real life

The video that perfectly sums up what it means to trust.

‘Trust is choosing to make something important to you, vulnerable to the actions of someone else.’

Brené Brown is a PhD from Texas, USA with a research background in vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. “I get to dig into the stuff that matters in my life and in the lives of people around me,” she told the audience of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sessions.

Brown’s speech at this event is eye-opening to say the least.

Have you ever stopped to think about trust? What it means to you, who you give it to? Do you trust yourself?

Brown was struck with these questions after her young daughter was betrayed by friends  she confided in at school. Little Ellen looked at her mother and said, “I will never trust anyone again.”

You can watch Brené  Brown tell the story here:

Video via OWN

“And my first reaction, to be really honest with you, was ‘damn straight,” Brown told the audience. “‘You don’t tell anybody anything but your mama’.” But she knew that probably wasn’t the right response.

In Ellen’s classroom at school was a marble jar. Marbles were put in, when the class worked together to do something good, and taken out when they didn’t. “Ellen, trust is like a marble jar,” Brown told her daughter. “You share those hard stories and those hard things with friends who, over time, you’ve filled up their marble jar. They’ve done thing, after thing, after thing so that you know you can trust them.”


Ellen turned the table and asked her mum, “Do you have marble jar friends? What kind of things did they do to get marbles?”

Brene Brown: The Anatomy of Trust.
Brene Brown at Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions. (Image: OWN via YouTube)

She did, and when she thought about the things that made her friends marble-worthy Brown realised, it’s the small, and seemingly insignificant moments that earn trust.


Surely it’s got to be more of a grand gesture, she thought. But all Brown’s research supported the idea. “It is crystal clear,” she said. “Trust is built in very small moments.”

Apparently one of the most significant factors in building trust, in filling up your friends’ marble jars, is funerals. Being there for a friend, even in the background, on what is undoubtedly one of the hardest days of their lives is worth many, many marbles.

Another key element? Asking for help. “How many of you are better at giving help than asking for it?” asks Brown. She cites the ability to reach out when you need something as a key component. If you are able to ask for help, people will be more likely to feel that they can do the same.

Charles Feltman defines trust as “choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.” On the other hand, distrust is when “what is important to me is not safe with you.”

Brene Brown: The Anatomy of Trust.
If Oprah is a fan, you know Brené Brown is speaking some sense. (Image: OWN via YouTube)

So those marbles, those little moments are what come together to form the ‘anatomy of trust’. And anatomy is a brilliant work for it. It’s like building blocks. All the little pieces, the tendons, nerves, and cells, that go into building a body-building trust. But what are those pieces?

After significant research, Brown has been able to list them with this acronym- BRAVING.

B- Boundaries

R- Reliability

A- Accountability

V- Vault

I- Integrity

N- Non-Judgment

G- Generosity

These are the elements that make up the anatomy of trust. These are the things that deserve your marbles.

You can watch Brown’s insightful speech in full at Super Soul Sessions TV.

What is your marble jar moment?