I have learned many things from my parents and the people around me with time. As a matter of fact, I am still learning to this day on different levels. It is accurate to say that education is not something that concerns us up until the age of eighteen when we graduate from high school. We go on to learn more at university. We learn during our various internships at many companies in different industries in order to get the work done during the period of time we will be there. We learn how to play football, the guitar, how to sing and act, how to respectfully talk to and treat other people, how to start and maintain a healthy relationship with friends or that special someone whom we might decide to spend forever with.
Life is a never-ending learning curve. The school of life is never over as the more we learn, the more we realise that we do not know anything. That is the beauty of our existence: we can always do better. There is always room for growth and improvement. However, I will pause on one particular notion my father taught me whenever I interact with anyone or I see something happening in front of me. He told me to always ask myself: “What is in it for me?”.
For many, this question is perceived as a sign of selfishness as it involves the idea that people would never do anything for others for free. The concept that every person you meet in life has their own personal agenda in mind and that whenever they do something to help you or tell you something in particular, the endgame is to reach the goal set in that agenda. It does not surprise me that with this mindset implemented that the following lesson is also connected to the same idea: the lesson to not trust anyone.
“Act like you trust people, but do not.”
The phenomenon of trusting someone is probably as old as loving someone, since in order to love someone we have to be willing to trust them, to be vulnerable around them and let them. We are aware of what might happen if we do so, and yet we still choose to trust certain people in our lives – sometimes even with our lives. In my opinion, trust is the biggest risk we will ever take in life, as it involves placing all of our uncertainty and outcome in one person or a group of people. Most often than not, we take that risk without being conscious of our actions. When practice is over and you call your parents to let them know, they tell you to wait for them by the gate and that they will be there in fifteen minutes. In other words, they are asking you to trust them, and the reason we end up waiting for them there is because they have proven to us time after time that they are worthy of trust. However, that is the tricky side of trusting people.
It takes time to learn to trust someone, and yet when the first broken promise happens, all those years of trust built vanish into thin air. From that moment on, things will never be the same. The broken trust turns into a wound that might never heal, to the point that some even develop a phobia related to it called pistanthrophobia. We become unable to trust people ever again, not just those who hurt us.
Trust is a huge investment to make and once it backfires on us, we become averse towards investing time, money and effort into making it work. People can become closed off and do their best to shield themselves from ever opening up to someone again. If taken to the extreme, this said phobia can even turn into paranoia, with the thought that no one is ever sincere with them. I remember reading a conversation which entailed the following:
“Why don’t you accept compliments?
Because I constantly feel like I am being lied to.”
A broken trust may even lead to the destruction of one’s self confidence, making them feel like something is wrong with them which would explain why someone would hurt them. At that point, compliments do not feel genuine anymore. Favours and kind actions seem fake or even out of pity. We start to create various scenarios in our minds in order to convince ourselves that we are not going crazy and prove ourselves right not to trust the people around us.
“You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible”.
Imagine that you love football (I know I do). One day, you get heavily injured during a game and the doctor says that you will have to be sidelined for three months. The injury is very painful and it hurts you to see that for a month, you will not be able to play the game you love. You have invested time, effort, money, blood, sweat and tears for that game, and now it is all gone. Three months go by, and the doctor says that you can play football again. Will you go back on the field and play that game you love, running the risk of getting injured and going through this entire painful process all over again? Or will you decide to give up on that sport and never go near it again? Just because it backfired on you once, it does not mean that you should give up on something that makes you happy. Falling down and getting hurt by the people/things you love is part of every person’s growth process. The same approach should be used when it comes to trust.
You will not be the exact same person you were before the event happened, and therefore will have to be careful in order not to make the same mistake again. Nevertheless, it is better to run the risk of getting hurt again than it is to miss out on all the great things that you will get to experience if you stick your neck out again.