Trusting people can be really hard, especially when it comes to relationships (platonic and romantic). Past experiences may make it harder for potential future relationships, and seeing toxic relationships around us or breakdowns on social media can make this even more difficult. Opening and revealing yourself is truly challenging, as you question if your partner or someone will really like you for you, with all the flaws and unique things that shape who you are. Will they love you?
When I was younger, I didn’t trust people to genuinely love me. I only allowed people to see what I was comfortable with, and I kept them at a distance. But as I got older, I learned that when you share and open up your life to others, then the right people will come into your life. The thing about it, though, is that there is no guarantee that you won’t get hurt. People are messy and we need to leave room for them to make mistakes. Which leads me to my point: in order for you to be able to trust in love again … you need to be able to have kindness for yourself and to trust yourself.
I know, it’s easier said than done. What does it look like to trust yourself? I think it’s knowing your value and your values. If you don’t know who you are, you’ll constantly be rolling around the waves of doubt, opinions, and so on. When you know who you are (and we’re constantly growing and evolving), and acknowledge your strengths, weaknesses, and limitations, then you’re better able to recognize others, and see them in that same light. You have to receive the gift of grace for yourself, in order to give it. You can’t pour from an empty vessel.
For me, this required a leap of faith as I left my comfort zone and opened up. This helped me construct a better view of myself and other people. I developed bonds of trust as I invited people into my life, allowing them to see the highs and the lows. And it wasn’t one-sided; I also had to learn to be a good friend to them as well.
It isn’t an easy thing to do. It may be something that you may need to fight for, because our feelings can make us doubt our decision to trust and cause us to push people away. It’s a good thing to guard your heart, but don’t let fear rule your life. I think that we will always have things that are our main insecurities, we’ll always be wary of them, and that’s okay. We’ll have our good days and our bad, but place the truth of your worth over your immediate feelings. Communicate. Leave margin for people’s faults, but don’t put up with abuse, verbal or physical, and know what your true deal breakers are.
I think it’s important to know what love is, and while we can feel love, love is also an action. People are messy, and that’s why relationships are messy, and why sometimes love looks skewed or gets a bad rap. But love is patient, kind, humble, celebrating others blessings, forgiving, encouraging and cheering for the best of a person.
So do be wise in who you share with, and how much you share, and let the trust build. You don’t have to jump off a cliff and try to take flight; try a walk up the stairs. Don’t put people in boxes and think for them. Let them show you who they are. Embrace vulnerability. Don’t let the past define your future.
Written By: Desiree Salamasina Washington