so conversely when one displays a knee-jerk distrust in things, it more or less forces your experience to stay ever the same, falsely confirming your expectation. Interesting twist of psychology here….


  2. cinson01

    Awesome post! I was watching a movie last evening in which it was said to the effect that of the millions of moments one has in their lifetime, it comes down to a few or even just one which defines that to which we dedicate ourselves and apply our life’s energy. It occurred to me that many aren’t even aware of this defining moment for themselves, they may just accept it blindly, blazing a path for a destructive life rather than a creative one. How empowering it is to know that we have the power to decide for ourselves what defines us and how we will better our worlds because of that. I appreciate your blog posts because I often find the solid agreement with the point of integrity I want to be known for in my own living. Thanks for the daily power boost!


  3. Kolya

    It is really important to be a friend and the only way to do that is through trust. This opens the door to a mutual relationship built on trust as others begin to trust you as well.

    Loved the Emerson quote and the powerful message in this post, thanks.


  4. Lady Leo

    “Trust, in this sense, has an incredible ability to separate the wheat from the chaff.” This is so true but then the next step reminded me of a quote from Jeremiah 23:28 “What is the chaff to the wheat?”. In other words move on don’t let your ability to trust be hindered by the process of trust revealing who is trustworthy. We keep on trusting the wheat and chaff is scattered in the wind.
    Such a key principle to understand. It’s been romanticized, vilified and disregarded; so to begin to understand the profit of trust is a gift for the rest of our lives.
    Thanks, great post.


  5. Joshua

    I trust the time is ripe for change in this dept.
    Thanks for clearing the path to that change, the world I center will thank you for this as do I.
    Trusting in something greater than ourselves, often comes in the form of those whom we are responsible to and for. Allowing an increase here will certainly prove to be a wise investment, I’m sure….
    Thanks for hitting the nail on the head again.
    I can always trust you!


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  7. DeeDee

    Thanks Gregg! I look forward to being more conscious about applying myself to the guidelines you’ve been sharing. I feel like a lot more value can be discovered and thoughtfully mined from my world. Have a wonderful day!


    1. Go for it! In my experience it works in all types of relationships. It doesn’t matter if you’re considering an acquaintance or your closest, most intimate friends…it is universally applicable.


  8. Colin

    I really like your perspective on this. When you create that refiners fire by giving someone a bit more trust than they have in themselves, it allows them to make the decision about who they want to be, and it frees you from having to judge who they are. The last part is the important bit, because it is great to have a system where people can change without the burden of judgment for their previous action holding them back. Thanks!


    1. You caught a hidden implication. Good show! I think that many people through the years have been eager to relinquish judgment for various (religious, ethical and otherwise) yet have not acquired the tools necessary to do so safely and permanently. Trust, properly and wisely applied, is one of the central tools that obviates the need for judgment.


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