By Alex P. Vidal
“If you have a secret, people will sit a little bit closer.”—Rob Corddry
TRUST remains to be the most important aspect of any meaningful relationship.
“More specifically, it is a mutual condition that must exist between a manager and his subordinates, a husband and wife, and between friends,” writes Dr. Jan Halper, author of Quite Desperation.
Halper warns that a husband who doesn’t trust his wife to listen and be supportive will not disclose his personal thoughts and feelings. If he doesn’t trust her judgment, he will not confide in her.
“As a result, they will grow apart. A manager who doesn’t trust his subordination will not delegate responsibility or authority. Instead, he will resort to controlling them,” Halper stresses. “When employees don’t feel trusted, they are likely to become territorial, derisive, and antagonistically competitive.”
In his book Man’s Search for Himself, Rollo May discussed the destructive aspects of this attitude:
–this type of individual competitiveness–in which for you to fail in a deal is as good as for me to succeed, since it pushes me ahead in the scramble up the ladder–raises many psychological problems. It makes every man interpersonal hostility and resentment and increases greatly our anxiety and isolation from each other.
Raised with a competitive spirit, where winning is more important than caring, competition more important than friendship, men search for their opponents’ vulnerable points to be used as ammunition in the future, explains Halper.
Halper cites the case of investment banker Anthony Rich, who told him, “I store confidences away to be used at a later date, if it’s to my advantage. Any bit of knowledge is fair game to be used against your perceived enemy in order to declare a victory.”
Although Rich did not admit it, Halper says the implication was there: “It’s okay to betray someone you treat as a friend if it means winning or losing.”
Consequently, this intense competitiveness and desire to win breed fear and distrust between men, according to Halper.
Halper says in general men are discouraged from “opening their kimono” with one another. They are told to never count on anyone but themselves. Halper finds that when he encouraged men to talk with one another about their haunting conflicts and issues, that which was troubling them suddenly seemed less important or disappeared.
“They unburdened themselves of feeling vulnerable by exposing their private side and finding someone who understood them,” he points out.
“Most often the men I interviewed were shocked at how a simple step could alleviate their loneliness and pain and provide clarity and insight.”
Although there is some truth to the assertion that men distrust others because they themselves can’t be trusted, another important factor comes into play, Harped says.
“Men don’t believe they are in control of their feelings, that they choose to feel as they do. Instead they think feelings are something that come over them, that they are made to feel as they do by a mysterious external force,” explained Halper. “They attribute the power and ability to others, believing someone else made them feel fear, hurt, happiness, or anger.”
Men fear getting close to anyone, women or men, because it’s another way they might put themselves on the line, becoming vulnerable, asserted Halper.
“Countless men told me they longed to be close to others, but if it meant feeling out of control, they didn’t want anything to do with intimacy,” he noted.
GET SOME FRESH AIR. Let us spend time in nature. Taking a walk, having a picnic, or simply sitting outside and watching the sky deepens our connection to the natural world, motivating us to be better stewards of the earth. I do this each time I visit Boracay Island in the Philippines and in my two other favorite places: Nagoya, Japan and Denver, Colorado.
CHEW IT UP. Let’s choose mastic-based gum for our chewing habit–normal gum takes years to biograde and can cause problems for wildlife because of its stickiness. Mastic gum is made from the resin of the Aegean mastic tree and is 100 percent natural. It is available in gum and capsule form from health food stores.
A WEIGHTY MATTER. Ten treadmills in the average gym use the same amount of electricity in a day that it would take to run our hairdryer non-stop for a year. Let’ stick to weights and non-electric machines like spinning bikes.
HEAL OURSELVES WITH TEA TREE. Tea tree oil is a great alternative to chemical healing ointments and balms. A natural antiseptic, it’s great in emergencies for cuts and grazes as well as for cleaning up after animals (for children) who have not been house-trained.
LET’ GET OUTSIDE. Instead of heading for the bright lights of the gym next time we work out, let’s take a step into the fresh air. Running, walking, and working out outdoors have little effect on the environment.
ANTHROPOMIMETIC MACHINES. No matter how closely a robot resembles a human on the outside, if we crack it open, the jumble of wires is unlikely to bear much resemblance to our insides. A group of European researchers aims to bridge that gap–its robot prototype is anthropomimetic, meaning it mimics the human form.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)