I cannot think of too many words as potent as the word "trust." It's not a word that we throw around lightly, unless perhaps we are being sarcastic such as: "I trust that you will be home by midnight." Let's try something. Complete this sentence: "Of all the people on this Earth, I trust _______." My guess is that many of us have a very short list. If you've picked up a newspaper or watched the news in any given twenty-four hour period, you've certainly questioned your ability to trust. We're constantly inundated with stories of teachers, students, doctors, dentists, nurses, politicians, clergy, husbands, wives, children, and every other form of human being who have shocked friends and relatives with some bizarre reality (often lethal) that nobody ever would have suspected. If that seems distant and doesn't impact you, then surely you've experienced some less troubling form of mistrust at home. I'm not sure what's worse -- the horrific shocks we hear on television, or the small stings we withstand all too often on the home-front.
There's no way around it -- trust is risky business. There is always the chance that we are going to be hurt, and history, the news, and our personal experiences prove that we probably will be. So what are our options here? We can isolate ourselves and have no human interaction, but that's rather cowardly. We can choose to be bitter, jaded, resentful, and angry, but that's ineffectual. Or we can realize that we have choices and do not have to be completely vulnerable. We can choose to be careful about exactly what we decide to share, take, or give away in our relationships. We can choose to say: yes; no; I'm not sure; I'm not ready; etc. We can ask questions and communicate frequently on a level that helps us to feel safe, and understood. And we can proceed slowly and in a manner that makes us feel secure. We can pace ourselves and act intentionally. Once we realize that we have choices and are not victims, we will have less fear.
In relationships, we must realize that everything begins within ourselves. We have everything we need inside of us to keep us safe in many common situations. The sad thing is that we don't even trust ourselves. We shut down our inner voice or never even take the time to listen to it. We look outward to others for answers, strength, and love that we first must discover on our own from within. Only then will we feel totally free to take that leap of faith and reach out to trust another. When I am centered and spiritually strong and healthy, it is much easier for me to risk being vulnerable with another person because I am not stumbling blindly in the dark groping for fulfillment. Rather I am taking an intentional, practiced, exhilarating leap of faith into the refreshing pool of life. If occasionally I belly-flop, I'll be certain to be more careful next time. I probably acted too quickly and without focus. It's simply a lesson, a reminder, and another chance for me to get it right next time. It's all worth it. Trust me.
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