Saturday, March 29, 2014


Trust, that's a tricky one isn't it. Babies are born with absolute trust that their needs will be met. So at what age do we learn not to trust? No doubt it varies depending on life experiences, but at some point along the way we all learn the hard lesson that trust can be misplaced.

People betray our trust in them, it's a simple fact of life that it will happen to us all at least once. Sometimes it's an extremely painful lesson, sometimes nothing more than injured pride. So what do we do - trust nobody so that we do not get hurt again? That's an option, it used to be my only option for many years. However I eventually learned that not trusting anybody means not letting anybody close to you - sure you don't get hurt but you also don't get to feel strong emotions and that means you miss out on joy.

So the choice is a life without pain, but also a kind of vanilla life in a world packed full of flavours. No pain, but no intensity of emotion, no close friendships, no rollercoaster ride that comes with letting people close to you. Of course some people prefer the more sedate ferris wheel to the roller coaster and that is perfectly fine. Everyone is different.

But for me, I found that letting people - some people, ok a very few people - close to me has enriched my life in ways I didn't expect. (I should clarify here that letting people close, to me at any rate, means trusting them.) Mainly because I had no experience in letting people close so had no way of knowing what to expect. Most of the time I feel like the world has become drenched with colours instead of being sepia toned. I like it, I feel alive and it's a good feeling.

Of course when I am in that hole that I still sometimes fall into, the colours are darker and more dangerous, but then when I get myself out, I am in the bright shining light and it's far more preferable to me than my previous life of merely existing and observing the rest of the world.

So have I found the people I have let close to me to be trustworthy, am I going to say to you all go on, trust in your instincts, it'll be great! Well no, this is life, not a sitcom. I have made a few mistakes, I have trusted people I should not have trusted. Most recently it was a woman I mistakenly believed was a friend. I found out that she was not, she was in fact simply using my friendship in a deceitful and underhand way. That burned, but it only burned my pride. I felt a bit silly afterwards, and angry for a while. But I had no real emotional connection so it was pretty easy to chalk it up to experience and walk away with a lesson learned.

For me, giving trust is difficult, I found that the lessons learned by trust betrayed are ones learned deeply. I spent  - as I said - most of my life keeping everyone in my life at arms length. When I finally learned to break down the wall I had built around myself, and let people in, it was really very scary. It still is, sometimes.

When I was a child my trust was betrayed in a very fundamental way, and that caused deep emotional scarring. Hence the massive wall I build around myself. Breaking down that wall was hard. It was like I had to break down myself, and then rebuild myself. And facing the world without my internal protection was very frightening. I didn't look any different, but I felt so exposed. It took a very long period of adjustment, but I think I am almost there.

Still, I backslide sometimes, I have kneejerk reactions, I fall into depressions and I over-react. I know I do, but knowing and stopping oneself is of course not the same thing. I try, I learn, I hope I am making progress. I am a little like a child I think sometimes. Because I didn't let anyone close, for most of my life I didn't have major emotional crisis', at least none that I really recognised. That is because not only did I not let other people close to me, I also didn't let myself close to me. I didn't know my own emotions because I pushed them away as soon as I felt them. But I found out the hard way that emotions are still there even if you don't recognise them, and eventually continual denial leads to a breakdown. So now, I have not only opened my emotions and my trust to other people, I have also come to recognise my own emotions.

So I've been on a pretty steep learning curve the past few years. I have become a person completely different to who I used to be. I am I think a better version of me than I was, and I will I am sure be better again in the future. I think part of the meaning of life is to strive each day to be a better version of you than you were yesterday. It's not always going to happen like that of course and when that happens, when you want to throw yourself on the ground and have a huge tantrum followed by a pity party, remember we are all human and be the first to forgive yourself :)

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