Updated: Oct 21, 2019
The definition of trust:
a : assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
b : one in which confidence is placed
Trust. That precious thing we all want, yet the one thing most of us are quite reluctant to give, and in the blink of an eye...... it can disappear.
What is it that makes trust so…...... elusive?
As babies we come out of the womb blindly trusting everyone, as we don’t have much of a choice if we want to survive. As we grow, however, we begin to learn who can and can’t be trusted through inevitable, painful life experiences.
The decline of trust starts at a fairly young age, really. As a school-age children, we deal with the bullies, the cheats, and the ones who lie to get us in trouble. As young adults the new found romantic relationships come into play causing major problems as someone maybe dumps you or “cheats”. Finally, as we become adults those seemingly little betrayals turn into more harsh realities such as full blown manipulation, deceitfulness, and even abuse.
Each painful discovery chips away at that once strong bond of trust and turns us into leery adults who are barely able to trust anything, including ourselves.
In the definition above the words “Assured reliance of character” stood out to me because 'reliance' can also be known as, “a sense of “dependency”. Now, I don’t know about you, but the idea of having to depend on someone is a tough concept. This day and age you can’t depend on anyone anymore, it seems.
For example, you can’t depend on people to hold the door for you, even if you’re walking in right behind them. You can’t depend on people to actually stay out of your lane on the highway, because they’re typically distracted. You can’t even depend on people to pay attention to their surroundings, as they push their shopping cart down the middle of the isle at the grocery store.
I mean, having assured reliance in anyone is almost an obsolete thing this day and age. So to combat this issue most of society has chosen to look out for themselves only, thus resulting in the never ending cycle of mistrust and disrespectful attitudes towards one another.
When it comes to the part of the definition about “Assured reliance of ability”, I’ll ask you this; how many moms can say that they fully, whole-heartily, rely on their partner or spouses’ ability to parent as well as they can?
I know I am guilty of yelling at my husband in the past for “barely helping me with the kids”, but yet when he actually would try to help, I was usually right there to interject and let him know that he wasn’t doing things correctly.
See, to him it’s was a very frustrating reality that I didn’t trust him, but to me, I just thought I was showing him the correct way, so he wouldn’t mess it up next time. The underlining truth is that I didn't trust him to take care of the situation on his own, even though he was very capable.
Knowing when to give someone your trust is not always a big, obvious reason. It can be quietly wrapped up in the tiny parts of life, resting behind the scenes- if you will- in those little moment when we don't even realize mistrust if forming.
Ernest Hemingway said,
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody, is to trust them.”
This simple but true quote is probably one of my favorites, yet when it came to applying it to my life, well….. I didn't. I had developed a bad habit of protecting myself first, before allowing trust to form.
I had put my trust in countless untrustworthy people over the years and after each revelation of their true character, large amounts of pain and anguish would be bestowed upon me. These discoveries would lead to me saying a personal vow to never let myself feel that level of hurt, ever again.
You see, I have been betrayed by past friends; I have been cheated on and lied to by a silly high-school boy, and yes, as I wrote about in a past post “PTSD- You Do Not Struggle Alone”, I have even been emotionally and physically abused as an adult. So for many, many years I lived under this self-allowing assumption that I had every right to be disbelieving.
As a result, that little guarded ‘chip’ perched on my shoulder for years, and it lived a very high and righteous life. It was like a sad little ‘trophy’... if you want to call it that.... that would rear its’ ugly head anytime I felt the slightest misgivings radiate from another human being.
It was my EARNED RIGHT, as a wounded vessel, to relinquish trust to ANYONE I deemed unworthy, but let me be honest with you, having that mindset made me miserable.
I put myself into such an antisocial box that most days I didn’t even leave my house because that meant possibly crossing paths with strangers who I couldn't trust, or even possibly dealing with other people......... who were just like me.
Let me be frank, mistrust will throw you into a deadly spiral, yet it's this tragic flag we calloused souls fly because we think we’re justified. It brought me into a very selfish state of mind, and my heart began to fill with hatred.
Honest fact: Mistrust doesn’t do a damn thing except ruin your quality of life.
So, how does someone learn to trust again? Well, that is a question where you will find many differing opinions, but you’re here, so I’ll give you mine.
I don't believe you can re-learn how to trust. I think it's just a daily choice that you have to make. You have to choose to give trust, freely, to those you believe are worthy. (Notice I didn't say....deserving... I said worthy.)
Is that a terrifying thought? Yes.
Is it completely doable? Absolutely!
Ernest Hemingway had it completely right when he made his profound statement. Something in his life must have happened in order for him to realize that the only way to find out if you can truly trust someone is to simply….. DO IT!
I think maybe what most of us get hung up on is believing that giving our full trust to someone means we have to relinquish all control as well.
Through trial and error, I have found that to not be true. It is terrifying to make the choice to trust someone, but you are still in control of your own mind and your own thoughts. You can still use guided discernment and judgment in your choice.
The only control your actually 'giving up', is the control that fear has over your life.
“1. The plans of the heart belong to the man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. 2. All the ways of man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives. 3. Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” - Proverbs 16:1-3
Trust in the Lord FIRST, and He will help you regain your trust in people. If you let Him guide you, you will be able to let go of that deeply established fear of being hurt, and you will regain the freedom- once again- to trust with an open heart. It's life changing!
“Do unto others, as you’d have them do unto you.” - Luke 6:31
If you chose to live by these two verses, I have faith that you too will come to the realization that trusting one another comes at less of a cost, and more of a gain!
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