Sunday, May 12, 2013

Trust

The other day I was running home from work: my ongoing attempt to combat adult onset diabetes. In my first four or five months in Palau I gained 25 pounds. And not the good kind of 25 pounds, whatever that is. I did the math and found out that if I kept gaining weight at that speed indefinitely, I would weigh over 1,000 pounds by the time I turned 40.

I was in pretty good shape last October. And then BAM. Rice. Fried foods. Ice cream. Laziness. ALL at the same time. For five months.

I tried to stop but every day the couch and ice cream were so friendly to me and were always like, "Eli, come hang out with us! We understand you!" And, well, I can't just say no to hospitality.

I knew things were bad by January because my pants were no longer buttoning up and I had to start letting my shirt hang over them so others couldn't see that they were open throughout the work day. But then one day I happened upon a scale and I weighed myself. And it was scary.

Guys, I know. I live on a tropical island in perpetual summer. I should have the body of an island god by now. Don't you think I know that? DON'T YOU THINK I EXPECTED THAT TO HAPPEN WITHOUT EFFORT WHEN I MOVED TO THE EQUATOR?!

Well, when I got to Palau it turned out to be a lot hotter than I expected. And every time I went outside to exercise, I just sort of found myself laying on the beach, eating, for 12 hours.

SO SUE ME.

When I weighed myself, I knew that the Twice Up The Barrel Tour to the U.S. was only about six weeks away, and I suddenly panicked. I could deal with the fact that my friends would see my expedited trip through gluttony, but I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to fit into any of my suits that were hanging out at Bob and Cathie's house.

That's when I started the Great Rice Embargo of 2013 and I started running home from work every day in the heat. By the time I got to the U.S. I had lost about 15 of those pounds and then by the end of my two weeks in Salt Lake City, I lost the other ten due to not eating because of stress and emotional turmoil.

AND I LOVE THE NEW ME!

Anyway, I decided I should keep up the running thing. So as I was running the other day, someone came sprinting right behind me. When I heard his steps grow louder, I immediately assumed that he was going to try to kill me and throw my massacred body into the ocean. When he passed without so much as a hello, I had to laugh at myself.

Paranoia? Probably. I've been been accused of such a few times in my life.

But it got me thinking about the topic of trust, which I've thought an awful lot about over the past few months. My inclination to assume evil and abnormal motives of a stranger, when all signs of his presence pointed to innocuousness and normality, said something about my trust of him. Specifically, that I didn't trust him. And that my distrust of him was the baseline I put him at when I found out he existed. In other words, he had to earn my trust rather than lose it.

And that's fine, really, on most levels. It's ok to not implicitly trust all strangers everywhere. Although it is hard to live in a community-centered society without trusting some strangers on some level.

But I wondered about what has happened with my ability to trust the people in my life who are not as . . . strangerish as the people I've never met.

I've had some bad experiences recently with trust. Without going into too much detail, I was lied to repeatedly by someone that I never would have expected to have lied. By a few people, actually, but the actions of one of these people were damaging to me and affected my life and my life choices on a practical level. The others were just hurtful and frustrating.

Fortunately I became aware of the truth before it was too late, assuming that it could have actually become "too late" at some point. And I was able to protect myself and do my best to clean up the consequences of some unfortunate confusion.

But the whole coming-of-age situation left its battle wounds, which is fine, because battle wounds are reminders of the pain we went through to learn an important lesson.

Unfortunately, ever since this all came to light, I have felt myself close up considerably and question the level of trust I have with so many other people. And I have been sorely tempted to believe that not trusting anyone is the best way to proceed because it's the only surefire way to prevent betrayal. I've also found myself starting to affirmatively look for any form of dishonesty in the people around me, and I can feel myself wanting to take each finding personally, regardless of the intentions of the other person or the relevance of that mistruth to my life.

Trust is a two-edged sword, even for the optimists. It opens us up for meaningful interaction and productive conversation. It's a healthy way to actually connect with others. But it also makes us vulnerable and opens us up to the possibility of deeper levels of betrayal. And everyone has to find the right balance and figure out how to trust just enough to have a positive life experience and help others, but not so much to get run over in the process.

