You know those stages of moral development you learn about in Psych 101? – Kohlberg, I think, is the name of one of their theorists. The idea is that each stage of development more aptly responds to moral dilemmas (read: works better for facing such things) than the stage that precedes it. And that each stage is a natural and necessary step along the path to the next one.
I’m wondering whether there might be identifiable stages in trust development as well, and whether it could be life-transformingly helpful to name them and situate ourselves among them in the various situations where we face fear. Something about honoring where we’re at while simultaneously recognizing that more effective ways of dealing with fear lie further on is both hopeful and comforting to me. It’s like wind at my back, taking me more quickly down the road toward trust than I’d otherwise naturally move.
I haven’t thought enough about this idea to offer a theory (yet!), but I want to try a test case with the mere idea of it.
I’m wondering whether fear of failure – which is so ubiquitous when starting or dreaming about something new – could be an arena where trust could grow this way:
- Fears of failure shift from being subconscious to conscious.
- Definitions of what failure means shift from being broad and encompassing to being much more narrowly focused.
- Failure becomes an antiquated label and a concept that, for lack of accuracy and usefulness, falls out of use altogether.
I personally oscillate between stage one and two most of the time.
So what if, according to this model, this definition of failure:
Could helpfully shift into this definition of failure*:
And eventually become something more like this:
What if, in the new things we start or dream about doing, we look around at the first definition above, thank it for being a step along the way, and then continue on our way toward greater trust?