Brené Brown on What it Really Means to Trust

Brené Brown explains the complexity of trust—how it’s gained, how it’s lost, and why trusting ourselves is so important.

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Trust is a big deal. When people gain our trust or break our trust, it matters. It’s also a big word, packing a lot of weight. We say we trust people, or that someone has broken our trust. But what does that mean? What did they do? In an episode of Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast, Brené Brown, a renowned vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy researcher, breaks down the complexities of trust. 

She borrows a definition from leadership and well-being coach Charles Feltman who says that “trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.” Trust isn’t built in grand gestures, Brown says, but in the small moments that people treat what is important to you with care.

BRAVING: An Acronym for Building Trust 

To talk about trust, Brown uses the acronym BRAVING which stands for: boundaries, reliability, accountability, the vault, integrity, non-judgment, and generosity. Understanding that these are components of trust and how they work can help us really understand how we do or don’t trust others, or ourselves. She says she uses this acronym “because when we trust, we are braving connection with someone.”