Friday, 16 November 2012

Trust 3 - An Inviolable Sense of Self

I changed my mind about what to do next due to a very good comment on the Facebook thread I mentioned in Trust 1.  It reminded me of an often neglected area of trust - an inviolable sense of self.

It's very very hard to hold on to your sense of self in this life.  Unless you're extremely lucky to have been raised by supportive parents, have always had 100% genuine friends, and have met only positive, supportive, people.

Let's say that you haven't had this luck.  Let's say that you've had a normal life path and stumbled through a number of painful relationship realities that have broken your trust and made you feel that you can't trust anyone ever again.

An affair might have convinced you that you're middle aged, fat and frumpy, or not good in bed.  A friend may have betrayed you, a colleague may have stabbed you in the back in order to get the promotion you were both up for, a boy/girlfriend might have left you after telling you that it's all your fault.  In fact your life path might be one of betrayal after betrayal and who can blame you for losing trust  Certainly not me.

Your problem is your sense of self.  You have allowed the actions of others to wobble your belief in who you are.

This DOES NOT mean that it's your fault, far from it.  What it does mean is that you were never taught to look at yourself and decide who you are and how you feel about it.  You were never taught to look at your strengths and appreciate them, because of course that's big-headed and arrogant isn't it.

I'm going to give you an exercise that someone gave me when I first put my feet on the Spiritual path and believe me I sympathise, it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

I want you to make a list of everything good about yourself

Yes you CAN do this and yes there ARE good things about you.  You must do this because you've got to become realistic about who you are.  I'll guarantee that you know your faults but I want you to become acquainted with your strengths and good points.

I want you to do this so that you start to focus on why you deserve decent treatment.  More importantly why you have the right to decent treatment.

Then I want you to think about some of the bad treatment you've received in the past, go back over it in your mind and ask yourself this important question:

What do I think of the person who treated me that way?

Do you like those people?  Do you admire their behaviour?  Realistically you will have been involved in the situation but do you admire the way you were treated?  Would you like to treat anyone that way?

I'm asking these questions so that you get into your true emotional understanding that these people who hurt you were not nice people, or they were nice people who did not behave well under the circumstances.

Realism is the most important factor in learning to trust again.  My first marriage broke up in a wave of anguish that is still a tiny bit unbelievable to me 20 years later.  I won't go into it but I was betrayed not by my ex husband but but everyone else around me.  I held a party for 50 people in the December, I could have invited 100 but we didn't have room.  By July of the following year I knew 5 of those people.  

I was involved of course, but I am 100% comfortable in my own mind that I did not deserve the treatment I received.  That is because I trust who I am and I trust my ability to judge situations fairly.  I'm not perfect, I'm not always right, I don't always know what to do or how to do it, I make mistakes, but at the end of the day I do trust me completely.

And that's what makes me confident enough to trust again, and again, and again.

Connect that idea in your mind to the concept that everyone is human, and you will see why you need to:

Heal the past in your mind.
Understand your part in situations, but that you were only a part of it.
Think clearly about whether you respect the other people involved...
Or feel that their behaviour was unacceptable.
Be real about who you are and that you are NOT always wrong or to blame.
Get to know yourself.
Learn to respect yourself.

And never EVER let anyone affect your self respect again.

That way trusting people will never again be frightening.

I'm not saying what's coming next this time because I think I've just changed my mind anyway.

Deb :-)

Trust 2 - Emotions and Communiation

Having tried to identify what trust is and who it is we're trying to trust 100% of the time for all reasons, no matter what (human beings).  Let's look at the tricky little number that trust affects and that is our emotions.

You've got them and you know that they're difficult things to deal with.  Sometimes you know exactly what you feel about everything and at other times you haven't got a clue what you want or need.

You also know that sometimes you feel that other people should understand what you're going through and yet one of two truths are in play:

You don't know what you feel.
You haven't told the people around you how you feel.
You haven't told them what you need.
You don't know what you need.

The problem is it is very difficult to go into a new relationship, whip out your generic trust agreement and make people sign it in blood on pain of death if they break it.  You know what it's like with written agreements, first you have to actually read them, then you file them, then you have to remember where you put them, and anyway, subtly...oh so reworded them to suit your needs and understanding even while you were nodding politely.

