Friday, December 7, 2012

It's time I trusted

My whole life I've had issues with trusting others. As far back as I can remember, I've been raised to only put faith in a few people: immediate family members, best friends and maybe authority figures like teachers. When it comes to anyone else, don't trust them. They have ulterior motives.

At least, this is how the paranoid me was taught to deal with the world from an early age. It's resulted in a unique and terrible sense of neuroses whenever I'm faced with the choice of being ultra-careful or happily carefree. While I strive for the latter, I get caught up in the former due to force of habit.

Thinking on my hesitance when dealing with people I don't necessarily trust, it's a wonder that I ever made any friends as a younger person. In elementary school I'd cower away if anyone wanted to borrow something of mine out of fear that I would never get it back. It wasn't an unreasonable thing to fret about, but letting the anxiety keep you from being a Good Samaritan is certainly nothing to be proud of.

In a brief aside I'd like to mention how annoying I always found it when my classmates would ask to "borrow' a piece of paper when they clearly meant to ask whether they could have a piece of paper. Borrowing implies there will be a return, but I don't want the paper once you've scribbled inane notes all over it.

Anyway, I digress. The real topic at hand here isn't the semantics of asking for favors - though humankind might benefit from that sort of knowledge. What I'd like to discuss is the issue of putting too little faith in people that mean a lot to you. For years I thought this was okay, a fact of life even, but the truth is that love and compassion go along with honesty and trust. If you lose one piece of the equation, the resulting relationships simply don't stand up.

In truth, my inability to let people watch my purse when I used the toilet or borrow my belongings for fear of never seeing them again, is actually warranted. People, unless they are very conscious about how they treat the belongings of other, tend to be careless and reckless with what isn't theirs. Since they didn't expend the effort and the cost for something, it becomes of secondary importance to the immediate issue. I admit to being both a victim and a perpetrator in this situation.

Which is why over the years I've developed a healthy fear of giving anyone access to anything that is valuable to me. I travel with padlocks and create passwords for a lot of my electronic belongings. I travel with my most important things so that they don't disappear at the hands of a checked bag.

Neuroses is my middle name by some measure, and most of the time that's okay with me.

But I'm starting to think that in the way of trust, there's careful and then there's too careful. I've, as of late, been a bit too careful.

After all, it's one thing to choose to keep your belongings safe by strapping them to your body no matter what activity you're engaged in. It's different, however, to put your trust into someone who holds your emotions and well-being in the balance.

Loss of material possessions is one thing, but the idea of being faced with heartbreak or cruelty worries me infinitely more. Which is why the fear of sharing has translated into my daily life. While I do talk incessantly about my life's events with my dad, when it comes to others usually shielding the truth feels easier than being confrontational or even just honest.

I tried to ignore the problems with this way of life until recently when I started to become involved with (in friendship and dating) people whom I wanted to share things with. We possessed an open bond with each other, without the fear of judgment or being "sold out" in some way. Yet for some reason I never could feel quite comfortable with just up and speaking my mind.

Now, though, I feel that this way of life - this furtive, secretive method of holding back - needs to stop at some point. I've always known the value of communication in relationships, and it's finally time to take that theoretical trust and apply it to real life situations when it matters.

It's a hard path to follow, though, especially because conscious attempts to become more forthright go along with feelings of inadequacy and anxiety over judgment. But the idea of sharing is that it occurs between people who can be trusted and vice versa. And for once in my life, I do feel like I'm surrounded by individuals whom I can trust.

It makes me want to open up the world to them. Not just them, actually, but the whole of humanity despite the risk. It's one thing to protect your purse or other valuables. It's another to pursue love between people, then hinder it with the inability to share your feelings.

From now on, though the resolution may never stand, I will try to be more thorough and truthful about my life's perspectives. I can only hope that what I feel in my heart will be translated and not misconstrued. Either way, I know how I feel. I feel ready to spill my guts in a way that I'd always been too shy to do before. I apologize in advance if you become a sounding board now that I've resolved to do differently, but despite everything I thank you and so many others for making it easy on me to share or not to share. The true test not only of friendship but of the self is the ability to transfer faith onto others. Without that we become self-absorbed monsters.

And that's not me or anyone I know, luckily. So it's time I trusted. And I will be doing so. Starting now.

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