Forgiveness and trust

- Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - January 8, 2016 - 9:00am

There was a time when I posted the following words on my digital spaces that elicited a lot of comments and reactions. I said, “I have decided to forgive the person who has cheated on me and betrayed my trust, but I also have made up my mind never to trust the person again.”

There were those who said it was a wrong thing to do, that forgiveness should be equated with trust. These people may mean well, but I guess they probably have never been in business.

You never trust another supplier or a vendor who has cheated on you in business, do you? Forgiving a person is an act of the will, but trust has to be earned.

Betrayal of trust is devastating. It means the loss of a relationship since true and significant ones are maintained on the foundation of trust. Even when the offending party has asked for forgiveness and restitution, it still takes time to rebuild the trust.

Many years ago, a drama teacher, exasperated at a student’s bad acting in a college play, shouted, “No! No! Your body is belying your words. Every tiny movement, every body position,” he howled, “divulges your private thoughts.”

Maybe this is why the TV series “Lie to Me” became famous for a while and books on body language sold very well.

This drama teacher continued, saying: “Your face can make seven thousand different expressions, and each exposes precisely who you are and what you are thinking at any particular moment.”

I remember talking to a movie star many years ago, with him confirming this basic theatrical concept. Our body language reveals our inner thoughts and feelings.

The same principle runs on the stage of real life. For men, there is this gut feeling that tells us not to accept a business offer or not to enter a business partnership. For women, their intuition makes them either trusting or cautious of the people they are dealing with. There are actions people do that are beneath the human consciousness but have tremendous power to either attract or repel.

Let me give you an example. Prospective customers lose their trust when they hear the sales person say, “This car is just the one you will love and need,” while their fingers are caressing the cash register keys.

Women are wary of suitors who say, “You are beautiful,” when the view conveniently leads to an open door towards the bedroom.

Clients are turned off by insurance representatives who only show up when its collection time, but are not around when they are needed.

These subtle nuances of people’s behavior may hide real motives that lurk within the intentions of the offending parties.

I distinctly remember a time having a crucial conversation with a key officer of one of my businesses leaving at that point, and offering him advice on how to help him even when he has left the company.

He reassured me he was not venturing into a competitive business. This was the reason why I wanted to offer assistance, being fully cognizant of the fact he will not betray the trust of our board.

I said, “It would be good if you do that so you do not burn bridges, and it would be good you exit properly because little compromises would lead to more. You might bring out our company database for your own purpose for all we know.”

I purposely did not use the word “steal” as it may be too strong a word to use.

He quickly looked away for half a second when I mentioned that. I actually noticed it, but still allowed my sense of trust to prevail. How wrong I was.

First, he lied about not going into a competitive field. Next, his quick departure should have alerted me there were unethical intentions on his part.

A few months later, my worst suspicions were confirmed; that even when this officer was still in my company, he had already siphoned company resources, redirected company accounts, and placed it all in his pockets to the dismay of those who trusted him, including me.

To this day, there has been no closure nor admittance of fault from his part, and even my people in my office continue to receive marketing emails from his new firm which was obviously taken from our database which he managed to obtain.

Well, our company has lost money, but it was nothing compared to the person we trusted, who surely has lost a lot more.

From this I have learned a vital lesson. And this thought might be able to help you: When you are cheated on by the people you trust, they might think they are smarter, and you might sink into thinking that you are stupid. You actually are not. Just think you have trusted the person more than what he or she deserved, and what happened was a blessing and also a lesson learned.

And so the person who really lost is the one who betrayed the trust.

Meanwhile, you win the advantage of knowing the real character of the undeserving person.

And you are wiser now. It’s actually a win!

(Start the new year right with Francis Kong. Sign up to update and upgrade your leadership and life skills with his highly acclaimed “Level Up Leadership” workshop seminar on Jan. 13-14 at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel. For further inquiries contact Inspire at 09158055910 or call 632-6310912 or 6310660 for details.)



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