Sunday, May 3, 2009
I am assuring you that I am watching out for you. I'm making sure you are safe because I am watching what's behind you when you're busy looking ahead.
"I've got your back." It's an expression of trust.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about trust. Meditating, watching, learning. Essentially, you will trust me because you have experienced my trustworthiness and because you have faith in human nature, and I will trust you similarly. But trust is tricky because it is both an emotional and logical act.
I also "feel" trust. When I identify emotions of companionship, friendship, agreement, relaxation, and comfort, I feel trust.
Emotionally, it is where I expose my vulnerabilities to people, but believe they will not take advantage of my openness. And logically, it is where I have assessed the probabilities of gain and loss, and concluded that the person (or group) in question will behave in a predictable manner.
So trust means being able to "predict" what other people will do in the situations that may occur. If we can surround ourselves with people we trust, then we can create a fertile present and an even better future. But sometimes trust means making an exchange and commitment when we don't have full knowledge about them, their intent, and the things they are offering to us. That's when I rely on those feelings. Only if they are present, may I proceed.
In trust, something is given now but the return is paid back some time in the future. Feeling trust now becomes particularly important, because otherwise we are giving something for nothing. The delay we have placed in the reciprocal arrangement adds a high level of uncertainty which we need to mitigate through trust. And as long as the feelings of companionship, friendship, agreement, relaxation, and comfort flow, I can feel safe in my relationship.
When we trust other people, we are not only giving them something in hope of getting something else back in the future, we are also exposing ourselves in a way that they can take advantage of our vulnerabilities. So trusting is enabling other people to take advantage of you—but expecting that they won't.
I don't need to watch my back around those I trust. But I do need to trust you to watch out for me when I'm focused forward, forging ahead, blazing the trail for both of us. And you need to trust me not to change direction without telling you I've lost the compass. You don't expect me to change the rules of our relationship. You don't expect me to take advantage of your generous nature, or your willingness to wait for reciprocity. You don't expect to feel abandonment, conflict, suspicion, alert, or discomfort.
So think about trust, meditate on how it works, and carefully, consciously build it. Feel for companionship, friendship, agreement, relaxation, and comfort. Let others know you've got their back. If you do, people will give you the world. But know as well, that if you betray trust, sooner or later you will be haunted to the ends of the earth by the ghosts of your conscience. Trust is a sacred bond.
May you be blessed.