Learning To Trust


How do you define trust?

Is it the ability to be yourself with another person? Is it placing your mental, emotional, and physical safety with someone? Is it removing doubt and fear to express emotions without worrying about any repercussions? 

A dear friend once told me, "There are things ingrained into us as children that we will never be able to shake." For me trust is one of those things. Since I was 10 years old, trust was something I generally lost for people as a whole. Relationship after relationship and friendship after friendship, I always had doubt on people's intentions, thoughts, and actions. 

I have been hyper-aware since I was young: aware of my mortality; aware of my finiteness; and aware of my fragility. In more than one way I grew up broken as most children do — it's natural. But how you cope with these life defining moments and how circumstances play out, cause you to indulge in them or find an escape. I enjoy indulgence. 

I don't really care about physical pain — I've disciplined myself well enough, making my tolerance extreme . No matter how much pain I endure, my body knows that physical pain is temporary. But the mental, spiritual, and emotional pain — those can be constant and at times they can last forever. I protect those three dearly.

Trust Is Part Of Every Life Experience

One day on a flight from JFK to MIA, I thought about trust. I've spent a lot of my life proclaiming I don't trust people. Yet here I was in this giant machine, trusting my life to strangers. I trust the engineers designed the plane properly. I trust the plane inspector came to work responsibility and did his job wholeheartedly. I trust the pilot had adequate rest and is emotionally and mentally sound to properly operate the plane.

Yet I don't trust people? I do! I trust people every day.

Everything you eat, drink, touch, drive, or ride is an extension of trust: you trust that organic fruit is pesticide free; you trust that you got the best deal on clothes; you trust the car you drive everyday was built to work properly; and you trust the bus and train conductors are awake and sober. But all of these forms of trust are solely physical. There is no real connection to create fear. These are the safest forms of trust. With no emotional connection, trust can be given to anyone.

So what is the challenge of trusting in the other aspects?

Is it memory of pain? Memory is more than just the process of remembering. Memory is a full body experience. It creates nostalgia: scents, touches, colors, thoughts, and words all force us to go back into those dark places we feel we have conquered. It makes our heart race, our palms sweat, and our stomach turn. When it comes to trust, situations do not have to be similar to cause doubt and fear. An old song comes on that you once shared with someone you loved comes on and now you feel sick to your stomach. 

Scenario: Your parents lie to you as a kid, so you distrust them. You expect them to always be honest with you based on their role in your life, but you can't accept their lie. Now you don't trust people who, in traditional roles, should be honest with you. Your spouse, pastor, boss, and best friend all have ulterior motive in your mind. You've become paranoid. Trust is an extension of paranoia. I safety net we all need. But, we also need to know when to conquer the fear that trust instills in us.

Freeing Yourself

 So how do you learn to trust?

  • Let time work - Trust takes time to build. If you have the courage, the sanity, and the endurance to fight through the beginning of any type of relationship, trust naturally reveals itself down the line. Take baby steps.

  • Trust yourself - Who else is there to always depend on but yourself? Most of the times when we meet someone we can feel their personality. What causes us to fail is when we ignore our instinct. This doesn't mean hightailing it the moment you have a random thought. It means knowing yourself, knowing what your expectations are, knowing what you're looking for, and seeing if this person can fulfill this role in your life.

  • High risk, High return - You can't win if you don't play. There are some extremely great people in the world who are just like you. Your job is to find each other. Tying in with trusting yourself, if something feels right, take the risk and go for it. One of two things happen: you find someone you can trust or you find someone you can't trust. Either you're wrong or you're right back where you started.

  • Communicate - Trust is a two-sided thing. Your fears, doubts, insecurities — share them with the right people. If they're worth being in your life, they will understand and find ways to compensate and ease your doubts. If they don't, they're not worth it.

  • Don't fear failure - Everything seems amazing in the moment. Friendships and relationships especially seem vital when you're part of them, but once you step out you see where the mistakes were. Don't fear failure. Out of the 7 billion people on this planet, you've barely met 1%. Fail, move on, and find new people. There are always new people. The internet allows us to be everywhere with anyone. Find people whether they're across the country, across the sea, or across the planet.

Trust takes time to build. The idea of trusting someone will always seem scary. You can either live as a hermit or live carefully. Take control of your life by understanding the people you allow in it, the conversations you partake in, the power you give people, and the decisions you make daily. Everyone is an individual; treat them that way.

Trust is a plant that needs nourishment to build for some people. Find the right people to be your sun and rain.