Trust is a fragile thing. I think I’ve always known that. I remember my mother saying it to me as a child, her disappointed words always carrying more weight than her anger. I don’t know if I can trust you. It echoed in my head. It made me feel as if some invisible door had closed off between us. And I wasn’t sure how to get it back open, to undo what I had done.
It feels the same way as an adult, but now the reverse. Now I’m the one who’s asked to trust people, to put my faith in their goodness, to believe, without a doubt, that they won’t break me or let me down. I’ve become like my mother, the one who has to determine how to love someone who destroyed the very ground we’re both standing on. Now I’m the one who has to trust people who don’t always do or say what they mean.
I’ve thought a lot about love in the past few months, how we, as humans, are so drawn to it. How we’re constantly searching for it, even without intention. How love is such a part of who we are and the lives that we lead.
I used to think that the most important part of love was finding someone who understands you, finding someone who makes you smile, finding someone who balances and challenges you, finding someone who drives you crazy, finding someone who you can talk to, really talk to.
But the more I think about it, I think that love, real love, is about finding someone you can trust.
It’s scary to think that falling in love is essentially putting your trust in a stranger. You meet someone, and slowly, over time, you trust them enough to let them in.
But what if they break you? What if they’re not the person you thought they were? What if it all goes wrong? Those are the risks you take. Willingly.
When you fall in love, you trust. You trust that the person you’re falling for will catch you. You trust that person will be true to you. You trust that even though this world is continually pressuring us and throwing sh*t at us and messing with our heads and values and dreams, that this person will be confident in who they are, in who you are, in who the two of you are together, enough so that the bond of trust won’t be broken.
But trust is scary as hell.
We’re wired to expect the worst. We have one negative situation that happens to us and we automatically assume that’s how it will always be, every time. We get let down by one person and we build walls, walls that are too high to let anyone in again.
We think that everyone will disappoint us. We think that no one is looking out for us and that we always have to take care of ourselves. We become guarded, selfish, hard, unhappy.
But what if we trusted, really trusted?
I think people believe trusting is weak, is naïve. But I’ve never agreed with that. Sure, you can put your faith in a person and be let down. Sure, you can trust someone who doesn’t deserve it. Sure, you can blindly trust the person you’re falling for and end up looking like an idiot.
But isn’t that just a normal part of life?
It sucks that people aren’t trustworthy. It sucks that we have to ask ourselves these questions and that we have to fear. It sucks that we aren’t inherently good. But what I’ve realized in these past few months, is that trust is the only thing that will get us through.
You can’t have love without trust, without complete faith in another person, and without a total surrender of all your insecurities.
So no, it isn’t going to be easy. But not all people are like the ones that broke you. Not all relationships will be the same. And you don’t have to build walls around your heart, closing yourself off to the beautiful possibility of love.
You are strong when you decide to let go and let someone in.
And sometimes the best things in life are the things we fear the most.