The truth about “not being able to trust others”…

Jen Xu
4 min readJun 10, 2022

I’ve written about trust a few times now. But it’s something that I have to rely on even more as I network with colleagues & try to make friends in this new stage in life, and I wanted to question why I still have slight issues still trusting people to help me with projects.

It’s easy just to claim that you’re a micromanager, and that you suck at delegating or asking people to do things for you because you think you could do it better or faster. Well, actually, maybe it’s not so easy to claim outwardly, but it’s a simple first instinct kind of thing.

I think that sometimes it’s less about how we perceive other people, but more about how we think other people…think about us. I realized I have anywhere from a slight to aggressive mistrust of people because I feel like I’m not important enough in other people’s eyes for them to remember that they said they’d help me with ____.

It has nothing to do with them, I am absolutely sure of that. The people I have to trust are very, very important people who got to where they are because of the type of person they are. I fully trust their abilities to do what they’re saying. It has everything to do with the fact that I worry more important things will come up in their life and I will be the first thing to go. It says a lot about how I view myself, doesn’t it?

Obviously some people are going to have warranted trust issues because of their pasts. But there isn’t anything damning or horribly conflicting in my past that would really cause me to behave this way — I’ve been let down before, sure, but by people who…I didn’t trust to fully do the things they claimed to. So I think that’s the difference. When you’re working with people who you expect to let you down (because of their history of letting you down), I mean…of course you’re going to have “trust issues”. But when you’re teaming up with people who are responsible and kind and caring, and you still can’t trust them…why?

I joke about my dislike for “people” — something I commonly turn to just to be funny, because comedy is basically making generalizations, but I know it’s not true. This tells me that I do love people, and I do trust people, but I don’t trust that my own contributions to society are enough.

So the truth about being able to trust others is always just…within ourselves. Assuming the world is full of responsible and kind people who stick to their word, of course — so if we’re dealing with people who aren’t, then yeah, it’s probably about them. But we should investigate why we are having these issues because it 100% gets in the way of work being done and strong relationships being built. Sometimes it’s that we’re “micromanage-y”, but other times it can be because we don’t fully believe in our importance to the world — both of these things are difficult and important to work on, but one of these things hurts a lot more.

I could sit here and list out my accomplishments, and say all the good things I’ve done for the good of society — but somehow in this case, it’s all too easy to separate the objective from the subjective. It’s easy to list them, but to feel them, and to actually feel proud and accomplished and good about myself? Somehow it’s so difficult to make that connection. This comes full circle to confidence, which is something I have been desperately working on. Seeing myself as more than bringing diversity and humor to situations is…difficult. Again, I can describe myself with 5 adjectives, easy — but they feel like objective statements that I don’t really try for, I just…am that way. It’s a “so what?” kind of feeling.

Conversely, if I list concrete accomplishments like “finally got my paper published” as opposed to “is kind” — these concrete things are quantifiable and much too easy to compare with other people. Which again, diminishes my confidence all too easily.

Alright, this got away from me a little bit. But I think it’s good to dive deep into the roots of our problems, and even a little bit past the roots. Here we go: 1. Why don’t I trust people?
Because I don’t think I’m important enough for them to think about or care about.
2. Why do I think that I’m not important enough?
Because I don’t have confidence in my abilities or my accomplishments.
3. Why don’t I have confidence?
Because I think I haven’t earned that yet.
Which is partially true, but I can certainly believe that I have done some pretty impressive things and that I haven’t accomplished enough…yet, because it reminds me to keep going.

So here’s to…giving people more credit when they definitely deserve it, both myself and others included. Here’s to trust. Ugh.



Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, PhD student, coffee lover. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.