The Best Way to Find Out If You Can Trust Somebody Is to Trust Them

Trusting somebody is like handing them your heart for safekeeping. It is like handing over the one organ that singlehandedly determines whether you are alive or whether you are dead, and with that gesture, your life hangs intricately in the balance completely under their mercy and control. You desperately hope that they will look after your heart as they would look after theirs; and you pray that it wasn’t a foolish decision to give them the one part of you that keeps your blood pumping, allowing the breath to flow in and out of your lungs.

When we trust somebody we are giving them the power to be able to hurt us and disappoint us. We strip ourselves completely bare and we invite them to view us in our most vulnerable state — a state free of the masks that we wear, free of the walls that we have built up so high as a form of defense, and a state where you relinquish the perception of control but handover a bit of that control to the hands of somebody else.

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Withholding trust may seem like the only way to prevent being hurt and disappointed, but it’s a counterintuitive approach and without opening ourselves up and without gifting our trust, we end up only pre-empting the pain that we are working so hard to avoid. So we are always waiting, always worrying and always suspecting the worst, living out our own worst fears through the vivid imagery dancing through our minds. But the reality is that we will never know what the future holds and we will never know whether allowing someone in beyond the veil of vulnerability will leave us gasping for breath as the life force is slowly squeezed from our hearts; but what good and what happiness have we ever received from holding trials for sins not yet committed? There is no peace in being suspicious of those that we are desperately yearning to have closest to us because relationships are built on the foundation of trust, but if we cannot relinquish our desire for control and our need to pre-empt an ending that may never be, how do we build a successful long-lasting relationship that is built upon a foundation filled with only cracks of fear and distrust?

Withholding trust may seem like the only way to prevent being hurt and disappointed, but it’s a counterintuitive approach and without opening ourselves up and without gifting our trust, we end up only pre-empting the pain that we are working so hard to avoid.

Trust may be as fragile as handing somebody your heart and asking them and believing in them to keep you safe and alive, it may send shivers up your spine as you drop the cloak of invincibility and allow them to see you for all that you are and all that you are not, and it may be terrifying as you realize that they have the power to break your heart; but waiting for someone to prove that you were right for not wanting to trust them is the saddest feat of all. There is no victor in the battle of distrust and control, only two weak and wounded beings grasping at the semblance of what could have been extravagantly spectacular.

There is no victor in the battle of distrust and control, only two weak and wounded beings grasping at the semblance of what could have been extravagantly spectacular.

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You can spend an entire lifetime suspiciously holding those that come too close at arm’s length to never learn which of those people deserved the trust that you so cautiously withheld. You will lose moments of greatness, love, and victory based on the need to viciously grip to the perception of control, but control has never meant that you have all the answers, it has never meant that the ending that you were avoiding was less avoidable, but it does mean that the journey was less enjoyable. Surrender to the unknown and allow yourself the grace to be pleasantly surprised, and when those moments come, bask in the glory of the journey and all that was gained, both positive and negative because in the wises words of the great Ernest Hemingway, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

Previously published on Medium.com.

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