I’ve been dealing with a serious injury last couple of days and it’s been such a blessing of clarity.
It helped me articulate for the first time something that I’ve known for many years but have never been able to piece together before in such a way.
You probably know that people who are suspicious and distrustful cannot be trusted. If you don’t know it, you will have to discover it and rediscover it the hard way. And It’s usually not because they’re plotting against you or planning to harm you.
Those facts have been obvious to me from a very young age.
In my 20s, I worked hard to cultivate trust within myself – so as not to be one of those people.
I was never perfect, but it helped me build tremendous personal strength. I don’t think I would have made it this far in life without that effort.
When I was about 30, I realized something else. Distrustful people can’t handle trust because of some personal weakness of Character.
That weakness may not be about literal strength or smarts or skills. It could be a personal trauma or essential need buried so deeply that it remains completely unconscious.
They may never be able to tell you the real, fundamental reason to distrust you even if they wanted to.
It takes a lot of effort – and often pain – to be willing to dig that deep and keep going until you get to the crux. It’s usually more than one thing, but there’s always a single one that steals the day.
About that time, I also figured out what that crux was for me personally: being disrespected.
Not in the sense of someone spitting in your face or saying a bad word about you.
Not in the sense of getting a bad reputation.
Not in the sense of someone ignoring your requests or anything like that.
I’d got over those things, seeing them as childish. They could be unpleasant but they didn’t have to be a big deal.
I felt disrespected in a crucial way when people who knew me well – family, close friends, coworkers, teachers – didn’t trust me to handle what they throw my way in the best way possible.
Not in a perfect way. Just with my best effort, without any negativity.
If you’ve been paying attention, you already see a cycle here. Others’ distrust fed mine.
And if I couldn’t just eat it and do my best anyway, trustingly, you’d get another vicious circle of distrust on top of that one – only validating the distrust I received, and feeding into more.
The options were simple: eat the pain or get more pain.
Something else was clear as well –
I could get more pain even if I ate it all: hook, line and sinker. No guarantees.
OK, what do?
The choice was simple: do it anyway.
Every time I ate my Character flaw in a big way, I made a major breakthrough in my life. I refused to fear people disrespecting me, and to respond likewise if they actually did.
But frequently I didn’t know how. I knew I’d eaten it, but I didn’t connect the dots on how I managed to accomplish that.
To trust means to take a risk and accept the consequences (not to believe any fact or any person). When we trust, we choose to act in a particular way, taking responsibility.
When I trust myself, I don’t believe what I’m thinking or emoting. In fact, it requires accepting the opposite – that I may well be wrong.
Trusting yourself, making the decision and eating the pain isn’t about skills or confidence.
We have to make decisions in conditions of such tremendous uncertainty that we may not even appreciate half of it. We operate out of a glass darkly. We may get the wrong idea. We may have the wrong information even when we do have “the information”. We may do the wrong thing even if we do have “the skills” and good judgement.
Confidence is merely lack of doubt. Confidence is not a thing in itself. We “have confidence” when we’re free of doubt. Trust is something more than that.
I’ve said those things many times before.
Today I realized something potentially new to me.
Trust in oneself is about self-acceptance.
We can’t find the strength to trust ourselves when there is some part of us that we are rejecting – refusing to acknowledge, and to act through with good judgement.
What is broken already is vulnerable to falling apart.
The pit into which people fall is within.
If you don’t have trust in yourself, you will fail to have trust at the moments when it most matters.
In the end, it comes to one thing.
You have to accept WHATEVER IT TAKES.
That’s when you know you trust yourself (and you can engender trust – although you don’t have to).
To act with trust in ourselves we must accept:
- Uncertainty – we could always be wrong, and we could always get more pain, even if we exercise good judgement.
- Decision – we must decide on a course of action regardless, and act on it.
- WHATEVER IT TAKES.
What means WHATEVER IT TAKES?
I have a why to live for, Integral to my Character, and I will do whatever it takes to do that thing and be that person – my best self.
Accept that very personal act of Creation.
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Have trust in yourself,
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