Sometimes I feel more like an island.
And I’m very tempted to gather my rope around me and just go about this whole life thing by myself. After all, who better to carry my rope than myself, right?
This is the point in my thoughts where I usually take a deep breath because unfortunately, no man is an island. So I know that these occasional feelings are quite unrealistic. For the most part, they remain just that – feelings.
I’ve recently come to see that I have a strange relationship with trust. On the one hand, I tend to trust people implicitly. I give them the benefit of the doubt because I believe that no one out there is seriously plotting some major scheme against me. But on the other hand, I find it extremely difficult to trust and believe that the value that I place on people is the same value they place on me; for instance, that they will sacrifice their “life” for me the way I would do for them. It’s almost like I trust but at the same time I don’t trust. Yes, I know, it is a strange contradiction. I know it.
I have been spending some time trying to figure out and understand how I got myself into this predicament and so far I have uncovered two things;
Number one is that I lack a strong sense of self-worth. Surprise – surprise. Even I was shocked to find that about myself! But I must emphasise here that I’m not talking about self-esteem. There is a difference. A big one. Self-esteem is how you view yourself while self-worth is the value you place on yourself. It’s a simple explanation but understanding the difference and how the two are linked is crucial to avoiding so many relationship problems. And exploring how these two aspects are linked and affect one another is something that each of us has to do individually.
My self-worth has never been truly developed or defined. A strong self-worth is one that knows its place in relation to life and other human beings. A strong self-worth knows exactly where its worth comes from. This is a part of me that I neglected out of ignorance, partly thinking and believing that my worth came from what I could give to others.
Number two is that I really didn’t understand what trust was – what it meant and what it entailed. And this is something I’m only beginning to grasp. My trusting but then not trusting is actually a self-preservation thing, a kind of defensive mechanism. If I got hurt by someone, then I could seemingly claim that they didn’t really love me as much because you see, they didn’t love me to the same extent or with the same passion I loved them. I do realise now that there are some childhood scars I carry concerning this, particularly to do with friendships but that’s another story for another day.
Trust requires letting go – letting go of that one thing that you hold so close and ever so protectively…your heart. This is why your self-worth is important. Because if you knew what your self-worth is and where it comes from, you wouldn’t be afraid to let go.
Trust is letting people love you the way they can and knowing that you are safe and secure within that love. This you can only do if your heart is full. You cannot go to a person with an empty heart and ask them to fill it for you. That never works well. Actually, it never works, period. Fill your heart with what you can and let others give what you lack or simply allow them to add to what you already have.
Trust requires that we deal with our expectations of others, their expectations of us and our own expectations of ourselves. And this demands that we come out in the open and bring our stuff onto the table. It means talking about our hearts – the good and the ugly parts. It means talking about our fears, needs, emotions, hurts, likes, dislikes, shame, guilt, and everything in between.
Trust involves risk and the possibility of getting hurt over and over and over again. But it also involves the possibility to have a more fulfilling life.
The birthplace of trust is in understanding our value as individuals and being secure in that value in a way that allows us to open ourselves up to receive what other people are offering us in their own unique way.
Trust requires work. It requires vulnerability. It requires belief. It requires faith.
Like I said, unfortunately, man is not an island and we can’t go about this life alone. We need people and other people need us. And there comes a point in our lives when we have to trust somebody else with our rope – whatever that rope may be for you – for me, it is my heart.