For the first time in my life, I think I'm becoming cognizant of the need to look for that balance. I have typically been very trusting and I have let myself believe that if I did good to others, I would somehow be protected from hurt. I still believe that that is true on some level, but I'm wondering now how much to trust those who have betrayed, and those who have not, but not trust so much that I am not protecting myself. And, I guess, I'm also wondering what "trust" actually means.

Any thoughts from the Strangers of the world would be most appreciated.

~It Just Gets Stranger

47 comments:

  1. This is a good post that poses a good question Eli, but first things first. Did you really lose 25lbs in essentially 8 weeks?! I am very jealous of the new you! Stupid testosterone making it easier for men! Ha.
    For me trust is tricky. Being open to meeting new people and experiencing new things, if you're not careful, can lead to unwanted pain and drama. I can friend and share but I find myself holding back and will only expose so much about myself.
    For me it is a nice way to get to know people before investing too much.
    With people I've already trusted and don't feel I can trust anymore, I just give myself and the situation time. Time is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I could have written your post. It is sure a hard balance isn't it. I pray for the gift of discernment a lot. I was in a very bad relationship and it not only caused me not to trust others but also not to trust myself. I think that is the hardest problem to overcome. Learning to trust your own judgement after you have been betrayed on any level.

    I find, in retrospect, I ignored a lot of promptings from those around me and from God. The more I invested time and money into this relationship, the more I wanted to cling to it.

    I don't think there are any simple answers. Except really trusting your own self and also staying in tune with the Spirit. I also listen to my friends a whole lot more now. They see my blind spots.

    I tend to either be too trusting or not trusting at all. Either way it bites me in the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said! I can relate on a lot of levels. The Spirit and good friends/family are our best allies. :)

      Delete
  3. You've just descibed the story of my life.

    I've always had trust issues. My parents said that they were frustrated with my little me because I didn't trust them to jump into the pool and they would rescue me. Today I trust my parents more than anyone else. Then I do trust easily as well (my mind seems a little confused there) and I'm hurt very easily when I realise that my trust did not mean much to others. To me, trust has always been a gut feeling and I want to keep it that way. Opening up to people when you feel you can is a natural behaviour. Being lied at and be disappointed should not stop you (me, everyone) to trust again.

    Thank you for your words, you really got me thinking!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Eli, I have had similar thoughts lately as I have been betrayed by a few people in my life over the last few years that I never thought would. I have struggled with trust since my first real "betrayal" shortly after high school and it took me a long time to dare to open up to people again. What I have found, however, is that if you don't open yourself up to trust some people around you, you can also miss out on a lot of really great relationships. It is incredibly painful to lose those relationships when the trust is gone, but it is worth it to keep the good ones. I try really hard to be a good judge of character and really don't open up to people or get close with anyone who I can sense fakeness with. The more people who I have watched change and betray my trust, the more I can see the signs. I find I'm not tolerant of dishonesty at all anymore. It's my biggest problem with people and the one thing I really can't stand in a person. It's a hard balance and I think it's okay to be cautious, but you don't want to miss out on the great relationships in life because of the few people that can't seem to be honest.

    ReplyDelete
  5. All the people I have trusted have hurt or abused or betrayed both my trust and me, to the point where I no longer even trust myself enough to judge who to give my trust to, and so I don't give it to anyone. When you are constantly faced with scenarios where you invest so much more of yourself in a relationship than the other person, you tend to take a step back and start building some walls- there are only so many pieces of yourself that you can lose before you disappear entirely. This way is sadder, but it leads to less disappointment and less anguish. I no longer feel like that balance is achievable.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post. I trust too easily too, probably because I like to see the good in people. But I think that living your life trusting too easily is far better than living it doubting the goodness in others. It has led to some heartbreak, but having faith in someone when nobody else does can also change lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so true, sometimes you have to deal with a little pain to help someone in need.

      Delete
    2. Love this, and I absolutely agree.

      Delete
    3. I wish I could get back to where your heart is at --- after being nearly mortally wounded by betrayal, it is difficult to trust. I can probably count on less than both hands the people I trust now.

      Delete
  7. First, let me say I really enjoy reading about your adventures. Secondly, it sounds like you are by nature a very trusting person. You actually can't change that, and by trying, you're putting yourself in great "distress". Yes, it's painful for you to be yourself when someone takes advantage of you by lying, cheating or any number of things. But those people are out there and you will always be hurt by them. But we all have those "tender underbellies", as it were. For you to say "I will no longer be trusting" is akin to saying "I'm going to change my height"... can't really be done. And actually, your trust is what makes you such a unique person. It makes you vulnerable and appealing. So take a deep breath, acknowledge the hurt, (which you did) and then go on. Don't let them win - just realize you are now "sadder but wiser".

