When we are young we are so very trusting. We believe that things people tell us are true because it doesn’t occur to us not to.
We believe that friends will keep our secrets, lovers will be true and business partners will not fiddle the books.
We believe in people to up hold the promises we have asked them to make to us. And we are devastated when they do not.
And let’s face it, can anyone over the age of 5 say truthfully that their trust has not at some point been broken. Anyone over 16 by a friend and anyone over 25 not had their heart broken?
Something that I have noticed being said again and again by people who are freshly burning alive in the cold, hard flames of betrayal is this “but I trusted him (or her) completely”. There are a few variations but the essential sentiment remains the same, we are hurt the most by the betrayals of the people who we trust most completely.
Now at the risk of sounding like a cynical old goat, I have to ask myself this one simple question:
“Couldn’t we save ourselves a lot of heart ache by just not trusting anyone?”
I know that a lot of people will read that and hear exactly what the other voice in my head is saying, which is that I am clearly becoming a hardened old bag and that you have to have faith in humanity and that humanity is essentially beautiful and good and how can you ever expect to find love in this world again if you are never willing trust anyone? Etc. etc.
Well relax free loving hippy voice in my head. It is not that I have lost all faith in humanity (well maybe a little bit) but I am just thinking about it objectively.
I stuff up.
Just like everyone else. We all stuff up, even the most well-meaning among us. And when we do someone else is bound to be getting the short end of the stick.
Now I am not in any way wanting to condone breaking promises or betraying loved ones. It’s not cool. But if you think about it, it is a huge amount of pressure to put on someone.
To place trust on another person is almost literally like placing some thing onto their person and asking them please never to put it down. When that person does the inevitable and eventually lays down the load, they are seldom thinking of you at the time. No they are usually thinking about themselves and the moment they are in, and not about how their actions affect you at all. To err is human, after all. To expect someone to never tell your secrets or break your heart is, in a way, completely unfair on them, because you chose to give them your secrets, or your heart, or whatever it is and so in giving something you no longer have possession of it. Not fully anyway. You can’t really expect them to now become super human beings who will never make the wrong choices (repeatedly, some of them, feckers). When you give them second chances after they have let you down already, well yes it is very Jesus like and other cheek turning and all, but really what kind of morons are we to not realize that it is going to happen again?
So I propose to say that by all means, turn the other cheek, forgive and move on and all of that, but don’t expect people to be anything other than human. Don’t trust blindly. Rather share your stories with love knowing that whatever you let go of is then out there to be shared by those to whom you have given it. Don’t expect it to be a secret any longer.
When you love, love completely, but know that nothing lasts forever. In fact knowing that nothing lasts forever is perhaps more reason to love absolutely with all of yourself in the moment, because some day this chapter will be a memory and you want it to be a good one.
I also think we have to learn to give love and kindness away, without giving our hearts away. It is a wonderful romantic notion and is the stuff of the greatest best sellers of our time, but we are responsible for how shocked we are when the walls fall down around our ears. Not the so called “wrecking balls” because we are the ones who gave them charge of our emotional well being in the first place.
So if you really care for someone don’t burden them with unrealistic expectations. Don’t ask them to carry your problems or be responsible for your heart.
Real Love and true friendship don’t trust blindly. They give the love and the friendship in full knowledge that the people they are giving it to are as human as they are. Are as likely to hurt them as last person did, but are every bit as worth it.
Most importantly take care of the hearts and trusts that you take on as though they are your own, and don’t take on any that you don’t mean to carry.
When you do stuff up, remember to admit when you are wrong and forgive yourself.
For the record, I do not do well with” team building” activities that require falling into the arms of others.
I have also learned the hard way that even the most advanced and superior capoeira instructors will kick you in the head if you don’t get out of the way quickly enough and no matter how they swear to remove all personal affections from their class time, and how you may trust them to do so, if you piss them off in a personal capacity you should be very wary of a foot between the eyes….
(I would like to add a key note here to mention that for the most part mothers are exempt from the rules of humanity outlined above in regards to their children. I have a mother who is most likely the most selfless person I know. In addition, I am a mother myself and I certainly can make a most solemn oath that I would break myself in two before betraying the trust of either of my children. There is no feeling as terrible as letting down your child. No sadness greater than theirs through your eyes. So I reckon it is still safe to trust your mom. Mother’s in law, however, are as dodgy as budget rate used car salesmen, so watch it.)