How apropos to use a football analogy given this weekends events. Oh the quagmire of emotions this blog could stir up! Most sports fans trust; if their team fails; they will prevail …. next time. Football stats aside, the motivation for today’s entry, is the realization that in the midst of failure, loss, regret and disappointment; trust can still be a choice.
“Someone who thinks the world is always cheating him is right. He is missing that wonderful feeling of trust in someone or something.” – Eric Hoffer
For what purpose would we choose to live in a state of distrust? If we do not trust; are hurt; does the lack of trust make the pain any less painful?
So where does this lack of trust originate? I have observed my own distrust is really just a lack of confidence in myself. A sort of insecurity; a fear of being vulnerable; a fear of being hurt which is all a lack of confidence in my ability to handle life on life’s terms.
Distrust is a form of insanity. We don’t trust and we get hurt. We trust and we get hurt. We keep people at a distance and they irritate us still or let us down. We keep them close and they irritate us or let us down. So regardless of our trust, or distrust, things still are, what they are and our mental guard up does not change that!
So why put up guards? Is it possible any guard is just a self imprisonment whereby we block ourselves from love but pain still gets in? Ever noticed that someone who is very jaded, guarded, distrustful etc is not hurt any less than anyone else? Sadly though, they are often touched by love far less because of the walls they have built up? This is a form of insanity. A clever ruse. Our ego is clearly at work here. Our ego wants to save face, to not look the fool, to be one up! And what do we get in return? A lack of connection. A wall of isolation. A false sense of security that we are invulnerable; and yet when they let us down we still feel let down.
When we say ‘I’ do not trust ‘you’, what are we really saying? Whenever I have ‘trust’ issues with someone it is usually an indication that some part of me is afraid. I am afraid to be vulnerable; I feel powerless; I feel they have power over my life and that frightens me. However, when I no longer have the need to trust ‘them’ and instead remember or decide that I can trust myself; then I am no longer giving away my power. They can be who they are, I trust I will be who I am (aka ok), and along our merry way we go.
To give ourself the gift of trust is to open ourselves up. To risk being disappointed or hurt; like giving ourselves permission to root for our favorite team even though we know they will fail at times. Their failure does not have to mark the end of our trust in them to prevail…. next time
What of those we ‘trust’ who repeatedly let us down? Have they let us down? Or have our expectations just let us down? Why would we give anyone our power like that? Our ego screams but in relationship with my spouse, my children, my employer there must be trust! Is that really true? These are fallible people; just as we are fallible and what pressure do we place upon them to behave how we would expect them to behave? We are human. We all do this at times but we don’t have to live in that space!
The point is that as we learn to trust ourselves; our need for them to be “trustworthy” will diminish; our serenity; our confidence; our sense of wellbeing; our ability to connect with others will exponentially expand.
It’s an ironic paradox; the more we trust ourselves the less we have a need for others to live up to our expectations. I was reminded of that this weekend. I felt let down. I jumped right back into my story about how “this person” has let me down …. again. I was angry; then I realized I was afraid. I was afraid that this person may always be this way. Then I realized this person has always been this way and we’ve been great friends for a long time. I do not like this character flaw. However, I love the person and I’m sure there are character flaws I posses they do not like. So the real question is do I trust myself? Do I accept there are times this person will let me down? Am I confident enough, strong enough, trusting in myself enough to love this person for exactly who they are? For me the answer was and is a resounding yes.
If someone’s actions cause me pain then I may choose to distance myself from them. I may find their behavior beyond my ability to stretch into acceptance. Like someone who hurts animals, or someone who is abusive and there is a long list I’m sure we all have of people we would not choose to spend our time with. I don’t have to trust them. I just have to trust my own judgment and decide what is best for my own sense of well being. Again the focus returns to me and not ‘them’.
Trust; like forgiveness is a gift to ourselves. It sets us free. Trust is the essence of leadership. The one person I have the power to lead is me; in my own life; in the direction I choose. This is only true if I choose to believe it is true for me.
“Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe