Many people mistake openness for trust. They think that if you are open with them, if you are friendly and happy and seem to enjoy being around them, you trust them with everything that you are.
Not so. It is my personal experience that the people who are trusted most are the ones who actually disclose the least. Such people are keenly aware of the power they have over others, should they choose to exercise it, and never want anyone to have such power over them.
For such a person to trust someone else is to choose to be vulnerable, to choose to expose one's flaws and weaknesses to another's eye, in effect, to choose to grant another power over them. It is the butterfly choosing to alight upon someone's hand, knowing that should the hand clench it will be utterly lost. This choice is not made lightly, but only after much thought and consideration.
People who are trusted by others are often surrounded by other people; they have a network. They weave a web, as it were, binding together the people they know to create a more beautiful design. At the same time, they have very few confidantes, very few true friends. There are different levels of friendship, as it were, or at least there are different kinds. There are friends of the heart, friends of the mind, and friends of the soul. Friends of the heart are those where the friendship is based on feelings and admiration of the goodness of a person's heart. One respects the person for his kindness toward others, his warmth and friendliness, traits that emanate from the heart, but that are not necessarily related to his intelligence or ability to think. Friends of the mind are those who amuse and entertain one another with witty conversation and discussion, friends who are on the same wavelength, who challenge and intrigue one another. And friends of the soul are the rarest kind; these are people who have a good heart, a keen mind and whom one truly trusts. These people intuitively understand you and accept you; their very existence is enough to make you happy. You can speak to them as you truly are, without being conscious of how you appear or how you present yourself. As this is the most meaningful friendship one can form, it is also the most dangerous, for it entails allowing the other person to really know you. But it is just that sharing that makes this friendship the most rewarding.
To trust another person is to share yourself with them, to tell them of everything that makes you the person that you are, to speak of what is good in you and what is bad, to admit, to confess. To trust another person is to ask them to listen, to ask them to truly see. To trust a person is to silently ask them to look for the good in you, to find what is worthwhile, to accept you for what is best in you. To trust is to expose oneself and believe that the person you have chosen to trust is worthy; he will not betray you, but will understand.
The one who is trusted never feels worthy of the gift that has been made him, this sudden disclosure by another. He wonders why he was chosen; he views this as a responsibility. It rests upon him to be the person the other sees him as being, to listen to the person's story and accept him for who he is. It then lies upon him to advance the person, to help him to grow. At times this is a burden, and the one who is trusted is despondent. But this is balanced by the times in which one succeeds in comforting another, in making the world a little brighter.
Each person is a world; each person's private griefs and troubles have meaning. To be trusted by another is to have been chosen as the one permitted entrance to this world, the wanderer in hidden places. To trust is to hold the door open, to welcome another to your domain. And as the two of you wander through your world, if the trusted person performs his task correctly, you realize that it is not as dark as it once seemed, that there are patches of green overtaking the bramble thicket, that winter has receded in favor of summer. The two of you transform your world until the person who chose to trust you looks up at you with shining eyes and all the love he can possibly give you. And the one who was trusted feels ashamed and unworthy of this, for the truth is that the potential was there all along; the person who chose to trust you only needed someone to believe in him, someone to make him see what he truly was.