1/7/15 – Things I’d Like to Tell My Daughter Going Into Adulthood:
I have always said that my favorite quote is from the X-Files (yes, your mom is showing her geekdom):
Trust no one. — Fox Mulder
Many people find this pessimistic when I state it aloud, or they think it cynical. Maybe so? Yet, I have never thought of it that way; I think of it as practical and smart. This is not because of an inherent mistrust in people, but that I feel as though we all must understand the human psyche well enough that we do not put too much faith in those who are fallible.
You will hear people say that no relationship without trust is healthy, and then that this implies that we should trust everyone from the beginning until they prove us wrong. I do not believe this: trust is earned.
In order to earn trust, people have to prove themselves, and that can only be over time. Words, and even gestures, mean nothing until they have been backed up with something solid. It takes time to do anything from earn a degree to building a foundation for a home or architectural structure. Even after those things have been done, an educated person is not a professional until they’ve gained credentials and accomplished milestones in their field. Even after a foundation is laid, it takes time to see if it settles as it should and that it can hold the things on top of it that need it to remain sturdy and strong. It takes time to see what can withstand harsh winds.
This is no different than trust.
We can learn and we can start building from the ground up, but only until things have settled, and qualifications have been met, can we really begin to find trust in them. And even still, this is never and no guarantee. Nothing in this life is permanent — we can only hope it is lasting as long as we’re on this earth, but even so, we must understand everything’s possible transience and fragility. I know this is not a romantic notion when you’re young, but life is about taking chances and throwing caution to the wind; yet, we don’t have to accept that we don’t have the ability to guide where that gust takes us.
In other words…
People misuse and abuse the word “trust” every day (noun – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something). To trust everything from the start is to trust blindly. This is not cynical; this is heuristic. As I already mentioned above, people will tell you that all things healthy are built on trust, but I do not believe this to be true… All things are built on hope (noun – a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen), effort, and a healthy level of understanding. So long as you are not distrustful, you are still perfectly healthy, but part of being a well-adjusted person is knowing that life comes full of disappointments and letdowns. The sooner you know and accept this, the better off you are. (I wish I had learned this sooner than I did.)
Accepting disappointment and letdown as a part of living gives you the ability to know what you deserve, to understand what you do not, to know what you must learn to try again, and to not expect more than you can handle losing. It keeps life real and in perspective. And this does not mean that afterward you cannot rebuild, start over, or mend, but it DOES mean that when trust is proven broken, you had healthy knowledge that it was hope that got dashed, not blind “trust”.
I tell you this because it WILL happen, time and time again. Don’t sit around waiting for it, but expect it; and most importantly, don’t let it wreck you or have the upper hand. EVERYONE will let you down. It does not mean they meant to or wanted to. People are only humans who are learning as they go along, just like you are. Some more cognizant than others and some more accidental than selfish, but everyone is liable to err, whether intentional or not.
So yes, my advice to you would be to “trust no one”. This does not have to be a disenchantment by any means, though! This just means that you understand hope is what you really should have; you should have hope in and for everyone you have and bring into your life. For I assure you, my love, people *will* let you down. A mentor will fall below your impression of them, a good friend will sell you out, a family member will lie to you, you will be or feel abandoned by someone, many people will fail to arrive when you want them to, many people will break promises they made without enough thought, and some partner in your quest for true and committed love will betray you. These things are a fact of life that are easier to except than believe will never happen. (Already in your short 11 years of life, this has happened to you more than many can say.) Even with me — your own mother — who makes it my lifework to be the most trustworthy and steadfast person you have in it, I am going to say the wrong thing at the right time (and vise versa), make decisions you question, and fall from the grace you uphold me to at certain times in our lives together. We are all imperfect, therefore trust is a tall order for us all. It is the tallest order to the one who risks losing it by believing in it blindly like it is rare and unthinkable. Don’t let ANYONE use this moral weakness and fallacy as an excuse, but for your own wellbeing, make sure you’re realistic and don’t give anyone too much power over you and your heart. You own yourself and no one else does.
All I am trying to say is to always be prepared without dwelling on it. Just deal with those disappointments when they come, but do not sit around waiting for them. Don’t be shocked when they happen, and be grateful beyond measure when they don’t. Only you can decide what you deserve and can handle, so when these times come that people tempt the fate of breaking your “trust”, it is all in your power to make the decision of where you put your hope and effort from that moment on.
Most importantly, don’t let those ones who go too far leave you bitter. For every one person who threatens the misuse and abuse of the word trust, there’s a whole world of people who would work arduously to never being that person to you that does.
… Like me.
I love you to the Milky Way and back!
— Mommy XO
(Written by Heather Angelika
Owner/Founder of Gallant Girls)