The same goes for verbal communication, you'll say anything to get someone's clothes off, get a new job, etc., but in your mind you're reworking your understanding to suit what you know you're going to do.  "I will definitely love you and only you forever unless someone taller/with a larger bust comes along." can't set up a Draft Heads of Agreement for trust within a relationship.  You may not always know what you need and what you feel, therefore the people around you might get it wrong.

PLUS a few problems...

Other peoples' needs and emotions are not the same as yours.
Other people's ethics are not the same as yours.
Some people are natural empaths and some are naturally dense and unaware.
Some communicate clearly and well, others can't speak their needs at all.
You can surprise yourself so you can certainly surprise others.
You have changed and grown as a human being and so have they (mostly).
In other words...

It goes back to this whole human being issue again.

So, what can you do?

You can set relationship standards for yourself and be that person.
You can ask clearly for what you need.
You can say clearly that what's happening does not work for you.
AND most importantly

You have a right to have standards by which you would like to be treated, but you must be prepared to also deliver those standards.

You must communicate with people around you and tell them what you need, what isn't working and how you feel.  You must listen to them and understand where they are coming from.  Be prepared to discuss but be wary of too much compromise if you're the one constantly backing down something is definitely wrong.

You must also be aware of what is going on, realistic as to whether the relationship is working for you and if you aren't prepared to walk away then you must take responsibility for staying and putting up with it.  It can be incredibly difficult to move on sometimes but people have escaped from the most difficult and damaging of situations and you can too.

If a relationship has demoralised you to the point that you feel like a horrible person who deserved it all:

Go quiet and don't create difficult situations.
Find help (medical and complementary).
Build up your inner strength.
If you need to diet.
Exercise, it raises the endorphins that make you feel generally better.
(seek advice from your GP if you have any medical conditions or concerns regarding fitness)
Get your hair cut into a nice style or learn to style it or put it up so that it looks good.
If you can afford to update your wardrobe.
Then when you're feeling stronger and better all round...

Walk quietly away with the minimum fuss and the maximum speed.  Not easy to do in difficult relationships with partners or families but if you ask around you will find support from people who have managed to extricate themselves from toxic relationships and if they can do it you can.

However, the bottom line here regarding trust is:

You set the standards.
You observe realistically.
You communicate.
You take action depending on how things go.

It is all about you.

Next "Trust, the Bottom Line"


Trust 1 - The Basics

I asked a question on Facebook the other day about what people really need help with and Trust came up as a big issue.  I started writing about it and I can confirm that it IS a BIG issue.  So I'm breaking it down into bite-sized chunks.

Let's start by thinking about what trust is.  You may disagree with me or be able to take this thought further but the best I could come up with when I really went into the feeling is:

Trust is what I hope for in all relationships.  
It means that I will never be hurt by anyone.  
It means that people will always mean what they say and do what they say.  
It means that they will always know what I need and deliver it.

I'm sincerely glad that I don't have to ask for what I've defined above as it felt completely unrealistic even as I wrote it.   Because...

We are all human.  
All humans make mistakes.
The greater percentage of human beings mean well.
Most humans mean what they say until they realise that they can't do it.
Most humans mean what they say until they realise that it had a different meaning for you.
Most humans try to be nice by saying yes but sometimes they really meant no.
Relationships have ups and downs.
A lifetime is a long time to love one person.
People change.
Feelings change.
Hopes and dreams change.
Forever is a long time to be perfect.
Nobody is in your life to serve your purpose, not even your children.
Stress affects all relationships.

That children comment is a tough one, but at the end of the day everyone is an individual even the child you gave birth to/sired, and nobody is born to make your life ok, to be perfect around you or for you.  No one, not even you.  You can't say the words "I'm only human!" without remembering that so is everyone else.

Even you don't get things right for yourself all the time.  You make wrong decisions.  You say you'll do something and you don't really want to so you find a way out that fools no one.  You have changed since you were born, maybe more than once, and you will do so again.  If you're honest do you love him/her the same way you did when you met?  Were you really surprised when it broke up or deep-down did you know?

Right, it's a start.  If this makes any sense to you or you can rethink it to make sense you will immediately see that we have high expectations of ourselves and other humans.  

Perhaps the best start with dealing with trust issues is to realise that no one is perfect isn't a cliche it's the truth.

More later