Trust is something I have struggled with most of my life–swinging between the extremes of naive adoration and cynical suspicion. And big thick boundaries. I grew up with a Hobbesian belief that life was “nasty, brutish and short” and expected that life and people would let me down. At the same time, I was hardwired to seek connection and oftentimes in my desperation would trust the wrong people. And then, these untrustworthy people would inevitably let me down, proving my point that people can’t be trusted.
This was a very hard and very sad way to live. I wanted to trust, but didn’t know how.
But being a seeker, I first had to ask myself why I should trust in first place. Why not just adopt a Hobbesian view of the world? Well, the truth was I didn’t want to live in a world like that. I wanted to connect to people. I wanted goodness. So, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see”.
It wasn’t easy, but I rolled up my sleeves, and got to work. Faith and trust are not superpowers bestowed on the chosen few. They take hard word and a commitment to turning our ideas into action. As Rabbi Sacks said, “Faith is neither irrational nor irrational…it is the determination to turn ought into is.”
We start by examining the negative input in our lives. What is your exposure to social media? How much news do you read or watch? Do you communicate with negative people who fill you with fear and anxiety? Then we look at what positivity we have in our lives. Do you have a spiritual practice? How much time do you spend in nature? Do you put intentionality in making your home beautiful and happy and peaceful? Do you speak to people you can laugh with, cry with, people you can trust?
Every day we are making choices. We can make choices that bring us toward goodness, and trust and joy and choices that take us away. Let me be clear; I am not talking about stupid trust–walking down dark alleys, paying bills at the last minute or trusting that our mean friend will suddenly turn nice. No, we still need to lock our doors and pay our bills and have life insurance policies. We need good friends who will call us out when we are deluding ourselves. But everyday if we make the intention to move toward the light, I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.