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think the advice given to people who are in relationships with recovering addicts is, "trust, but verify". There's nothing wrong with believing someone, but double-checking their version of things just to be sure that nothing got lost in translation. In business or professional situations, it's prudent to have everything written out so that there is no confusion about any of the details of the deal. In personal relationships, it's always a good idea to make sure that everyone understands and is ok with whatever decision is being made. You can't protect yourself from people who lie to you outright this way, but you can avoid a lot of misunderstanding and hurt feelings.
    As far as trusting strangers goes...honestly, I've found for the most part that if you truly believe that everyone is going to behave honestly, but you have armed yourself with the facts of the matter (whatever those are), so you appear well-informed and not an easy mark, people will treat you, for the most part with respect and honor. (And I recently finalized an adoption in freaking BULGARIA without any issues!)
    Trust is a precious commodity, and the vast majority of the people you meet will understand that and act accordingly. There are more good samaritans out there than the news would have you believe, and most people would rather do the right thing than go out of their way to hurt you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to use that same phrase...'Trust, but verify.'

      I also am in love with this quote: "Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."

      -Kurt Vonnegut

      Delete
    2. Thanks for sharing that quote! Gotta love Kurt Vonnegut...

      Delete
    3. Love the quote. Need to work at it. Maybe give it a try, again. "Trust, but verify" is brilliant. My blog still has the subtitle, Truth will prevail; but I do not believe that anymore... and feeling this way continues to break my heart.

      Delete
  9. Trust. It can be the greatest bond we as humans can have toward one another. It can also be extremely hurtful when betrayed. We all have been hurt by individuals whom have betrayed our trust at some point in our lives with various degrees of such. It comes down to what is the extent of the betrayal and are you willing to forgive that/those individuals. Here is where that balance you are looking for comes into play. You automatically give some amount of trust to strangers every day; cab drivers, pilots, fellow employees and these superficial layers of trust are completely different than what to reveal to your close friends and family. The latter are the ones we cherish the most but also hurt us at the same time. It would be easy to advise not to trust them or give them another chance would be Monday morning quarterbacking your situation. Only you can decide what’s best for you.
    Remember we are just human and with that being said we all make mistakes. And sorry for the sports term, I’m writing this on a Monday morning.

    ReplyDelete
  10. To me, trust is the same as innocent until proven guilty. I try to trust a person until I have a really good reason to not trust them. However, this only applies to myself, and i'm not perfect at it...it's an ongoing practice in personal and spiritual growth. When it comes to my children I pretty much trust nobody...literally, there are 8 people I 100% trust with my children. I hope when they grow up they will give their trust willingly but protect their own children the same way.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Trust is earned", cliched but true. Once a trust is broken it is difficult to gain again, but sometimes a healed break can make something stronger than before. I've trusted people and been let down before before, friends, family, coworkers...but the most hurtful trust betrayed was my ex-husband. In the last year I've thought a lot about the nature and meaning of trust, faith, and forgiveness. When the dust settled from my divorce, I found that, surprisingly, the person I found it hardest to trust was myself. You have to develop trust in yourself and your abilities before you can trust others again. The older you get the more difficult it is to allow yourself to be potentially be put in those hurtful situations, but if you hold back you could miss out on something great.

    So, trust yourself, and let others earn your trust in them. Be willing to give people a chance, but don't give the keys to the store until they've earned your faith in them.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have found in my own life that trusting people is more important than never getting hurt, in general. I don't know if that is the same for everyone, but living skeptically is more damaging to me than what other people can do to me by lying, mostly because I did it to myself. People may lie to me and break my heart; that's on them, for the most part. But if I turn myself into a cynic who is never vulnerable with anyone, I am missing out on things and that is my own fault.

