Not My Circle of Trust

Jan 09, 2023

 By now, the kids (i.e. the ones who are feeling ok) are back in school. Chanuka is behind us. And I hope the Seminary girls are finally adjusted 😀!


Years ago, I complained to a colleague of mine about the many Chanuka parties I had to attend.  I was feeling overwhelmed by how many late nights we’d have in a row. Never mind the traffic. Never mind the calories. I’ll never forget her face when she looked up and told me that she had zero parties. I honestly hadn’t realized how lucky I was and since then, I gave up 99% of the complaining and I appreciate every single one. Minus the traffic. 


I totally enjoy the silent competition between all the sides to be the “funnest side.” But mostly, the sense of connection and bond that each party creates sends a message to everyone at the party that they are part of something bigger. It isn’t just me.  It isn’t just my immediate family. I am connected and responsible for something greater. And there are many others who are supportive and protective of me too. 


These Chanuka get-together keep families and cousins close, connected, in touch and up to date. It’s not only family parties.  Shul parties, School Chagigas and Yeshiva Mesibas all send the same message. 


These are actually the people who are part of our “circle of trust.” 


A  “circle of trust” encompasses the idea that there are different levels of trust that define the extent that we let certain people get closer to our “true self.” Between each level is a ‘permeable membrane’ that allows someone to flow inward or outward, allowing for more or less trust respectively.



Our circles of trust vary from individual to individual and from situation to situation. There might be a situation where you greatly trust your grandparents’ wisdom, so they move in closer to “self.” There might be a situation where you need a specific friend to chime in, so they move in closer.


The other important piece to this is the speed at which an individual can move between levels. In the case of an emergency, doctors might move from the outside to the inner circle, as you trust them with your life. This could happen in the matter of seconds. In other situations, such as someone you are dating, it may take months for them to move from the outside circle to the innermost circle as they slowly become your significant other.


If you are hurt by someone close to you, it can take seconds for them to be exiled into an outer layer. 


People are rarely locked into levels. It constantly changes over time. Just as these membranes allow individuals to move freely between levels, they also serve as emotional boundaries to keep out people who we do not feel safe with. 


The concept of Circles of Trust is important for adults and children to be aware of. Sometimes we are hurt or insulted by someone who is in our innermost circle. We can say to ourselves: “this person is so close to me.  Is it possible that she didn’t mean what she did?”  On the other hand, if someone we love and hold close to our hearts hurts us repeatedly, maybe it’s time to tell ourselves “I need to trust him less.  Maybe it’s time that I move them to an outer layer as a way of protecting myself from further hurt.” 


This an activity to do with yourself and/or your children at your supper table. 


Think about: Who is in your circles?


And btw, the top example is clearly not mine. Because I’m not even on a recipe chat. 


💕, Shifi 



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