Are You Too Trusting of Others?
I was told that I was too trusting of others
Growing up, I was often told that I was too trusting of others. The twisted irony is that the person who told me that was the main person who was exploiting me. Having grown up being told that I was “too trusting”, I realized that I needed to look into the issue further. In my own case, I believed people and what they told me. When someone made a promise or agreement, the expectation was that they would honor that agreement. I found it puzzling that my exploiter thought I was weird for trusting people at their word.
Experience and research has shown me that humans are trusting from the time that they are born. They trust their care takers and parents. In most cases, the child trusts others and when their needs are responded to, they trust them even more. As a child, you are dependent on others for everything. When your needs are taken care of, you develop a healthy sense of trust. You learn to trust what your parents say. You learn to trust what your care takers tell you.
As you develop, that sense of trust matures and expands. Although it would be nice if everyone did what they said that they would do, you learn that they often don’t do those things. It is that point that is formative. You can decide to continue trusting and risk being hurt or distrust, reduce the potential of hurt and protect yourself. That decision point is a tough one to work through for many people.
It is not by accident that one of the unwritten rules of dysfunctional and addiction plagued families is “don’t trust!”. In dysfunctional families, you learn that you can not trust what people say. You can not assume that they will not hurt you. You can not assume that they will not steal from you. In such surroundings, you learn that protecting yourself is the most important thing. In order to protect yourself from hurt, you learn not to trust. You learn to put up barriers in order to keep hurt and people away.
When such distrust occurs on a large scale, then whole communities are distrusting of others. Distrust, like fear can spread through a family or community. This can be seen in neighborhoods where bars are on the windows and doors along with walls around their homes. Those living there want safety, and have learned that they can not trust. Fear for them has become a greater motivation in their behavior than trust.
Distrusting others is not just a matter of protection, for some of you, it has become a way of life. When you distrust everyone until they have proven themselves to you, it may keep you from being hurt, but it also keeps people at a distance. If you are wanting close relationships, you will risk being hurt. Keeping others at a distance may keep you from being hurt, yet the isolation it surrounds you with brings loneliness. It may even get to the point where the only person you trust is yourself.
Distrust can also plague you on a personal level. When you distrust others, you often distrust yourself. This can lead to problems when you distrust your own gut level reactions to situations. Your body often lets you know who to trust, what is good for you and other items, yet the distrusting often dismiss these reactions as indigestion, or ignore them. They may call this being unaware of bodily sensations. In my mind, it is that they learned to distrust more than trust. Distrusting has become a way of life for them, leading to health and relationship problems for them.
Trusting others opens us up to hurt, but also to good things happening. More people need to do everything that they have agreed to do. When people do what they said that they would do, there are fewer problems of all kinds. Living in an environment with fewer problems sounds like a good idea to me. Although I would like to trust everyone, I have learned from experience doing so is not possible. I enter relationships being open to trusting others, yet knowing in the back of my mind that certain vocations and behavior patterns send up automatic red flags proclaiming that they are not to be trusted.
When I see those behavior patterns, I know from experience to approach that relationship with caution. The first red flag is when they ‘demand’ that I trust them. When people either demand or assume that they are trustworthy based solely on their vocation or position, they are not trustworthy. Trust is based on a pattern of doing what you say and having a relationship with the person. When people demand trust without having a relationship or showing me that they are trust worthy, they are not.
Trust starts out small and develops over time. When people try to take it too deep too fast, there are problems. I am willing to trust people with little things immediately. When they want large amounts of trust quickly, I grow concerned. When people trust me too much too quickly, it is usually a bad sign. The mentally and emotionally unhealthy often have a poor sense of boundaries and pour out their heart, along with giving you trust too quickly. When someone opens up with deep dark secrets without you having shown that you care about them or that you are trustworthy yourself, there are problems ahead.
You also have to learn to trust your bodily sensations. Your body often warns you of things, yet if you are distrusting, you miss out. Any kind of serious spiritual growth also requires having trust. When you live a distrusting lifestyle you miss out on the health improvements and spiritual insights that come with the fostering of trust.
The bottom line is this. You have the choice of either trusting or fearing. You will live one way or the other.