It seems like the word “trust” has been floating around a lot lately; in yoga class, on tv, in everyday conversations, and in psychology journals. No matter where it appears, it’s mentioned in the context that it’s something we need to evolve to both at the individual and societal level.
My two questions are: Why is it something to grow into when it’s a trait we were born with? How did we get this way?
What is trust? It’s nothing more than a self-determined belief system that we govern and set the rules for in evaluating people, places, and things.
As babies we let people take care of us. Our survival was based on trust. In the course of our cognitive abilities developing, we started keeping an inventory of what happens when we give our love, money, time, affection, personal space, compassion, empathy, and attention away. And because people, places and things fell short of some sort of assumption we had, or we were hurt physically or emotionally, we began to establish rules to stabilize our level of expectation.
We started locking away trust by constructing a complex vault around it with a bunch of laws and regulations. It’s only when the exact combination of traits, conditions, and moods appears that we open ourselves up to believing, to trusting.
But isn’t trust infinite? Someone, please define exactly how much do we really have? (I really did look this up and no scientist has studied the capacity of trust.)
Yet we nickel-and-dime it, acting like spiritual cheapskates, hoarding every little bit we have, strictly rationing it out as if it were a rare commodity; equivocally no matter how big or small the level of trust needs to be.
But why? When our basic needs for livelihood are secure, why can’t we relax and be more generous with the peripheral realms of trust like personal space, time, and financial ideals?
Take what you need and leave the rest.
Because it’s these little trinkets of trust-tension that accumulate into bigger, longer lasting feelings of stress as we run around like rigid skeptics when our:
- Personal space is cut off in traffic or in a public space and someone is uncomfortably close. We feel these strangers are intruding, or trespassing, on what’s rightfully ours.
- Time is stolen by someone jumping ahead of us in line or is going too slow and not getting us what we need fast enough.
- Financial ideals are violated because we believe we should all pay the same amount for all goods and services. When someone gets a lower price than what we did, we feel like we were gypped.
Can’t we open ourselves up a little more and trust in the elusive “maybe?” In a similar way, I alluded to this before in a prior post as “what if.” Why do we need concrete specifics before us in order to believe? Why do we need people to explain themselves and show proof of their circumstances?
Don’t we believe in the humanity in everyone anymore? In ourselves?
Maybe that person standing uncomfortably close is lonely and even being near a stranger helps them feel better.
Maybe that person who just jumped the line did so because they’re distracted by sudden, tragic news and the need to get home.
Maybe that person who got a lower price is almost broke and they can’t afford to pay more.
What’s the harm in believing in the maybe? Really…nothing more than the consequence of judgement from either ourselves, or others, by defining this intention as foolish, brainless, idiotic, unwise, reckless, etc.
Actually, I find myself feeling that stupid v-word that we all shirk away from – vulnerable! That’s what we’re really protecting ourselves from.
But we have plenty of trust to give. We have a surplus. We can trust in the small ways or be spiritual cheapskates…