So often in life we find ourselves in situations that cause us disappointment. We have wonderful expectations of how something is going to turn out and we give it our all only to fall short of what we would have liked to have accomplished. Frequently, our greatest disappointments are created from our relationships or lack thereof with people to whom we feel close. When things don’t work out the way we expect with others, we are hurt, we feel the pain and are overwhelmed. In short, our disappointments lead to mistrust.
Getting caught in this downward spiral in our lives can be extremely dangerous. When we feel pain, it brings back what I refer to as our EchoesTM which are all the emotions we have felt in the past when we have been in similar circumstances.
To explain Echoes further, let’s suppose that in our past when we were 10 or so years old we had been suddenly “dumped” by our first romantic interest. To make matters worse, the situation was totally unexpected and happened without warning. In our minds, everything was going fantastic and we were completely dumbfounded by the other person’s decision to abruptly end the relationship.
Many of us with kids have witnessed the devastation our children feel when this situation happens to them. Without realizing what we are doing we think to ourselves “I don’t understand why she is so upset; it’s not that big of a deal and there are plenty of other boys that are interested in her.”
Yet in our lives, when we have a disappointment that triggers one of our Echoes, the pain we felt from that previous event (even though it happened so long ago) reverberates through us just like an echo in a canyon. The amount of time that the feeling resonates is directly proportional to how severe its effect was on us at the time of the original event.
However, that is not the only Echo we experience.
If we’ve been dumped, we feel the Echo from each person who has dumped us since then.
We also feel the Echo from every person who has let us down since then.
We also feel the Echo from every situation in which we felt we were not “good enough.”
We also feel the Echo from each and every experience that made us feel disappointed and unworthy.
If we are unaware of what is happening, we take our “heart balloon,” pack it away in a lock box and vow to never let anyone near it again and then….
We shut down.
We close ourselves off and place brick walls and concrete around our hearts. We disconnect our vulnerability and allow it to grow dust in the deepest, darkest corner of our internal, “secret closet.”
When we allow ourselves to get into this state, we are no longer living our lives. Once we allow fear in any form and for any reason to rule us we go from pursuing our dreams to protecting ourselves. We become paranoid that just around the corner is the next “bad thing” that’s going to happen to us and the only way to avoid it is to keep our heads down, stay quiet, avoid being noticed and survive. While some folks believe this is a successful way to deal with disappointment, there are two problems with that approach:
- We will attract into our lives more of whatever has our attention (energy flows where attention goes so if we’re focusing on bad things happening, that is exactly what we will experience);
- When we believe we can’t trust other people we give up all our personal power.
We discussed the first item in the post All Is Well…Really It Is where we discovered it is all too easy for us to get caught up in the trap of negativity and attract more negativity into our lives. We control what happens to us much more than we realize simply based upon the thoughts we allow to enter our consciousness (and more importantly our subconscious). If we think things are going to turn our poorly, they will. If we think things will turn out well, they will. We may not get exactly the results we are focused upon for a variety of reasons, however, what we think is what we attract; our thoughts truly are a self fulfilling prophecy.
The second point is something very few of us realize when others let us down. We often get caught up in thoughts of what he or she did to us, how they violated our friendship, our relationship, and ultimately our trust. There is one key thing to remember in the trying time we are experiencing:
We don’t have to worry if we can or cannot trust someone else so long as we can trust ourselves.
Think about that for a moment. There are countless self help books that have been published and blogs and articles on the internet that explain how to rebuild trust when it has been broken. They explain ways to resolve trust issues in our marriages. They talk about how to regain trust when we have been responsible for lost trust in the relationship. They discuss how to “test” someone who has let us down to make sure we can begin to trust them again. The simple fact is none of that is as important as us knowing we can trust ourselves.
When we can stand in our truth and trust ourselves to make the correct decisions, there is no reason to worry about how trustworthy someone else is. Why should we allow the behavior of someone else to close off our heart, our vulnerability and our desire for what we want in life? If we instead stand in our truth and believe that we will only attract trustworthy people into your life, what kind of people will show up?
The key to having trust is the same as the key to having love; it must start within ourselves. Just as we cannot truly love someone else if we do not love ourselves, we cannot truly trust someone else if we do not trust ourselves.
When we trust ourselves, we recognize that we have the awareness, skills and confidence to deal with whatever situations come our way. We know how to set proper boundaries in our lives and have no time to waste with people that use us or care about no one but themselves. We can certainly show compassion for others but we must be careful never to do that to our own detriment. When we allow others to walk over us, we are not being noble; we are demonstrating a lack of self love and trust.
So let’s be sure we have established a healthy level of self trust. Each experience we have along our journey helps us learn what we need to know; there are no accidents. If we maintain our awareness and stand in our truth, we will find it easy to trust those who are worthy and and even easier to identify those who are not.