6.29.2012

On Trusting People

Every single person in your entire life will, at some point or another, disappoint you.

This is inevitable. No one is perfect. No one is capable of reading your mind. No one is 100% capable of meeting every need you have, at every moment you have them. We know this, because you are not perfect. You are not capable of reading anyone else's mind. You are not capable of meeting every need anyone else has, at every moment they have them.

What is true about us is also true about everyone else. And when this is the case, and we are flawed beings, that means everyone else is flawed. Which means, at some point, you're going to trust someone to do something and they are going to fail you.

Relationships, therefore, are built on two things: how often this happens, and the reason why.

If someone disappoints you a lot, and they don't seem to care, they're a pretty miserable friend. In fact, it's likely they're not a friend at all, and you're throwing yourself away on that person, like spending good money after bad on a car that simply will not work.

If someone disappoints you a lot, but they don't mean to and they feel bad about it, you're at fault for trusting someone to do something they're incapable of doing.

If someone is reliable for the most part, and then one day fails you and feels terrible about it, you have to decide if you're going to hold that against them or get past it and give them another chance. If it happens again, the same way, you have to figure out if you're willing to live with that one person never being able to step up for that one thing and always feeing terrible about it.

And of course, there are strata of circumstances in varying degrees of both trust and concern between (and beyond) those above. And in every single circumstance, one thing is consistent: you.

You have to be able to make the decisions on what to do in every case. You have that control. If you stand back and think "well, I can't do better than this man who says he loves me but beats me" or "I love her, despite the fact that she's disgusting and nasty and mean and what can I do?" Or "He was supposed to get me a job with that company, and because he didn't, I can't be a [whatever]" -- Well, you're in control of that feeling, right then and there. You're making a decision via apathy or despair or loneliness. But you're still making the decision.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for how you feel. You cannot outsource your emotions; no one else can feel what you feel for you, and thus they are not responsible for your emotional state. That doesn't mean they aren't wrong when they fail you, and it doesn't mean that someone's hateful, selfish or negligent behavior should go without consequence. But how you feel about it? That's all on you.

And it's going to suck when someone fails you -- I'm not saying that you shouldn't be sad, angry or disappointed. You have to be if you're human and not a sociopath. What I am saying, though, is that you can't carry that feeing around with you and have it affect your life in a destructive manner. You cannot give up on life and point to the person that disappointed you at some point and say "It's their fault." You have to get up and eat breakfast and get dressed and live out your day, day to day, no matter who disappoints you, where when or why.

Giving up on anything because someone else failed you isn't their fault -- it's yours. It's your life. Other people are aspects of your experience. Don't make them responsible for your successes, failures, feelings and emotions.