Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Balancing trust

"No wonder a lot of girls grow up not trusting men!" A sentence from a post by another blogger. In bold, no less. As if this is a bad thing.

I grew up trusting men. My dad was an attentive father, driving me two hours to SF every night for a show - after driving 1 hour home from San Jose to Santa Cruz to come get me. Every night for three months. And things like that all the time. My dad uprooted our family from the Bay Area to L.A. so that I could attend the High School for the Arts. My dad comforted me when I lost the part of my dreams, and gave me standing ovations at every opportunity. My dad is a great man.

My trouble was, I thought they were all like that.

Oh, sure, I knew there were a few bad men, but my instinct when I was younger was to trust until proven differently. Innocent 'til proven guilty.

While I agree with that presumption when it comes to our legal system, it should not be a basis for relationships.

By the time I knew who X was, it was too late. I was in love. And I believed that love would conquer all. And I was oh so wrong.

Still, I'm not talking just about trusting men here. I've also been hurt by trusting friends (mostly female) that stabbed me in the back. I've been hurt in other jobs where the carrot was dangled and dangled and never came through.

My faith in our legal system was shattered when the OJ verdict came in. President Clinton broke my heart. Kobe Bryant broke my heart. The CA voters broke my heart.

Having said all that, I remain a humanist. Nothing has bettered our world more than compassionate individuals. Slavery did end, apartheid was abolished, we beat the Nazis (finally), we have gone to the moon, made pyramids, bridges, trains, airplanes, and found comfort in a loved one's embrace.

I have the most amazing friends, the strongest support system, the greatest laughs.

All that I have right now, all that I cherish, is not because of a lack of trust, it comes from an earned trust.

When I first started here at my job, I didn't open up to anyone about what was going on in my life. It wasn't until I'd seen how wonderful these people are that I let them in.

I no longer trust blindly. Nor do I expect anyone to blindly trust me.

I have been hurt by opening myself up here. I have had words written about me, to me, attacking me for what I feel, what I think, what I write. I accept that responsibility. And every word of encouragement that I get back is deeply appreciated.

Clearly, to do what I do here, takes a leap of faith that most of the people who read actually care about what I have to say. And they do. It's apparent in the thoughtful comments, emails, and friendships I've made.

Still, it's been a 2-way street. I am welcome to read your thoughts, your feelings, your words, and through that, come to know and care about you. It is not a blind trust that we put in each other.

My daughters are better off learning early that love is not always enough. As hard as that's been for them, they remain loving and compassionate. And as hard as it's been for me, I feel more confident that when they are older, they will not trust all men. They will keep an open mind, but they will require an earned trust before they open their heart. They will not fall in love, but they will love and be loved in return.

So I'm okay with it if they grow up not trusting men (or women) blindly. Trust should be earned. And when it is, there's a freedom in loving to the fullest extent of the heart.


Tara R. said...

That's it exactly... 'trust should be earned.'

Anonymous said...

Trust until proven otherwise is also how I grew up. Sounds good in theory, but in the real world, not so much. I think my kids trust, but a bit less than I did. And given the world we live in, that's probably a good thing. For girls and boys.


bernthis said...

I was an open book for years and years. Took me a very long time to not be sooooo open. I had my trust shattered too many times and yes, now you must earn it but if you piss on it, don't come back b/c i will be gone

MindyMom said...

I've always been one to trust blindly - until I got burned by that one too many times.

I've learned now not to be as open as is my nature to be and to trust my instincts. The only person you CAN completely trust is yourself.

Trust with others is most defintely earned - as it should be.

Cat said...

I'm like MindyMom- I was trusting for a long time. Now I've found that I'm better off just trusting people who've proven themselves, and being suspicious of everyone else.

Sorry I'm behind on commenting... I had a week from hell so I'm playing catchup!

Unknown said...

Great post! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Happy Friday!

Anonymous said...

Trust. My brother and father are both wonderful men, but I thought that I needed to trust a strong man, that strength of mind would somehow equate with strong morals. It took a long time to unlearn that lesson. I guess the best thing we can do for ourselves and our daughters if for them to learn that each person must earn their trust.

By the way, I have stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance in class. I get up, as I need to, but to recite those words seems wrong. For a long time I left out the "in God we trust" because to me that's wrong. Now, now the whole pledge seems wrong--too blind faithy, too trusting.

Shiona said...

You are so right. I have been an open book too but I'm learning. Trust should be earned. I don't want J to be totally paranoid like his dad but I don't want him to be totally trusting either. I hope he can learn from my mistakes and we have a happy medium as far as that goes.