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Skeptics, go on high alert. For 24 hours, tricksters will hunt the gullible. Stay in your house all day. Don’t do anything or go anywhere. Trust no text message, tweet, telephone call, e-mail, instant message, news report, police bullhorn, or crowd of hysterical people running toward the nearest mall exit. Don’t believe anything. It’s all a conspiracy to take you down.
That’s me. I am that anxious, ever-suspecting dude for whom every day feels like April Fools’ Day. I have seen my general level of distrust rise like the water level in a Poseidon adventure. It’s hard to take anything at face value now. This is not okay. Have you ever:
- Asked someone to tell their story and then called their credibility into question to dismiss the validity of their experience?
- Had someone plead their case although you had already pronounced them guilty in your mind?
- Gotten a compliment you wanted to hear, but decided the compliment giver wasn’t sincere enough?
- Been treated nicely by someone, but decided they had an ulterior motive based on their association with someone you perceive as a threat?
If you have, you are as much your own problem as I am. Your inability to trust can block you from receiving wisdom, truth, encouragement, kindness, affection, or all of the above. How broken is your faith if you decide you can never trust anything anyone says? What kind of two-faced unscrupulous people have you known that make you believe this is the way you have to be to survive?
“If you ask me to come, I’ll say ‘go’
If you say you love me, I’ll say ‘sure, if you say so’
Whatever you tell me, I won’t believe you.”
—Leigh Nash, “Along The Wall”
I’ve seen antagonist older cousins bait an unsuspecting neighborhood fool with a compliment, then eat their self-esteem whole, and spit out the bones to pick their teeth with… all for a laugh. I remember how the “cool kids” would pretend to befriend their schoolyard inferiors so they can spend the afternoon cackling about why they are so much better than them.
For me, it’s part of an irrational fear of being taken advantage of. No one wants to be the butt of a joke. No one wants to be ridiculed because they left themselves open. You vow to never become that person, but then the maintenance on keeping your promise becomes more trouble than it’s worth.
“When you’re little, you adopt survival mechanisms. But then they last too long. They last beyond their usable time and they become impediments to growth.” —Jane Fonda
C’mon, people. C’mon, self. Paranoia is not safety and hypervigilance is not security. Who wants to live that way anyway? I’m tired of it myself. In order to live a healthy, balanced, life, you have to have at least a modicum of trust in something. If I don’t want to become a victim of my own thought process, I have to consciously rebel against the protective patterns I developed. If your apartment building is burning down, you do not want to be the maladjusted hermit who, thinking it’s an attempted kidnapping, attacks the fireman trying to rescue you.
Trust someone and give them the chance to prove they’re worth it. Be bold and risk being wrong. If you’re as far on the opposite extreme as I have been, the consequences will probably pleasantly surprise you.
However, if anyone tells you Prince is releasing a much-needed deluxe remastered boxset of 1987’s Sign “O” The Times, do not believe them no matter how convincing the press release and accompanying photos. Thanks a lot, ?uestlove.
Do you have trust issues? Have you started to work through them? If so, please share how in the comments section below!
To read about the process of unraveling specifically church-borne
trust issues, check out: Lay Your Weapons Down.