To be trusted, be trustworthy
As an introduction to a series it doesn’t get much easier than this; Trust is our confidence in someone’s honesty/authenticity (and our own when it boils down to it).
So if we wanna be trusted, we’ve gotta be trustworthy…
Be honest, don’t lie. Be yourself, don’t hide. Be open, not a question mark. Be accountable, don’t blame. Be consistent, not a contradiction. Be real, don’t pretend. Live by your integrity, not some version of you written for you by fear (others).
If we do not show up as us, in all our rawest of forms, we make it difficult, almost impossible for others to see us, hear us and know us. Which is required for trust.
Some people will see the real us beneath our traumas, behind our masks and beyond our guards. They will make a choice to support us, to love us and trust us. They will, through their own experience, sense of self and love be able to trust in who we really are, to empathise and understand the shit we carry that prevents our true self being present on the surface of our lives.
But that’s them. We cannot use their version of being human to excuse or justify us not being accountable for showing up or owning ours. We own it for us, but also so others don’t have to suffer carrying the burden of (our) shit that isn’t theirs to carry. Trust, respect, support, love, effort…our relationships are about sharing in our authentic selves, being partners, equals.
So communicate. Show. Act. Be vulnerable. Live your truth to the best of your abilities. Those who matter will see, they will accept, they will trust, they will respect and they will love.
And those who don’t? Fuck em’. In the nicest possible way. That isn’t a justification to go around being a dick, avoiding accountability for yourself or holding others to account. It’s a call to arms to step up for your self-worth. To be assertive in your authenticity regardless of how it’s received – without returning peoples shittyness with more of the same.
Because that’s not you…is it?
What is it to be ‘trustworthy’? We either are or we’re not right? Seems simple, but traumas lens plays it part in muddying the waters.
So how do you know if you’re operating and expressing yourself in a trustworthy way as you go about life? I guess the basic principles of it come down to being open minded and open hearted – honest, authentic, accountable and compassionate as human beings. Our consistency in aligning to these values supports our overall trustworthiness which allows people to know us.
But what about when we unintentionally cause harm without understanding how or why we have? It happens, people are wild and varied. Which can be challenging if trauma throws up the guard of ‘it’s them, not me’ (which it sometimes is). We don’t always need to understand how, but we do need to listen and let the humility of our conscience respect that we did (cause harm).
That’s a fundamental part of trustworthiness; being open enough to listen, empathise and be accountable shows that we can be trusted with someone else’s feels, that we value and consider them (and us) equally.
If our fixed belief is ‘I’m always right’ we instead reject other peoples point of view and feelings, essentially telling them that we do not value or respect them, invalidating their worth and experience of being human. Which is quite an untrustworthy and emotionally abusive picture we’d be painting.
Despite our experience, how we feel and what we perceive to know, we must be open, respectful and compassionate if we want to form meaningful connections, if we want to have healthy relationships and feel a sense of belonging above and beyond our own island.
Am I authentic, open and honest? Am I accountable for my own thoughts, words and actions? Am I listening to understand? Am I reasonable, considerate and kind? Am I honest with myself? – just a few question Monsters check-in with themselves on.
The last one is unavoidable, we can’t lie to or manipulate ourselves. As much as trauma tries (and can succeed) there’s always that voice deep down calling us out on our shit.
That’s the intuition we all need to listen to and act upon.
Trust is unconscious, it just is, we don’t notice, talk about or feel it…until something happens and we realise it’s no longer there. Suddenly we become hyper-aware; this thing we barely knew existed is now the most important thing in the world, we want it back, our life (seemingly) depends on it.
Which highlights the intangibility of trust, that it isn’t something felt, it is something that simple is or isn’t.
Much like truth, it’s absolute, rock solid but equally fragile as fuck depending on the lens. It becomes fragile the day we ‘feel’ it’s fracture. When we find cause to question other people, things…ourselves. And so trust is also personal. It’s all about us or rather our ego.
We often trust without thought nor choice, that’s why we don’t notice it. It just happens. We notice when we don’t trust something or someone, which can impact everything, potentially altering our perception for years to come. Because trust is that important. When those we care about break it we can develop a fear of all manner of things, even our own minds, long after the fact of when trust was broken.