    That said, I also have a few situations where it is necessary to demonstrate mistrust because someone has repeatedly proven that they are untrustworthy. In these situations I have been able to say "I don't trust you." Maybe it isn't even that I think they are lying outright, but I can say "I don't trust that I have all the information. I don't trust that I am not being manipulated." And though it sounds odd, demonstrating mistrust in some specific situations has allowed me to save the relationship as a whole. Honesty and truth, even in potentially offensive areas, has made the areas where there is implicit trust that much more meaningful. And I think it is also nice to realize that its okay for us to not trust everyone with everything. Its okay for the people I love to not trust me with everything about themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many great thoughts from so many people. The demonstrating mistrust idea in some situations is speaking to me. Thanks, Amy.

      Delete
  13. I think what you've described here is only natural considering the situation from your past. I've had a similar experience, unfortunately. I was married for 6 years to a pathological liar. In the beginning his lies were mostly about little, inconsequential things that seemed so silly at the time. That was what I found myself mostly frustrated with. Why lie about something as silly as that? It made no sense. Had I listened to my gut, which was screaming "WARNING", I would have saved myself a lot of pain in the long run. Those little lies eventually morphed into huge ones and found myself crushed after he had affair after affair. People who lie like that are abusers and they should be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, an experience like that tends to color the glasses through which you see the world.. and believe me when I say they aren't rose colored. Trust is something you have to earn and only you can decide what that entails. To me, suspicion and wariness when it comes to strangers is only natural. It's part of our instinct to survive, particularly in the world that we live in where bad things happen ALL THE TIME. Seemingly, no where on the planet is truly safe. Not even movie theaters or malls. As far as a definition of trust, I'd say that the definition is lose. But, to me its the willingness to take a person at face value. To place a portion of yourself in their hands with the belief that they won't abuse it. It's the ability to hear someone.. to really hear someone and to know that what they say is true. That's trust and it explains why it's so hard to regain it once it's lost. The reality is, you never know, so it's better to be safe than sorry in some respects.. but you don't want to live a closed up, half life by limiting yourself through fear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of my children is a sociopathic liar. My world changed when we found out. And then the depth, breadth, and illegality of this behavior continued to be exposed and still I do not think we even have an inclining of how bad his situation is, as he does not care. And I do not think I will ever trust again.

      Delete
  14. Who hurt you Eli? I'm gonna go beat them up. Don't try to stop me, you're 23 plane rides away in the middle of the Pacific...

    I'm so sorry. I've been betrayed a handful of times from those I thought were my very closest friends and family, I understand your hurt. And like many have said, I think the hardest part is trusting yourself again to be open and make good decisions about who you are open with. I love you. A lot of people do, just stick with us.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Eli,

    I wish that I had words of encouragement for you. However, I know how hard it can be to trust people, especially once you have been hurt. I feel like it is human nature to build walls and burn bridges once we have been hurt. Armadillos get to curl up in their little armor-shell things, we get to cut people out of our lives who have hurt us. However, the one thing that I have learned in my life is that there is a difference between PEOPLE and PERSON. Just because a person or two has hurt you in some way does not mean that all people will. Don't think that you have to let all people back in quickly either. It takes time to tear some of those walls down and rebuild those bridges. Don't worry, buddy, you'll get through it.

    This is what I learned earlier this year, just in case you need it. http://todayssuccess.blogspot.com/2012/12/he-is-so-aware-of-me.html

    ReplyDelete
  16. I pretty much don't trust anyone until they give me a reason to.

    I have some close friends that I feel like I can trust, but only because they've earned it. And I actually trust them more than my own family.

    This, though, is one of the many reasons I'm in therapy, so I guess it's not really helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  17. hmmm is this one of those classic "Eli" posts, where after you have received an overwhelmingly flood of heart-felt responses about such said topic, trust, you'll confess to, "ok sorry everyone, I totally made all that up. I don't know why I do the things I do, but I know you love me and laugh at my stranger-ness" wait speaking of trust....it's like calling the kettle black or something! Cheers :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think there are various levels of trust. There are a small handful of people I trust with everything that makes me vulnerable- my history, my sadness, my secret dreams, my fears, my deepest joys.

    There are friends whom I trust with certain tidbits about my life (stuff I openly blog about) and then there are co-workers, who know very little about me, but enough to be friendly and share common interests (I have four kids, I will soon have a son on a church mission, I like to read and go to movies...)

    Then there are strangers, whom I don't trust at all. This doesn't mean I mistrust them, though. I just don't have any reason to put myself in a vulnerable position with them.

    Except an elevator ride. During which I try not to make eye contact.

    But then I have some social anxiety.

