Trust

For many years I grappled with the concept of trust. How do I trust myself, my decisions, my outlook on life, my perceived reality? How do I trust others? These questions loom over me constantly. I recently started unpacking my trust journey. I am acknowledging the defense mechanisms I have set up around myself that hinders my ability to trust. The protector part of me that stands in front of me, guides me, through discerning judgements, critical analysis of people and situations and feeds me a constant stream of negative fear. I have become aware of the importance of trust; it is a fundamental steppingstone for development and growth. And most importantly for true forgiveness.

Trust by definition is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. I have always been suspicious of anything that is too reliable or true. I am cynical of everyone. My trust was non-existent. If I can’t control it, it cannot be trusted. The protector in me kept me from trusting, so I controlled and judged. I craved for a better way of being and showing up in the world. I had to unpack trust. 

I know that humans are fallible and need space to make error. I didn’t allow anyone space to be human in my life. It just hurt too much. I am unforgiving because I don’t trust. How many times have I finalized and cut off a relationship simply out of fear, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment and fear of the unknown. Trust is love. I think I needed to learn that the trust I gave to myself was the love I gave to myself, and that was enough to expand outwards. Forgiveness and love are bred from trust. There was a lot of forgiving I needed to give to myself first.

I believe the walls we build around our hearts is the trust we are unable to extend to the world. Fear, painful events in our lives and chronic stress dampen trust over time. Trust is simply a leap of faith to try again and again despite the hurt we face over and over again. There is no real escape from the heartbreak we all ultimately face, and will continue to face, simply because humans are complex and fallible creatures. We are all capable of inflicting serious pain and when we decide to be distrustful, the suffering only multiplies. 

Over the years, I have built layers of judgement of myself and others that festered into cynicism and a negative outlook. I have internalized a lot of pain and practiced years of self-sabotage. Along with not trusting anyone I also did not trust myself. I didn’t trust that I was able to show up in the world in a positive way. That my life was important, that I am able to contribute in a meaningful way, that I had permission to fill space in the world. Today, I see how important trust is in creating the world that connects me with the rest of my community. To practice the life I truly want, I need trust whole heartedly and release any expectations. Despite what shows up in my life, I want to choose trust every day. As I embrace trust, the protector part of me settles down, becomes more still and walks by me, not in front of me, watching carefully, and no longer getting in the way of what is the potential of a beautiful and meaningful life. With trust I am able to form new relationships, new ways of being, seeing and living. 

Trust. 

Taking things personally

Emotional intelligence is learned over time.

When I started my self care journey, I started noticing some character traits about myself that I haven’t paid attention to before, like being a very serious person. Taking things personally at every turn. I felt like everything was an attack on me.

So I explored this further by asking myself why my life was so self-centric. I realized I wasn’t really of service to anyone or the community. I was just for me only for me. Until about the age of 24 my ego was enormous. Alcohol inflated it. Many of my relationships, prior to quitting drinking were very one sided, and superficial. I didn’t allow true vulnerability to get in the way of my fun. The lack of honesty with myself and compassion for other people did not contribute to any healthy relationships. So I had scarce relationships even less healthy ones at that. This made me defensive about the way I treated people and the way people treated me. I really didn’t know why I was taking things personally, but it was definitely due to a lack of self awareness.

I wanted to change, so I joined a non-profit that provides local art platforms for underprivileged youth. I met a wonderful woman who herself has faced adversity in her own life, overcame these challenges and started a non-profit to give back to the community she was able to heal her own past at the same time. It was a beautiful cycle of reciprocity. I knew then that this was my way of stepping out of my head and allowed myself to be of service and dropped the ego. It was hard for me to see how self interested I was until I started volunteering. Even today I sometimes need a reality check and sit in gratitude rather than throw myself a pity party.

With volunteering I started stepping out of my defensive mode and became more aware of the vulnerability of myself by allowing others to show me their stories. I listened, I related and understood that with listening and not imposing myself on the world I opened up a space in me for other people. I became less judgemental, I took things less personally. I became less heavy and less serious.

If you think you need an ego check or feel like you take things too personally, try volunteering or being of service to someone for a day. To help and service the community allowed me to listen with no judgment and helped me to listen through an open vessel that I didn’t tap into before. Sometimes we all need to do something for each other unconditionally and in turn this helps us do for ourselves without judgement and criticism. I think this is a win-win situation.