It’s been a funny thing for me, this trust thing. Funny, ironic, not funny, HAHA, because I have always “trusted” people. Or at least I thought I did. What I really did was trust who I thought the person was, or more accurately, who I wanted them to be.
There is a story of a woman who was walking in the woods and she found a snake that was dying. The woman took pity on the poor animal, and brought into her home, and nursed it back to health. One day as the woman was reaching out her hand to feed the snake, it bit the woman and injected poison into her. As the woman lay dying, she said “Why would you bite me after all I have done for you?” The animal replied “Why are you surprised? You knew I was a snake when you brought me into your home. I was just being who I am.”
When you watch the Disney animated movie of The Jungle Book, the scene between Mowgli the man cub and Kaa the snake shows exactly how we can be tricked into trusting something or someone that we know is not right.
Many years ago, I saw Maya Angelou on Oprah talking about trust. It had a huge impact on me, but, as is my habit, I only remembered the part of the quote that suited my purpose, and forgot the part that she emphasized, “the first time”. I will often discount what a person has done that proves who they are, because then I would have to admit that I was wrong about them, or because it meant that I would have to give up on something that I wanted to be true.
My friend Sharon Joseph wrote this article about trust. It first appeared on her blog a few years ago, just as I was dealing with people who were not being “trustworthy”. The wisdom in that post helped me to get through some difficult times, and I know that it is no coincidence that she reposted that very article to her blog this past week, as I have been feeling called to write about this topic. I encourage you to read it for yourself.
I have been called naïve for being so trusting, and my response has always been that I want to live in a world where I believe in the goodness of others. I still want that to be true. I don’t want to become cynical or jaded, but as I learn more about trust I realize that the very act of accepting someone as they show themselves to be gives me the freedom to choose how much of that I will accept in my life.
What I continue to find challenging is that I put so much more trust in other people than I do in myself. I will give them the benefit of the doubt, but don’t give myself credit for the strength or abilities that I have. Or on the other hand, I get angry at them for being who they are and not for who I wanted them to be. It is my choice, and responsibility to let it go, and I will…trust me.