    Bad experiences make us skittish, but so do a myriad of other issues (depression, anxiety, bad vibes). I think the biggest thing to remember is to trust YOURSELF. Even if you've made mistakes that led to people's betrayal before-- said betrayals weren't based on YOUR actions, right? So YOU can still be trusted.

    Good luck, Eli. We're rooting for you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh, when I said "even if you've made mistakes that led to people's betrayals" I meant mistakes in judgment about people and the relationship culminated in betrayal... Hope that's clearer...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Just like every other person that has commented, I can relate 100%. Last year, when I was going through some REALLY rough times, I had some friends betray my trust and lie to me. Like, all together. The "ring leader" convinced the rest of the friends to lie to me as well.
    I've since forgiven them but I won't ever forget it because it has changed the way that I interact with everybody. Not just them. I still trust people very easily but I wish that I wouldn't because it seems that the same things happen over and over again. Hmm..
    This comment seems like an unresolved thought..but, oh well.

    ReplyDelete
  21. http://www.eldritchpress.org/nh/ygb.html This will take you to a story called Young Goodman Brown, you might not enjoy the story or even want to finish it, but I recently wrote about it for a test and your situation reminded me of it. Young Goodman Brown is a coming-of-age story where the main character loses all trust for everyone because he discovered that the people he thought were all good had some bad in them too. I know when you've been hurt and your trust betrayed it can be hard to continue to trust people. However, you can't let a few spoil the bunch. Don't trust everyone, but don't automatically distrust them either, the world isn't just black and white be willing to see the shades of gray.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's hear it for people bringing classic literature to bear on everyday situations! Hip Hip Hooray!
      I hope that the person you have been betrayed by is not actually in league with Satan. Reading Young Goodman Brown will probably lead you to have even more fear of those rapidly approaching footsteps on the path behind you.
      The core of this comment is what I would say, which is not very helpful but useful for considering: people are bad, people are good. Some people will run up behind you and slit your throat and discard your body in the bushes beside the path, but not everyone will. The fact that you stayed on the path and didn't immediately change course showed your trust that a very small slice of humanity would actually do that. It's kind of a big risk to take when you consider the stakes, but I think many of us have this kind of in-born paranoia.
      Then there are other situations where we trust implicitly, like when driving down the freeway. You are trusting everyone else on the road to stay in their lane and watch the road instead of reading text messages or apply make-up. That trust is broken daily with often tragic results. Yet we all still drive to work on the I-15 death trap (if we have to) and go on trusting people to make good choices.
      My point? Even though you can't always trust people, you sometimes have to. The only actions you can control are your own. Don't let an untrustworthy person make you doubt everyone you know, but it may be healthy to reconsider who you trust with what aspects of your life.
      And to round this out with a classic film reference that could be a motto for this blog (is it not already?!):
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSTd1LuiVUs

      Delete
  22. I'm nothing if I'm not honest, and I absolutely expect honesty from others. Nothing pisses me off more quickly and efficiently than learning I've been lied to. It makes me super angry. And I am not one inclined to anger.

    I sincerely believe that people are inherently good. I've been horribly disappointed to find out that some people are just d-bags and super selfish, and lying is like breathing unto them.

    However...

    I'd rather live my life as a trusting individual, because mistrust causes me major stress and anxiety, and I don't like stress or anxiety. At all.

    I try to go with my gut when I meet new people. I think that that feeling of "wuh-oh" was given to us by God, and I've learned to trust it. If I'm wrong, then I srap up my wounds and try to get overt it as quickly as possible. (I'm also quick to forgive: hanging onto anger and bitterness is NOT a good look for me, and I loathe those feelings.) Having said that, once someone has lost my trust, I don't just give it back willy-nilly. They have to prove themselves to me. I've learned that you can love someone and not trust them. (I learned that in a book called "How to Hug a Porcupine: Dealing With Toxic and Difficult to Love Personalities" by Dr. John L. Lund. Good book. It was a necessary read, as I was living with one or two toxic people at the time.)

    Anyway, I hope you can find your happy balance. I might trust too easily, and I've absolutely gotten burned in the process, but I'd rather be open to love and trust than turn into a cynic. Love begets love. Trust begets trust.

    Do I sound hippy-dippy? I don't mean to, and I swear I'm not...

