Trust in Congress and in other political leaders is at an all-time low. Only 50% of men and women are able to weather the storms of anger, disappointment, and hurt to stay married. According to psychotherapist and prolific author David Richo, trust — "a reliance on reliability" — issues lie at the heart of all relationships. This quality is undermined when someone is unfaithful to us; deceives us; cheats us; lies to us; disappoints us; doesn't come through for us; or deliberately demeans or hurts us.

One of the major sources of societal troubles is that so many people grew up in birth families where mistrust was rampant. They learned that adults did not keep their word and were capable of betrayal on many different levels. And as a result, they were unable to trust anyone — including themselves.

Richo observes: "The opposite of interpersonal trust is not mistrust. It is despair. This is because we have given up on believing that trustworthiness and fulfillment are possible from others. We have lost our hope in our fellow beings." Instead of plunging into this dark abyss, our trust can move in four directions: we can trust ourselves, others, reality, and a higher power. Richo suggests some affirmations that can be used to build trust in all directions:

"May I grow in trust in myself by granting myself attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing.

May I grow in trust of others by asking for their support, appreciating their way of giving it, and not blaming or punishing them if they fail me.

May I grow in trust of my present predicament as a path to wholeness and higher spiritual consciousness by accepting my here-and-now situation with equanimity as well as with some sense of humor.

May I keep trusting graces from powers beyond my ego."