Trust and the Marble Jar

This past week, I had a situation in which my “marble jar” became empty. I am not going to share any details about the situation as it is not appropriate. I also don’t want to break the thing I am going to be writing about – trust.

In the particular situation, something didn’t feel right and I wanted to understand why for my own learning and so I can articulate it better in the future (since I occasionally struggle in situations to use my voice and truly be seen for who I am.

Subsequently, in this post, I am going to discuss –

  • What is Trust?
  • Trust and the Marble Jar
  • Sliding Door Moments
  • Understanding Trust: Seven Elements of Building Trust

Let’s get started…

What is Trust?

There are many definitions of trust, including –

  • “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.” and “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone”~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • “to believe that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • “Firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something” ~ Oxford Dictionaries

In the Thin Book of Trust, Charles Feltman defines trust as “Choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s action.”


Trust and the Marble Jar

In the following clip, Brené Brown describes the concept of trust and the marble jar.

Marbles are earned through small acts/moments, not grand gestures. Some examples of small acts/moments that build trust include – showing up at a loved one’s funeral and asking for help from friends.


“Sliding Door Moments”

Relationship expert Dr. John Gottman has found that trust is built through small moments. In his research, he discovered that trust and betrayal are the main challenges couples face. These moments are called “sliding door moments” after the movie sliding doors. Dr Gottman says, “In any interaction, there is a possibility of connection with your partner or turning away from your partner.”

In the following clip, Dr Gottman shares an example of a sliding door moment in his relationship with his wife.


Understanding Trust: Seven Elements of Building Trust

Before we can build trust with other people, we need to build trust with ourselves. This falls in line with many other areas of life including peace, empathy and compassion, just to name a few. We truly cannot give what we don’t have.

So what are the elements of trust? In Brené’s research she has identified seven elements of trust with the acronym “BRAVING”. BRAVING stands for –

  • Boundaries – you are willing to say no,
  • Reliability – you do what you say you are going to do,
  • Accountability – you own your mistakes,
  • Vault – in Brené’s book Rising Strong she says: “You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept, and that you’re not sharing with me any information about other people that should be confidential.”
  • Integrity – choosing courage over comfort, choose right over fun or easy and practice values not just profess them,
  • Non-judgment – ask for help and what you need, and
  • Generosity – of spirit and actions.


Over to You…

To help your learning about trust and the marble jar, you may like to finish these sentences…

  • “Sliding door” moments for me are …
  • Marble jar people (i.e. family/friends) in my life include …
  • People build trust with me through …


Through investigating and writing about trust further, I now understand why I felt uncomfortable in this situation and will be able to explain it more clearly in the future. I hope this post has also helped you understand trust and ways to continue to build it within your own life.

Feel free to share any comments below and if you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

Reference –

Brown, B. (2015). Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution. New York, USA: Random House.

Feltman, C. (2009). The Thin Book of Trust: An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work. Oregan, USA: Thin Book Publishing.

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