I have often been told that every experience in life is one in which you can learn and grow. I feel like this is especially true for me. There are countless times, that each of us can remember, that we have attempted something and the results were not what we expected them to be, or what we would have EVER expected them to be. Some of those experiences may have shaken you to the very core of your being, but you picked yourself up, dusted yourself off, and hopefully, learned something in the process. At the very least, I would hope that you learned not to do that same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. That is literally the definition of insanity. Needless to say, out of all the life lessons that I have experienced, I think the one that really has the most significance in my life is to be very selective with your trust.
I am not going to lie, it has taken many years for me to build up the courage to HESITATE. When I say hesitate, I mean to be confident in my discernment. When someone is asking you to trust them, it is IMPERATIVE to stop, observe, listen, and scrutinize the small details efficiently and acutely. I used to be that person who gave everyone the benefit of the doubt… constantly giving without thinking about the actions or consequences. I would give and give of myself until I didn’t have anything left. I was the one who was used, abused, and taken advantage of because those who I trusted mis-took and misused the trust I freely gave, only for their benefit. It is funny how someone can laugh with you, smile in your face, “be friendly”, tell you that they have your back when you need them; and as soon as the giving stops, they go missing in action, or there are a thousand excuses, or they can’t return any of the favors that you did for them. It is also worthy to mention that actions speak so much louder than words when it comes to trust, in my opinion. It is so hard to trust someone who cannot or will not follow through on what they say they are going to do, or even worse, what they PROMISED they would do. Some people talk a good game, and that is all that they are good for. Take for instance, that time you gave your heart to someone who, in the beginning, said and did all the right things, but after a few months, the lies started, then the neglect, and finally the assault. You trusted them to protect your heart, but instead they ripped it from your chest and squeezed the life out of it. It is almost enough to make you want to build a protective barrier around your heart to never let anyone in… but that is not the answer. To harden your heart is never the answer. My answer was to sharpen my discernment until I could cut through the bullshit like a razor blade. When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time. I am at the point in my life that if my trust is placed, and it is not appreciated, it is lost and extremely hard to gain back. The people in my inner circle are definitely the people who I can truly say that I trust, and they can say that they trust me as well. We have been through the highs, the lows, the good, the bad, and the ugly… but through it all we have always had each other’s back and I trust them with my life (which is going to be another separate post).
I do have some encouragement for those that are having trust issues, whether it is regaining trust, or building trust. These points really helped me and I hope that they can enrich your life as well.
- Listen to the other person. If they are angry or have hurt feelings, listen to them.
- Have some empathy. Try to feel what the other person is feeling. Put yourself in their shoes.
- Talk about what is needed to prevent it from happening again.
- Be mindful and try to your best ability to do all of the things that you talked about to help show trustworthiness.
- Take full responsibility for your actions. Don’t play the blame game. Own it.
- Offer a sincere and heartfelt apology that expresses your regret. Forgiveness is not just for what was done, but it helps you to move on.
- Continue to have open and honest communication.
- Don’t be afraid of a therapist. It may take months or even years for some wounds to heal and a therapist can help.
To conclude, there are so many things that life teaches you just by living day to day. We play the game the best we can with the cards that we were dealt. I invite each of you to examine your life this far and review the life lessons you have learned. Are those lessons still works in progress? Have you mastered the lesson? Is there room for improvement? How much have you grown? As long as you are making yourself happy and loving on yourself, before others, I think you are going to be just fine.