Trust is a tricky issue. If we trust too much, we could get burned. If we don’t trust enough, we could miss out – on important connections, lessons, and relationships. So how do we know when to open up and let down our guard and when to keep the protective walls up?
You might ask, “What if my head answers that question one way, and my emotions say something else?” I would urge you not to listen to either your head or your heart. Trust is a question that must be addressed on a much deeper level than either the intellect or the emotions; it’s answered on the level of intuition.
Think about animals. When an animal isn’t sure whether it’s safe or not, it doesn’t sit there analyzing things to death or asking itself how it feels. It knows. If it feels safe, it sticks around. If its gut instinct says it’s not safe, it takes off. We, as human animals, should do the same. If I sense that a person is going to hurt me physically or emotionally, no matter what their words say, I’m going to leave. If I sense that I’m safe and that something good might happen – even if I’m feeling nervous – it’s worth opening up to see what unfolds.
Recently, I had two scenarios with men that helped me practice this issue around trust. In the first scenario, I was on a date with somebody I had met through a mutual friend. We had a wonderful dinner, and I went back to his place. As we’re sitting in his apartment on the couch, he’s holding my hand, and saying really nice things about me. I started feeling really anxious; my heart was racing, and not in a good way. He ended up ditching me two days later without any reason whatsoever.
Four days later, an old friend I hadn’t seen in four years stopped by. As we were sitting on my couch, he’s again holding my hand and saying really nice things about me. In this case, I felt completely comfortable and safe. Same scenario, completely different gut reactions.
I don’t regret exploring the relationship with the first guy. However, if I were to do it again, I would’ve listened more closely to my gut to stay on my guard. I would’ve taken more time to get to know him more slowly. If my instinct continued to send me red flag alerts, I probably wouldn’t have gotten intimate with him at all.
Our gut feelings are our key barometers of when to trust. Often, we turn to anyone else for answers. We go running to a counselor, call up a family member or friend, ask a psychic . . . when in fact, we already know. We have to listen to our gut reactions, not let our heads or hearts override our intuition. If we do, me may only regret it later.
As someone who has spent most of her life either trusting the wrong people too much or not trusting the right people enough, I struggle with the issue of trust every day. However, I’m learning more and more that the most important person to trust is myself.
© 2017 by Laurie Gardner