Brené Brown gives an amazing analogy for building trust.
In one of her many incredible books (honestly, I can’t remember which one, because last year I went through a major Brené kick where I listened to literally every book she’s written…) she talks about discussing how to build trust with her daughter Ellen, who was a young girl at the time.
At Ellen’s school, they use a marble jar as a physical symbol of accumulated good deeds…
Whenever the students do something noteworthy or positive, the teacher invites them to put a marble in the jar. When the jar is full, the class gets a reward of some kind.
Brené uses this marble jar as an analogy to explain to Ellen how trust is built between two people…
Small, simple acts become single metaphorical marbles added to an imaginary jar.
When the jar is full, the reward is a feeling of trust.
In the book, there’s an example of one of Ellen’s friends remembering her grandmother & grandfather’s names, and referencing them in a conversation. Ellen made a comment that her friend remembering that detail about her life had “added a marble to her jar” and made Ellen feel she could trust this friend in a deeper way.
I love this analogy of the marble jar as a way to build trust with others.
What about the marble jar we fill with ourselves?
When it comes to showing up for others: keeping our word or promises, following through on our intentions…
It’s important to us that other people trust us– especially the closest, most beloved and cherished people in our lives.
What about our word, our promises, and our integrity with ourselves?
What I’ve noticed (from being human and also from being a mentor for others) is that we’re MUCH quicker to be loose or flippant with our commitments to ourselves than we are to others.
Why is that?
Why is it more important to follow through and keep our word on our commitments to others, but when it comes to ourselves and the vows we make, we are so quick to break them?
My friends, what if you implemented the marble jar metaphor for yourself?
When was the last time you put a marble in the jar representing your own ability to show up and follow through on a commitment you made to yourself?
Because here’s something I didn’t mention from Brené’s story:
When the kids in the classroom did something out of line, broke the rules or acted out, they had to take marbles out of the jar.
That applies to us, too!
When we vow to ourselves we are going to follow a diet, drink 4 glasses of water per day, or stop working at 4pm…
and then we break our word to ourselves…
we remove marbles from our jar.
The result is that, whether you’re aware of it or not, you don’t trust yourself as much.
For many of you, this shows up in an attitude of
“this won’t work”
“I know I won’t follow through”
“I can’t do it”
“I’m afraid I’m going to fail, because I’ve failed so many times in the past.”
Dear ones, isn’t it time to refill your marble jar?
In service of your unwavering self-trust,