I'm a very trusting person. (Of everyone else, that is. Not of myself.)
I can meet someone and instantaneously trust them. And I do. All the time. And for the most part, I've been lucky, meeting good, decent people who are worthy of my trust. But it seems like it's getting to a point where I trust other people more than I trust myself.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as people have come and gone in my life. People who I have trusted as if, in some way, they have the answers that I don't. And if I trust these people, or follow their advice, or live my life in a way that they would approve of, then they're in charge, and I'm no longer responsible for whatever shortcomings I have in life. As if they know the route better, and I can relax and just enjoy the ride.
But what's funny is when I do that, I end up somewhere other than where I wanted to be.
This kind of trust, this belief that other people know what's right for me, what my inner truth is, is in fact, a huge betrayal of myself. It's almost as if I'm saying, "Hey Kate, your plans and your wants must suck, because look at all these other people, who know how you should be living your life differently --they clearly have the inside scoop!"
Athol Fugard wrote a beautiful monologue in The Road to Mecca, (which someone may or may not have auditioned with when she was acting) and it closes with this: "You know what the really big word is, Helen? I had it all wrong. I suppose like most people I used to think it was Love. Thats a big word all right, and quite an event when it comes along. But there's an even bigger word. Trust. And more dangerous. Because that's when you drop your defenses, lay yourself wide open, and if you've made a mistake, you're in big, big trouble. And it hurts like hell." It speaks to me mostly because I've been there before, trusting someone to take care of me, to be responsible for me, and in the end, letting me down simply because that's not their job.
I am so not a religious person, but the Rev. Kim K. Crawford Harvie has written an AMAZING sermon on trust. She says, "The more highly developed our trust yourself voice, the better prepared we are to trust the world, or to trust it again. The strength of our capacity to trust ourselves is the reserve on which we draw when the world betrays us. And the capacity to trust ourselves is the bedrock of our trustworthiness to others."
But what about the areas in which we know we're untrustworthy? Is the answer then to only listen to parts of yourself? To listen to those voices that you respect? Or to hear the other voices, but not let them drive? I want to live a life I'm proud of, and make decisions for myself that not only do those close to me respect, but that, more importantly, I can trust.
"In our inner world, we can cultivate a sanctuary of courage and strength. It is from within that sanctuary that we cast our lot with the world, whatever hand the world deals us. The trick here, though -- and it's a good one --is not to harden our hearts, not to make of our sanctuary an armored vehicle, or a prison," says Harvie.
And I think I can get on board with that -- finding a way to curb, but not destroy the voice coming from the needier and more desperate sides of myself. Be careful, be selective about what I listen to, what I believe and what I trust about myself. Make more choices to be strong, to opt for the clearest future I can make for myself.
I won't be my best self until I make the choice(s) to become her.
Rev. Crawford Harvie also refers to Rumi (which is actually how I found her in the first place), and the poem below really speaks to me right now, to not selling myself short, and to finding out how to trust the woman I want to become.
There is a life-force within your soul.
Seek that life.
There is a gem in the mountain of your body.
Seek that mine.
O traveler, if you are in search of That
Don't look outside.
Look inside yourself .