That’s the truth about trust. ‘After the fact’ is when we’re reminded it is about thought and choice. Ours.
Broken trust in one moment of our life can put our entire future in jeopardy if we do not accept and heal the moment in which it was ‘taken from us’. Accepting that the context of that moment is so unique, so far removed from everything else in our life (inc. us), we shift our perspective.
“Do not carry the hurt from the past into your future” is a longstanding Monster Mantra. It ain’t rocket science, it simply means being conscious of our hurt, knowing how it affects us, how it could stuff things up in our future and giving it the time and attention it needs so we don’t carry it with us, don’t risk ruining something new that comes our way.
Because new has nothing to do with it.
We always face challenges, but they become easier, second nature even, when we adopt an accountable approach to living and owning our shit. Allowing ourselves time to properly process and heal before we get into anything new – where trust is a necessity.
In its departure, the absence of trust can feel like the end of the world (oh how dramatic our ego can be).
It isn’t of course, but it is the end of something. That can be a relationship, the last time we go there or do that, it can be the end of our faith in humanity, people, love, compassion…even in our heart and mind. Or, we can choose to make it the end of a chapter in our lives.
In letting go and moving on you recognise the symbiotic relationship between trust and self-worth.
Trusts absence can and often does destroy from within, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can heal trust, let go, fix it, glue it back together…with a secure, assertive, forgiving self. In-between or (if all involved have the capacity and will) within our relationships…even with those who dragged trust through the quagmire in the first place.
First and foremost we’re accountable for self and should be active in our pursuit of healing and owning our shit so we don’t carry hurt with us into new relationships, burdening other people with the distrust and damaged self-worth of our past. If we don’t accept this as our responsibility we will inevitably create scenarios where trust comes into question time and again both for us and the newbies opposite.
When trust is broken, it isn’t the end of the world, it may well be the best thing in the world…to head for the door…but if we choose to stick around and give people a chance, trust can be healed within relationships. It can be rebuilt and made stronger than before. It’s self-worth that gives us that strength.
But it takes two to make a thing go right. If the other party is not accountable, there is no chance of rebuilding trust
Trust is versatile, stay or go, it doesn’t matter. It’s always there at the edge of your worth.
Trust is important. When it’s abused by someone (which inevitably happens in life) we have two options: fix it with them or let go and move on without them.
Both are a choice, requiring commitment and an honest chat with self; ‘Can I (or do I want to) give my trust back to said someone?’. If the answers no we find ourselves moving swiftly on relatively unscathed. If it’s yes we’re aware and prepared for the challenges ahead.
If however the abuse of trust was traumatic in nature, we can end up stuck in the realm of its fragile underbelly. A self-harming trip into shutting up shop, guards, alters and cognitive dissonance between us and our emotions…in order to feel ‘safe’. The deeper we entrench the more traumas voice becomes the voice of reason we trust above our own.
This can change us, creating untruths with our self, other humans, the world…binding our hearts capacity to show up, heal, grow, love and trust.
As we give a now inauthentic impression of self to the world, we can project, harm, push away and fall further into the abyss of loneliness and heartache. This trauma driven extreme makes seeing and choosing differently a challenge that can sadly evade.
Recognising traumas presence and the ways in which it alters our thoughts, feelings and actions under the guise of ‘protecting us’ is how we separate it from us and rediscover the trust we need in self and life around us to genuinely know and feel safe in who we are.
Without trust in our heart and mind we question, think, assume, fear and doubt way too much, seeing ourselves and others through traumas lens rather than reality’s.
Truth is, with or without trauma, when we trust in something it has very little to do with them/it and everything to do with us. Peoples energy, their lies, betrayals, abuse…no matter the shitty things people do, we can, if we choose to, trust regardless. See the good in someone. Trust in self, in our instincts. Trust that our ability to witness a decent human being beneath traumas shit is a reflection of the love, empathy and compassion we ourselves carry inside, and it’s that which actually matters…
Trust in self. In our light.
So, you or someone you love has fucked up; can-open, the worms of the human heart bloodied and everywhere.
