Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trust... Can You?

So... do you remember how it felt when you believed in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? And do you remember th GREAT feeling you got when it was "true?" You put your trust in someone who told you, "If you do this, this will happen." Or maybe they said, "I will always do x or be y" And as long as they were never proved wrong (based on your required level of proof) everything was fine and dandy!

And then the lies begin to get discovered.

Santa didn't bring anything to that little girl. But she was always so nice! How could he not do that? I don't believe Santa does what he says he does.
Mamma told me that Santa actually doesn't exist. Well wait a minute... if that's the case, then my original hypothesis was false. I actually COULD trust Santa (if he existed) ... the person I can't trust is Mamma!

It gets worse as time goes by. This is especially true with the more comparisons we make over time. Whenever someone does something that reminds us of something someone else did, those neurons fire and we begin to doubt. Doubt is the lack of trust. You can NOT trust someone you doubt, period. It's impossible.

Now, as time goes by, the more crap that happens to you perpetrated by others, the less inclined you will be to believe that anyone new in your life will be any different. The level of proof you require gets higher and higher and higher until no-one could possibly provide enough evidence that they are what they say they are ... or that they will be what they say they will be.

This is a vicious and LONELY cycle. The only person you're satisfying with this attitude is yourself. Even though you're not satisfied with the status of things... and this is the kicker... at least you were right!

So how do you break this cycle? That's the one people have asked for years and years. Some people get it, while others never do. It's NOT EASY ... and yet it's simple. It doesn't require any self-help tapes. It doesn't require fame, fortune or power. It requires that you let go.

"Let go?! WTF does that mean?! Let go of what? I know what it means and I won't get hurt again!!"

That's NOT letting go. That's holding on.

Letting go means REALIZING that this new person in your life is NOT anyone else in your life currently or previously. It means forgiving those who hurt you before and loving them the same way you did before you found out about their broken promises. It means accepting yourself, and others, as we are... not as we think we should be. What is meant to be is meant to be.

Now does this mean let people walk over you? Of course not. It means state your expectations clearly and up-front and what the consequences are if those expectations are not met. It also means STICK TO YOUR GUNS. If someone breaks a rule, don't let the consequences slide! It also means that if you say something is okay, don't change your mind to say it's NOT okay later ... at least not without having a REALLY good reason for it.

Most of all... communicate. This is not easy with people who are of mixed levels of self-esteem. One will invariably, and often unintentionally, dominate the other. This does nothing but frustrate BOTH people.

If you're trying to rebuild trust with someone, be honest about what happened, first. If you were comparing them and judging them based on those comparisons, own up to it. Then forgive yourself for doing that. Finally, inform them that you acknowledge that they are not the person you compared them to and ask for their forgiveness.

From this point on, it may be possible to rebuild trust IF you state your expectations clearly. If someone is unable or unwilling to accept those expectations (whether they be limits or privileges), be honest about how you feel about the situation openly and clearly so that you can both work out the best thing to do for each other.

Now, I'm going to warn you... although this all sounds quite easy... it's not. There will be times in your life when you think "If I could just get you to see my point of view." That doesn't really happen with coercion. The only way that happens ... is through "magic." Yeah, I said it... magic. Because one moment you're not thinking the same... and suddenly the next moment you are. What made the difference? The difference is you didn't care whether they got you or not. Not in a "I don't care about you, you can get AIDS and die" type of way. An "I don't care" where you're not so focused as to force the other to see what you see.

I hope this made sense. I know I used a LOT of pronouns and any editor would probably have my head on a platter at this point. But I think I got the primary concept across.


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