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm a teenage girl, so maybe I haven't been exactly "broken" just yet. But when my family rejected me last year due to my parents short but awkward separation (it had been pegged on me), I started questioning people in general. As school started up again, and my family was awkwardly making it back to "okay", it became apparent that I yearned to search the truth out. I stopped trusting people, stop relying on others, stopped reaching out. Even for school projects--I'd be finishing them last minute because I would work alone in what was supposed to be for a group of three or four.

    What I think started this was the fact that my family told me to leave and to get out. I'm mid-teens, that's illegal so I had to stay, but it was rough anyway--especially because I had to stay. Then in my mind I think it clicked that if they didn't want me there, I should just pull back and act like I'm not there. With my friends, family, people I knew--everyone. I pulled back and stayed quiet. I kept to myself. I dealt with being pushed into lockers and being called a whore and becoming suicidal by myself until one of my teachers literally dragged me to the counseling office until one day the counselor convinced me to get my mom involved. After that, it took being thrown out, tears, and yelling to get us back to stable.

    Like, I know coming from a teen that probably isn't any good to anyone, but I guess I'm just trying to say that while pulling back may seem like a good idea, just deal with the problem head on. Retracting isn't any good, and it's obvious to other people and can hurt a lot more relationships than you intended to hurt. Yes, you can get mad at someone, but it's also not healthy or good to keep that anger and resentment towards that person bottled up inside. Getting it out is *hard*. I know. Nothing like having an 8pm scream-fest with your mom. But at the same time, you need to offer that little bit of trust that they will not do it again. And this means forgiveness towards them for being dishonest. This means 70 times 7, this means that you both (or multiple people) need to get with your pastor or an unbiased and scripturally sound friend and work it out before it eats you.

    You'll be in my prayers! Godspeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't feel like your opinion doesn't matter because you're still a teen. Maybe in some circumstances you might not be as well equipped to weigh in but, speaking for myself, being a teen is hard. Trying to become your own person and figuring out what you want that person to be is trying. Learning to trust yourself to choose the right people to trust is something we all have to work on all the time. The fact that you went through what you described and can still talk about forgiveness is amazing. If you stay on the path you are on, you're going to be great!

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much for the encouragement! I think being a teen is hard, too, but waiting for stories to come into a full loop can take a while. (like those people who are getting revelations from their teen hood in their 20's?) Luckily, it's been a super interesting year, and God has tested my limits. He still is, in school and with my parents (while we teens may be a wreck, it's becoming more clear to me that our parents can be, too). I guess I'm over conscious on blogs written by/for adults because most adults have a habit of writing teenagers off. >.< Thank you, though!(:

      Delete
    3. Oh Jenn I don't know you but I wish I could give you a big hug. I am so sorry you are going through that. Please know that it isn't your fault. I went through a bit of that as a child with alcoholic parents. It took me forever to figure out it wasn't me. It's not you. You deserve to be loved unconditionally and treated kindly by your parents. If your own parents won't treat you that way please try to find friends with good parents. I will forever be grateful that I had friend's parents that stepped in and loved me through very difficult times. And God is always there. Always. I will pray for you. I mean it. Don't ever think because of your age what you have to say doesn't matter. Some of the biggest changes in the world have been made by youth. Your voice MATTERS! Please believe that. It took me years to find that out.

      Delete
    4. Jenn, your words sound wise beyond your years, and your advice will be helpful to me, and I'm sure, many others. This blog isn't written for adults, and some days, it isn't really written BY one either. It's for strangers everywhere, like you, who can laugh together and sometimes give some much needed counsel, just like you have done. Hang in there. A great life awaits those who can learn to recognize the good around them, no matter where they are.

      Delete
    5. We Jenns gotta stick together! :-D I think that's one of the great things about Stranger. We all come here for a laugh and get to encourage each other when times are rough. I also agree with Anonymous up there. There are adults out there in your life you can rely on and will back you up. And God really is there. All the time. You are never alone. Continue being awesome!

