A choice given in innocence and stolen in abuse of that innocence. A value cultivated over time and broken in a moment. A quality built on a courage and broken by fear. A power built on love and broken by its absence.
I was naïve. I trusted people, and I got hurt. But, I do not regret trusting, because it is who I want to be; I was true to myself. Trust was broken by those who I was close to and those who pledged a professional and legal commitment to confidentiality. As a result, for a time, I held the belief that, ‘nobody is safe to trust’. And for a time, this belief filled me with fear and chained me to a life of solitude. Thankfully, it was not long before I decided that I was not going to allow the untrustworthy to stop me trusting other people and life; there are good people in life. And I was not going to allow my fear to break such an important quality, because a life without trust painted a desolate road that I did not want to walk. In a sense, the untrustworthy gave me a gift, because they taught me that even when the people we are supposed to be able to trust the most, break that trust, and break us, in the experience, I learnt that I can still choose to trust myself, and my senses about other people; to discern when trust could to be developed, only this time without such nativity and blindness. This time, I went slowly, and as result I began to see the qualities that help trust to grow. I learnt that I can trust others when they are:
Open and Authentic: When a person is willing to share a part of themselves; their truth, their feelings and emotions, hopes or fears, or vulnerabilities.
Accepting: When I see a person who shows me they are able to accept themselves; the good and the bad, this tells me that they are more likely to accept me, and less likely to project any of their negative judgements onto me.
Responsible: When I notice that someone takes responsibility for something they have done, commitments made, words spoken, or actions taken.
Caring and Kind: When a person treats themselves and others with care and kindness they seem safe to me. But, if they are harsh with themselves, I may think they perhaps unconsciously project this into others, and onto me.
Reliable: To count on a person to be there when I really need them.
Consistent: When other people are consistently reliable, accepting, responsible, open and authentic.
Integrity: When I see a person put positive values first.
Through learning to trust slowly, by trusting my senses and learning what it is about the other person that I am choosing to trust that is enabling this trust to develop, I now know what I am looking for in the people with whom I choose to trust.
Now, on reflection of learning to trust others, I am looking at what it means to trust me.
In asking myself these questions, I can see where I can cultivate more trust in my life. I can see that if I take a risk in being vulnerable and exposing more of my authentic self, this courage will enable others to trust me more, while building my strength, which will serve to build more trust in my belief about managing life and taking risks in trusting others. This is not because they will stop hurting me or breaking trust, but because I know that whatever happens, I have the strength to manage. I can see that in making a choice to love myself more, I will become more accepting of myself and others.
The bridges of trust are built not by choosing to trust others in blind faith, but in learning to trust ourselves; to trust our senses about people and life, and by being the person we can trust, so that we become the person that others feel they can trust. The only reason I was able to learn to trust again, was because I knew I was and am a trustworthy person, and so it stood to reason that there could be others. I recognise that trust is about fear and courage; the fear to expose my truth to myself, and the courage to love myself enough to accept me for me; the good and the bad, and to be committed to my values beyond the veils of self-deception, by breaking down my walls of fear to reveal my truth and live by it. In this pathway, true acceptance, authenticity, openness, care, kindness and respect is built to forge deep trust, and its foundation is love, because when we love, the power of love ignites courage and fuels acceptance.
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