A recent series of events over the past week got me pondering about the real meaning of trust. Trust within relationships and trust between friends. Just what does trust actually mean?
In my life, I have been on both the receiving and giving ends of broken trust. I have experienced first hand the pain of having my vulnerability and openess being shattered at the hands of someone I loved, and also witnessed the devastation, messiness, and tearful trail of events as consequence of my own uncharitable and thoughtless acts.
Those among us who have suffered the bitterness of betrayal will know just how psychologically damaging and how hard it can be to recover from such an incident. Particularly when the trust that is broken is that of those we love and care about the most. It’s almost as if a previously perfect world of what we thought we knew about them comes crashing down and no longer exists.
So often we view the people closest to us with much respect, admiration, and love. For some, we may even do anything for them and imagine it’d be the same in return. Until trust is broken. And we are left picking up the broken pieces in an attempt to piece back together what we thought we had. It makes us want to retreat into a shell and never come out again. Never to love or be kind again. For fear of being hurt.
In some cases when the stakes are high it can even be life altering and change us entirely at our very core. From being very trusting and wearing our hearts on our sleeves, to closing ourselves off to real kindness, and any future opportunity for love. We develop an irrational fear of commitment and getting close to people, which hinders our very ability to give of ourselves to another. And this cycle of fear ends up hurting others in the process. Because the truth is, hurt people will continue to hurt people, until they rediscover what it means to be loved again.
Thanks to my journey over the past year I have come to a deeper awareness of myself and my own frailties. I have also reached a better understanding of the brokeness of humanity that exists in every one of us. Because to be human is to be imperfect. I have also come to learn from painful experience that nothing in this world that is created is capable of our complete trust, which is reserved purely for our perfect creator.
Part of growing up is learning to move from a fundamental need to please others, and maintaining a false sense of peace at all costs, towards authenticity that allows us to make life giving choices. Moving from choices that are made out of fear and self-preservation to ones that are more thoughtful and selfless, a more genuine version of ourselves that can only begin when we embrace our imperfect selves.
Because sparing a thought for others only truly happens when we spare a thought for ourselves, and we become unafraid to speak the truth. Truth not just for the sake of it, but moved by grace and filled with compassion, with faith that all things will be well without us trying to seek control of outcomes that are beyond us.
And so it is with trust. For real trust only exists when we attain a greater understanding of ourselves and our failures. From which the imperfections and brokeness of others are no longer frowned upon, but instead handled with love, and seen as opportunities to attain deeper understanding. For out of understanding comes compassion, and out of compassion, love.