Trust broken. The end of the world looms.
Once we get beyond the stage of living the wounds, once the anger and resentment for the person who broke our trust soothes, we find ourselves letting go and moving on. Calm, fun and smiles creep back in. Trust becomes this unconscious thing we barley notice again, something that just is. When we notice that shift we feel relieved, content…pride too, that self has returned and we had the strength to overcome and rediscover love and respect for ourselves (and others). Faith restores.
If you’re the breaker of trust and are accountable you’ll go beyond the stage of shame for what you did, accepting the fuck up and expressing the remorse and accountability that’s due, bypassing egos fragility by acting on guilt to put things right. Shit gets better, self-hate and feeling like a c*nt for the harm caused eases. You find respect, humility and gratitude for those harmed and for self, simply by doing the right thing and owning your shit. For having values and standing by them. For expressing the love you have both for self and the person who’s trust was broken.
That’s how it can go.
But it takes two. If someone chooses blame, avoidance, denial and unaccountability, it will go differently; separation or worse – entry into a toxic wasteland of repeat hurt.
Lies can be undone with the truth, fuck-ups accepted when not repeated. Disrespect can be understood with empathy and education. Betrayal can be forgiven with remorse. Any hurt can be healed with commitment to growth and change. Trust can rebuild.
Be accountable. Acknowledge the harm caused. Regret it. Discuss it. Agree terms for trusts revival, the foundations on which it can rebuild and commit to that wholeheartedly. Do not take peoples trust for granted. Do not act like no wrong doing occurred, that someone’s heart isn’t on the floor and you played no part in why.
Trust wouldn’t break if that were true.
Trust is intrinsic to our existence, something we require from other people, something other people require from us, and something we require with ourselves.
Trust is something we need to feel ‘safe’ to be us.
But trust, like everything we humans have created in our wisdom is a label, a concept, a societal construct with which we attribute so much. Without trust in relationships (of any kind) they’re inauthentic at best, becoming toxic and falling apart at worst. Without trust in ourselves, our own minds, the same thing happens.
In that sense we should always consider our inner narrative a relationship, one with ourselves. One as important, if not more so, than any other relationship we share with another human being, including those we love most.
That all important relationship requires trust like any other. Trust in our intuition, in our thoughts, values and intent, in who we are. When trust evades us in our relationship with self, doubt creeps in, along with uncertainty, devaluation, disrespect, a lack of belief, empathy and love. In the same way it does in our external relationships.
Those external relationships will only ever be as good as the one we have with ourselves. Which is quite a humbling thought, especially considering how common things like self-doubt are in day to day life.
Our mind can go to the extremity of ignoring the lack of trust we have in self to the point we can feel crippled by it. In losing self, our identity and reality become a mish-mash of masks and coping mechanisms, making it that much harder for us (or anyone else for that matter) to know and trust who we are amongst the varying degrees and faces of our protective alter egos.
Without trust in self there is no authenticity and can be no ownership of self, no trust in the world around us and those in it. Without living authentically we will forever be harming self (and others) for the sake of ‘protection’ – a fight that keeps us victims and prevents our ability to grow. That fight (when you dig deep enough) is the absence of trust, the very thing we need to feel safe.
To feel safe we’ve gotta unmask and get to know and trust ourselves. Before we do anything else.
Losing trust in self is the harshest mind-fuck Monsters have experienced.
Seems odd that this can happen, but it does. Whether through traumatic events or consistent exposure to trauma. Life opens us up to losing our mind, identity, belief system, values, sense of worth, our thoughts, feelings and perceptions of self and the world around us.
Trust can be ripped from us in an instant with a knife to our soul or slowly but surely with a blunt spoon to our mind. Neither pretty experiences, neither anything other than a violation of our very existence. Whether the hand on the tool is intentional or not, it is what it is.
In losing trust in self, it feels like we lose everything. We can get to a point where in our personal abyss we consider the unimaginable; ‘What’s the point…?’
This end of the line experience emphasises the importance of trusting self, above all, no matter what. It reminds us that whilst we’re not alone, whilst there are influences outside of our remit impacting and pushing us in one direction, we are the masters of our own lives and can make a choice to go a different way. Monsters will never go back there, this kind of ‘end of the line’ is not an option for them, but they empathise with how easily it could be.