      Delete
  24. As someone you doesn't trust freely, or get too close to people, I understand. It is very difficult to trust someone when it is not in your nature, only to have that person break your trust. For the eternal skeptic, it can be hard to be readily trusting after an incident like that. Since strangers seem to like Vonnegut today, in times like these I like to remember "Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard." I truly hope this doesn't harden you.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I too have the same feelings. I've been screwed over by people I've trusted too many times. It hurts to know that you've lost friends you thought you could trust but have them lie to you and never even have your back. I've always taken what people tell me as truth with a grain of salt. I've built up a pretty thick wall when it comes to letting people in. I don't often ask for help from my friends. I try to get everything as upfront as possible. I've trusted the wrong people and have very few that I trust, aside from family. Hang in there Eli. You'll learn how to decipher who's being honest and who isn't.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Pay attention to what people fear from others, because that is their tell. If they seem to be concerned that people are stealing from them, it is because they are capable of it themselves. Overly concerned about gossip, or think people are liars...they are guilty of those themselves. Conversely, people who see good qualities in others, have those fine qualities themselves. You have to pay attention, but you can learn a lot about peoples character by their concerns in the behavior of others......this has never failed me. If I've ever been hurt by friends or family, it's because I've chosen to ignore my own advice.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm still confused on this. I guess I've always given people the benefit of the doubt, but have never trusted people at once or fully (Or better put, I've always been cautious around people. Is that the same thing?) Somewhere very early in my life I learnt not to trust people easily, I don't know if it was because of the people around me or if it was the books I read. It did help me a lot though, I learnt to shut my mouth before certain people, and never put myself or anybody else in trouble. Everyone was always shut out. That way, no one ever had any advantage over me.
    All of that changed when I met a friend. We got really close and little by little I shed those walls around me and started trusting her. All those deepest fears and dearest wishes were shared and more soppy stuff. That led me to be less cautious of what I said and how I behaved around people (even with my parents and siblings), and little by little, everything I taught myself started to not matter. That was until, I realised that I had placed so much trust in her that I was so vulnerable. I was, when she started drifting away. She started spending more time with another colleague and I was acknowledged just because I think she didn't want to feel guilty. I'm in my very early twenties, and I guess by now I should be able to get over friends and all that, but I found it very difficult. I had to go through months of depression and then medication to finally get over it. I don't how trust comes in here, but for me, I guess it was more like I trusted her with my vulnerability. After the episode, I used to obsess about why I'd let my guard down and all that, but I think at the same time, something came unhinged.

    Now, I just don't care about whether I should be cautious around people or not, I'm still the same, don't trust people easily, wait to see if the person running behind me is going to brutally stab me and if not smile at them, but I still don't know whether to trust people with my heart anymore. An episode with a 'friend' hurt me so much, I don't even want to think about life partners. And I guess, it goes with the flow, everyone gets the benefit of the doubt, if I have reason to withhold the trust, I will, if I have to trust somebody even if it might cause some harm, I might, but I don't know if I'll ever trust anyone with my heart though.
    And as a teacher, man, I have to trust and not trust students all the time, but so far it's been good with them.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Eli, I think you are going to get married soon. If not that, then something else amazingly good is coming your way. You are about to pass the tip, you climbed up that mountain and right now your just about to go over the edge, and things will get better from here.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This is my experience - you have no control - none - not over your circumstances, not the people in your life, or whether or not your feet smell... once you accept this, life gets easier. For example, one night at work my boss procrastinated getting something ready for me to do that was important. I was supposed to be somewhere after work and others were depending on me... and I was livid!!!! So about 20 minutes late, on the way home there was an accident with 4 ambulances and 3 cars... and I wound up sitting there contemplating the mess for about 1 1/2 hours. If I had left work on time, would I be part of it? The man I was married to first, that broke my heart is now on his 4th wife... I shudder to think what my life would be like if I hadn't gotten out young (painful tho it was). I just trust that things happen for a reason. I don't have to know what the reason is, just that there's a reason.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am in the middle of projects but procrastinating by reading your blog so I really don't have time to dive into the whole profound side of the trust issue however I can put my 2 cents in on your runner experience. once you run a ragnar with us your fear of other people running will be come null and void after you run through an entire night with essentially serial killer vans driving slowly beside you and people ahead and behind you at all times apparently you need this experience. and yes I will also get you your own custom ragnar snuggie

    ReplyDelete
  31. I wish I could have read this a year ago. I was in the midst of the same struggle. To be honest, I don't know if I've discovered the balance you spoke of myself. I'm still trying to forgive the person who broke my trust. Ultimately, I think we don't have the wisdom to know who to trust, or the strength to heal after our trust has been broken. It's Jesus who has to do the real healing.

    ReplyDelete