You know how it is: you have one too many dodgy experiences of trusting someone when you shouldn’t have, or of feeling like you have to pick the broken pieces of you and your life up off the floor, that you decide to take some time out to work on you and figure out how to trust again. You get to a better place and are thinking about dating again or forging new friendships, but you’re now hyper-aware and hyper-vigilant, looking for assclown wolves in sheep’s clothing around every corner. You feel as if you know more about you; you feel like you understand the concept of boundaries and know what your boundaries are as well as your needs and values, but you’re scared of fluffing it.
It’s almost as if you expect you to get it right first time when actually, trust and judgement are developed and honed through experience.
Let me assure you that I haven’t learned what I have by not making my fair share of mistakes and errors in judgement! This is hard-earned experience that I had to go through to unlearn some of the things I thought I ‘had’ to be and do to get through life. I’m not afraid of making an error in judgement because if I do, yeah it’s a bit of a pain in the bum but I can only learn out of it. Over time, these instances have shrunk dramatically.
Every relationship experience, every experience where the outcome was not as I would have liked or I’ve felt like I trusted too much, I’ve learned something about me that’s helped me further down the line.
As I said last week in my post about the slow fade and people disappearing if you’re not going to ‘put out’ when they want, it’s as if people have become so ‘tight’ (stingy) with time, energy and effort, that it’s in short supply for getting to know someone.
I see the same thing happening with trust – sometimes it seems easier to distrust both you and others than to have a basic level of trust and use your eyes, ears, and brain to judge the situation or yes, them. This leads to being hyper-vigilant and it’s going in with a skeptical attitude because the one thing you’re not doing is going in with an open mind.
It’s like saying that being street smart, having basic courtesy and knowing about the dangers of walking into oncoming traffic, or going down dark alleyways or walking through a dodgy area at night, is there to keep you in the house and remove all of your fun. Being hyper-vigilant and not wanting to trust and use your judgement by learning through trial and error, is like saying “I’d rather know nothing of the dangers or what to be aware of, and just hope that people do the right thing. I don’t want to be responsible for me and have to learn and experience”.
Operate on a Debit and Credit Trust System and you will have very little to worry about because you know that should you be faced with something that you need to address, that you’ll handle it. You need to address your own relationship with you first because I’m yet to come across anybody who distrusts themselves, that’s able to healthily trust others. They either trust blindly and do the equivalent of handing themselves over lock and key to a stranger and jumping into a pool of sharks or, they struggle to trust and don’t seem to be able to differentiate between fear and knowledge or internal fear VS external fear.
Learning how to trust others and use your judgement also means that you need to clear out all of the blame you’ve been taking on, because when you tend to engage in the It’s All About Me and One False Move mentalities, you tend to gauge a situation and find a way to make you at fault for it. This makes it very difficult to trust because you’re hardly going to want to add more problems to your ever increasing list of crimes you haven’t actually committed.
Get clear on your boundaries, know your values and your needs and be committed to living your life in a way that reflects the person that you say that you are. This gives you a healthy baseline of trust that you enter into each situation with – think 70%.
It means that you can go out and enjoy your life and deal with something when it happens as opposed to waiting for something to happen and being ready to strike.
Are you waiting to be screwed over? This ‘waiting’ communicates distrust and will be reflected in your actions and mentality and it’ll all just end up in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Really, we can all afford to operate with a basic level of trust and judge a situation or a person based on merit instead of having Dynasty levels of drama in our minds about what isn’t happening or trying to anticipate what shadiness may happen next, which is actually pretty damn exhausting.
From when you meet a person on day zero, they begin to unfold. Anything you think they are initially is an impression, not who they are, because who someone is, is based on experience of them. They’ll either live up to or even exceed this impression… or miss it. That’s nothing to be afraid of because dating or just getting to know any person, is a discovery phase that irrespective of the outcome, it’s an experience that can enrich or help you in some way. As long as you’re not expecting to instantly know someone or to ‘know’ them without actually truly knowing them, or claiming to ‘know’ them based on superficial BS, what you will be expecting is that it will take time before you’re going to get to know someone so you won’t have unrealistic expectations or be surprised by information that was always there but ignored. If you trust you to do your due diligence and not live in la-la land, anything that does come your way, you’ll handle it. Believe you.
Updated 4th November: The audio version of this post is now available on Soundcloud.