We have options; stay and fight, depart knowing we did our best, run kicking and hollering to escape, reaching out for support from friends, family, strangers, professionals…whoever.
That choice HAS to be for us, by us. For our wellbeing, soul, happiness and ability to live an authentic life, to trust that we know what that is, that we know what’s best for us.
That trust is knowing self and our limits, seeing them as a springboard for growth rather than a restraint in capability, knowing what to accept and what not to, when to walk and when to stay. Which direction to go that best supports our safety, growth and value equally, void of regret, blame or resentment, only with accountability, acceptance, compassion and empathy at the core of our choices.
We’re to trust in what’s best in any given moment. And move assertively, armed with love and respect.
What do we all need? A sense of safety and belonging? That means being able trust and be trusted right?
‘Trust’ is this intangible yet intrinsic thing we humans have as part of everything we pin our existence on. It’s there, at the root of our conscious and unconscious reasoning.
“I need you to trust me” Said the Monster in front of the guard of trauma.
“I need to be able to trust you” Said the Monster from behind the guard of trauma.
Two perspectives of the same thing; Both Monsters want to be trusted and both need to be able to trust the other. The contract we have with trust is paradoxical, we often require trust from another before we give them ours. But there’s a flip side to this, some of us trust freely until we’re given a reason not to, and then we take that trust away because it’s been abused (ripped from us like a pip from a grape).
An open mind and heart approach to life is a Monsters default, whether with trust, love, values, feels…whilst that works for Monsters, it’s not without hazard, hazards that understandably put others off. Understandable because they used to put Monsters off too. But those hazards became an acceptable part of living, because they’re accepting of the inevitability of the world around them, for better or worse. They’ve experienced both, and have fought long and hard to not allow either (especially trauma) to diminish or change them.
To Monsters, an authentic life is what matters. It sprouts the best that life has to offer; peace of mind, contentment, comfort in a Monsters own skin, happiness, real-shit. So they strive to live as close to the bone of being themselves as they can.
Trust is fundamental to that. But it’s not what you think. It’s not blindly trusting others. It’s trusting themselves, their intuition and integrity, knowing that any trust (or love) they give will be abused by some, and if it were to be, they would deal with it in a way that fits their values.
Remaining unflappable in their approach to life. Which they believe wholeheartedly to be the best way to go about it (for them).
So what have Monsters learned about trust?
That it can be fragile (like we didn’t know already). That trust in self and others is something we’re accountable for nurturing, giving and healing if it’s been broken (no matter how). That we can forgive, rebuild, let go and move on by being accountable. That its fragility is connected to ego and trauma, rather than our true self. That this is what holds us back, prevents trust from healing and us from living.
We’ve accepted the inevitability of other humans and our unburdening of the shit storms they bring. We accept those who cross boundaries, smear or diminish our worth, violate our existence with their words, actions and treatment of us, but not the trauma that guides them. We’ve learned that it doesn’t matter, that what’s outside our control is none of our concern, nothing for us to beat ourselves up over, tear ourselves down or change for in order to accommodate.
We’ve learned that we’re accountable for who, what and why we trust, for how we think, feel, see and do. That passing on the pain of our past is on us, not those with whom we meet and love us afterwards. That we are strong and more than capable of living a life that’s authentic to us. One that’s loving, trusting, respectful and kind to ourselves and other people. And that that is in fact all that matters.
We’ve accepted that trust, love and safety exist within us, that it always has, and always will.
Because life is uncertain. Life is out of our control. There is no formula for living and feeling safe in doing so. There are only moments as we wrestle with oncoming death. Death therefore is another relationship we need to hold in high regard. A relationship for us to give respect, acceptance…and above all trust to.
Trust, that one day, it will undeniably come to us.
That acceptance helps us have a healthy relationship with death, with ourselves and others. It allows us to make the most of life, the best of ourselves and everything we do until that day arrives and our vows are fulfilled.
Our vow to be the best Monster we can be, despite what we wade through in living.