Many people would encourage you to trust, especially in the self help and spiritual community, but is trusting always a beneficial choice to make? It depends on whether the person has proven to be trustworthy or not. Blind trust is dangerous and ignorant. We can be open and curious about the trustworthiness of people and our own without being sceptical and doubtful. This is to be grounded in reality without a painful negative worldview. Reality doesn’t always feel good, but being in touch with reality is the safest and surest way to create lasting positive change, including self trust and trust in relationships.
To trust is to be able to rely on someone or something to capitalise on your best interests. So for someone to be trustworthy, they need to take our best interests as PART of their own, to consider and take care of our best interests. In practical terms, that means understanding our perspective, empathising with us, being present with us emotionally, validating our emotions, clear and direct communication, being consistent and responsible with their words and actions and promises (integrity) etc.
Some common behaviours that ALWAYS damages trust: shame deflection, choosing irresponsibility/blame unconsciously, being avoidant (for example, ghosting), not keeping promises, not acting/living according to one’s values (lack of integrity), emotional invalidation, being absent emotionally or both emotionally and physically (lack of commitment), ambiguous communication which creates anxiety and pressure in the other person etc.
To be genuinely trustworthy, a person needs to have a high degree of self awareness and responsibility of one’s own thoughts, emotions, words and actions. They need to own themselves, meaning to own whatever they think, feel, say and do, to own their choices in life conscious or not.
When a person doesn’t own their choices, they often blame others for violating their own boundaries. A person who doesn’t own their choices also doesn’t own their boundaries. They are not responsible for themselves, their boundaries. They abandon themselves, feel the self-abandonment and self-violation of their own boundaries, and WITHOUT the awareness of themselves doing this to themselves, blame the emotions onto the other person they are interacting with. And of course, the other person will feel like ‘there’s something wrong’ with the person blaming because they are not forcing the person to do anything they don’t want to, so the person invalidates the person blaming. This is the start of a nasty fight or a relationship failure.
The solution to this destructive cycle is to commit to the practice of self awareness, integration and responsibility. Self awareness, integration and responsibility go hand in hand. A person who is self aware, naturally becomes responsible for themselves, and responsibility is ownership, and ownership is a state of inclusion, and so causes a person to integrate their internal fragmented selves (or ‘parts’).
Why is self awareness, integration and responsibility so difficult to practise? The answer is extreme resistance and intolerance of emotions, especially the emotion of shame which is a byproduct of a thought process. Shame is the mechanism of consciousness and personality fragmentation. It is to push ourselves away internally. And the thoughts associated with this internal separation process are various forms of ‘I am bad’. Being wrong, being unwanted, being shameful etc. are all associated with badness.
Human beings are a social group species and incredibly relationally dependant both as an infant and as an adult. If an infant or a child is perceived as bad by the social group they belong with, especially their caregivers, they’ll lose connection with them, which means they will lose the resources their lives depend upon, which means death. This scenario was common back in the cave days and until recent human history, so our human biology is hardwired for being perceived as good to be part of the social group to guarantee survival.
Being a bad person whether it’s being perceived as bad by ourselves or other people, therefore, triggers our fight or flight response, the shame mechanism and the emotion of shame which most of us have a hard time tolerating and being present with. It’s difficult for most people to fully feel the emotion of shame; we can’t allow and surrender, we resist and fight the emotion for dear life.
The first step in practising self awareness, integration and responsibility is to practise being present with feelings and emotions. Unconditional presence for yourself, from yourself. If it feels better, you can also include a friend or therapist or practitioner to be unconditionally present with you and whatever arises. During the process of being unconditionally present with ourselves, not only we are being present with and observing our feelings, emotions and physical body, we are also being present with and observing our mind.
Feelings and emotions are indicators of our personal truths and boundaries. They reflect what thoughts we are thinking. They are physical sensations with meanings, the integration of and the bridge between thought and matter. They are the compass of our life. A person out of touch with their feelings and emotions is lost in an inauthentic life they don’t truly want.
For many people living on earth today, their feelings and emotions are fragmented. The sensation aspect and the mental (meaning, guidance & boundary) aspect are fragmented because of traumatic socialisation process that is so prevalent in human society today, especially when the parents are very narcissistic demanding children to meet their needs and wants and expectations without any consideration of how children feel and what they want.
It is painful to be untrustworthy. Betraying others is actually a reflection of one’s own self betrayal because people in our lives are mirrors of our internal fragments. Being untrustworthy is to be separate from ourselves and others, and separation is the root of suffering. Failed relationships with others are mirroring our failed relationships with ourselves. We need to live with ourselves for the totality of our life on earth. It needs to be a conscious choice for us to be truly committed to trust, to self awareness, to integration and responsibility. Trust, and love, needs to be a choice we make with our free will. In trust and love, we are free.
(The feature image of this article is a frequency painting of Trust by Teal Swan)