Photo Credit: Bobby Gordon
My mother has been telling me for years that I trust too much. A couple of my very close friends, ones that have known me for several years and have seen patterns, say the same thing. They’ve seen me get burned, get taken advantage of, and get hurt by people I truly cared for. If you know me and are close to me, you know I’m the type of friend that would go above and beyond for you. I will give you the shirt off my back. It’s because I truly love people. I think humans are incredible in so many ways. Even at their absolute worst, I find them fascinating. So, I’ve had to ask myself, “Is being trusting upfront a bad thing?”
I want to give everyone a chance to be trusted. For years, I would discard that quote from others to me, “You trust others too much”. It’s not been until recently that I’ve wanted to examine this. For the first time in my life, I have decided to let others in slowly, have them earn my loyalty while I figured out whether or not they could be trusted. Maybe with this new tactic, I will succeed in not being hurt or taken advantage of. What I’ve found… I still get hurt and taken advantage of, but on a much smaller scale.
It takes months of observing though. Let me clear, this realization is all just coming to me. One of the great things about this quarantine shit is it really allows time to sit and think. What I’ve seen is a new way for me to let others in while still embracing them. I never wanted to be a closed off person. The “save yourself from others because they can’t be trusted” sentiment was never ringing true for me. Doing that, for me, meant being cut off from possibilities, opportunities and a chance to experience something new with a unique individual, one that is capable of being trusted or not. I think what may be necessary though is determining how much of you to give to them, how you let them in and how far you let them in.
I’ve learned, finally, to sit back and watch. The number one thing I look for is consistency.
Consistent behavior is a major component. Am I going to get a different version of you each time we speak? Is it something that I have to even consider? For me, this is the first sign that I must keep a certain distance in order to maintain a connection with this person. You see, whether I trust you or not doesn’t depend on whether I like you. It depends on how much of my heart I lend to you though. It’s not even just about moods. Sure, especially these days, moods vary. It’s more like, “how are you going to treat me in this situation today?” Are you going to be mad at me for something I don’t know about? Are you going to yell at me today or want to laugh and tell jokes with me? Never knowing who I’m going to get is a red flag that will keep me at an arm’s length.
On the reverse side of that, depending on what they are consistent with, that can also be an indicator to withhold trust. Is this person consistently having issues with other people? Is this person consistently not following through with what they say they will do? Is this person constantly upset about something that you or others have done but don’t talk about it? Instead they gossip? That last one… how on earth can someone rectify anything with another without understanding the offense? People are so fallible. We make mistakes all the time. It’s so easy to offend someone. It’s also easy for the offended to say, “Hey, I’m offended.” But that’s scary, right? Because if you tell that person, “Hey, I’m offended” and their response is shitty, then, well, that may mean you can’t talk to them. Then what? A couple things… one, maybe they need time to kewl off and to think about it. Maybe they will come around later. It’s harder for some people to realize they have made a mistake than for others. Or maybe, they’re shitty reaction remains shitty and gets worse. Maybe they never see it and cut you off. And maybe, just maybe, YOU communicated, “Hey, I’m offended” in a way that wasn’t compassionate. In a way that made them wrong. Maybe you forgot for a minute that we are all humans and continuously have errors in judgement.
See, I always circle back to that. “How can I improve and be more authentic?” And then I try again with the people that I shouldn’t trust. Because I want to give the experience another chance. Because I have faith that the experience will be a better one due to my perspective and growth and their (hopefully) growth. So far, it still leads to getting taken advantage of again and again. I’ve decided, some people are worth it and others are not. What I’ve concluded is, when they take advantage, I know full well who and what I’m dealing with and I’m okay with the consequences. But there are also limits and things I will have to say no to. Which like I said, I would do anything for someone I’m loyal to. Getting a “no” from me if you’re trusted is rare.
It’s been a journey for me, learning who and how to trust. I think it’s because I truly believe we are all a part of a network, that we are all the same, inherently. We exist on the same matter, from the same matter. We are all born the same and we all decay the same when we die. In my ideal world, we live in harmony and as equals. We live off the land, we take care of one another and nourish and cherish one another. This is a deep, embedded belief that I have of a way that we could be living, very different from our reality. So the notion that we can’t trust others feels foreign to me at times. Then there have been other times that I have felt in my veins, “This person is straight up dangerous.” That throws me for a loop. That derails my perfect idea that we are all made of love and we are all capable of love for each other. I suppose in that sense people would call me naive. But I’ll tell you, I believe that we could have been that way. If so many things. If white people weren’t fucking racist, if capitalism wasn’t a thing. If people were properly educated about sex. If women were treated equally. If the real Jesus’ teachings were alive. We could have had a utopia.
In this reality that we have all collectively chosen, because yes, it is a consensus that we believe money is real, it is a consensus that misogyny is okay (just a couple examples), I’m left dodging and ducking. Yearning for a time when I can build my own utopia. Looking and searching for others who are looking for the same. One of the things I want to attempt to do is to leave relationships behind in a positive way. To not leave destruction behind me, even if it means trying and being unsuccessful. But just try to not push them away, try to not cut them out because I can’t figure out how to communicate and they get mad. And at the same time, search for a way to live harmoniously with the ones that I love and trust the most. How do we find harmony, collectively? Maybe my spirit is missing a world, a dimension, in which that is a reality. 🤯