Trust. The most common platitude is to say trust is something which must be earned.
Of course. It is like laying your heart in a person's hands. You don’t do that with just anyone.
I have made many mistakes trusting my heart with people who have subsequently, betrayed me. Not just once. But many many many times. I don't hate myself for it. I feel sad for every misstep. I feel compassion for the place in my heart that went directly there, directly back there and found myself hurt again. I cannot promise myself it won't happen again. No one is a guarantee. We all make mistakes and even the best of us have our worst moments.
When we first enter relationship with another, we do not know what our will is going to be with that person. What does god have in store for us? What will the alchemy be? How will the karma run its course? The only thing we can know and be responsible for is what gets triggered within ourselves and learn how to navigate those waters. And hopefully, figure out how to successfully not hurt the person standing before us.
The irony of being of a yogin is that you see and experience all kinds of people cross your path, literally and figuratively cross your truest, deepest, intimate and most personal path. And if committed to the path, you are asked to work very hard to tolerate intolerance, accept those who judge and criticize, have compassion for those who do not have compassion, make space for those who are insensitive and blatantly selfish. And it goes on and on like this. The work is endless. So when I find myself white- knuckling the dental chair, and my dentist has to remind me to breathe, I get to have a good laugh at myself and herein lies one of many ironies.
It was demonstrated beautifully (and comically) on the "Helsinki" episode of VEEP when Amy asked the VP "Are you Okay, Ma'am?" And her response was, "Ah, No. Would it be so hard for people not to be assholes?"
The work is endless.
It can be an act of FAITH. To lay your heart in another’s hands. "I ask you to hold my heart with care."
But it is also an act of compassion. And ultimately, after much learning, it can be held in a balanced way as an act of WISDOM. Not the vigilant response of “I will never trust you again based on all of the ways you have hurt me in the past and have now informed how I should NOT trust you,” but a slow evolution of having learned from the past and re-learning how to trust based on healing, if healing can occur or if you are blessed to have experienced a healing.
I could spend a lot of time on this last piece, but that is for another day. Because healing takes the time that it takes. For today, I wish to be hopeful and believe that if two people come to one another with full and utter honesty, then I believe that without any veil of hiding, trust can be rebuilt.
I have hope.
Trust is also a test of character.
Stepping into unfamiliar or what may feel like emotionally unsafe terrain, and navigating yourself in such a way that you know how to take your seat, so much so that it can be unwavering no matter what is thrown at you.
No matter how grossly inaccurate a description may come at you with no need to argue or defend or clarify because you know yourself and can stand there without feeling even remotely knocked over, is what I know about trusting oneself.
Once that is there, the ugliest reflections can be tossed your way, and there is simply no reactivity. You simply know it is coming from another place. You can look at the reflection and recognize, even take ownership of the shadows which you inhabit or inhabit you. But you know a larger truth. That you aren’t in those words. Words coming from a stuck place which reside inside of another. Who you know yourself to be is inviolate.
Again, back to the yogin: accepting and making room to love and know that some people need to lash out, that some people need to judge before they can settle. Some people simply may never be comfortable with the whole of you no matter how much all you do is unpretentiously, unwaveringly and straightforwardly try to love them the best way you know how.
Some of us are so eager to want to change another person in order to fit them into our lives (because that would just be more comfortable). But what we really need to do is to hear each other. And listening takes tremendous courage. It often means cleaning up past hurts. In my opinion, we tend to not trust each other based on the past experiences which have informed us of who the other is and how we think that person may behave again.
Hurt leaves scars. Healing takes real intention and repeated showing up to allow those scars to fade.
So in my opinion, without the help of a skilled coach or a professional, it is a true act of faith and wisdom, a testimony to love, compassion and hope, a test of character, and a true sign if you can achieve it, of sheer and utter surrender, of laying your heart wide open to risk again.
To trust is a risk. To risk is to risk failure. But to close yourself off to what is in your heart is one of the greatest risks of all.