Journey to Trust

Trust is a state of consciousness.  We cultivate trust when we feel safe with a person or a situation.  Then we can relax and let things unfold.  Trust enables life to move forward.  It is like grease on the axle of a car. All the parts move better when they are lubricated.  Without trust, the parts begin to chafe and grind against each other.  There is more friction, more resistance, less productivity.  Trust in ourselves, trust in each other, and trust in the universe allows us to move out of struggle into grace. 

Opposite States of Consciousness:  Distrust, Suspicion, Resistance, Lack of confidence in self and others, Over-analysis or deliberation, Unwillingness to take a risk or let go of an unneeded restraint or protection.  When we experience distrust, we need to look at the blocks to love within our own hearts.  We need to understand the fear that makes us freeze up emotionally and dig our heals in, preventing change and new energy from coming in.

The Teaching

Trust is powerful.  So is Distrust.  Trust in a green light to the energy that wants to express with us and through us.  Distrust is a red light that stops the energy in its tracks so that we can take time to look around and see if anyone has our back.
     Of course, if we feel unsafe, we cannot trust anyone, including ourselves.   So to cultivate trust we need to create safety around us.  When we know a person or a situation well, we usually feel safe, relax and trust.   But if we don’t know someone, we might not feel safe with that person initially.  That is quite natural.  Trust takes time to develop, so we must give ourselves time to be with the person or the situation until we know if we feel safe.
     A very distrustful person is so injured by the past that s/he hardly ever feels safe. S/he is careful and self-protective, always waiting for the shoe to drop.  Such a person does not easily experience intimacy with others and, if s/he does, it is quite limited and conditional.  
     Wounded and distrustful people need to go through an intensive healing process before they can begin to feel safe and trust themselves and others.  Trust is always a casualty of abuse, and only as healing happens can trust in self and others be restored.
     Of course, it is true that all of us are carrying childhood wounds and so we all have trust issues to some degree.  For most of us, the healing process begins not by trying to trust others, but by learning to trust ourselves.   That is because it is impossible to trust another person if we do not trust ourselves. 
     So we take the first step into our healing process by acknowledging the fear and the shame that stem from our wounds.  As we become more conscious of our shadow material, we see how we project it onto others. We put the problem out there in the world, where we cannot solve it no matter how many locks we put on our doors or alarm systems we install. 
     The problem is not an external one.  Even though others may have wounded us or betrayed us, the hurt is being carried inside. The walls that must be taken down have been erected within our own minds and hearts.  
     This gets a bit tricky, because it is not our fault that someone attacked or betrayed us in the past.   As a child we do not know when a situation or a person is dangerous.  And often abuse happened because our parents or other caretakers were not protecting us sufficiently.  So we did not cause the abuse but we experienced it and at some level we are still carrying the pain and the shame of it around with us.  And, on a deep unconscious level, we blame ourselves for what happened, even though it was not our fault.
     As adults we need to learn to take ourselves off the hook.  We need to forgive ourselves for what happened to us and learn to bring love to the child within who was traumatized.  This takes time and deep emotional work.
     If we stay with our healing process long enough we create a deep bond with the child within and we make a commitment to love and protect that child in the future.  We re-parent ourselves.  We become the protective and responsible parents that we did not have growing up.  So now it becomes our responsibility to create safety for the child.   And, as we said, as we create safety, trust can gradually be restored.
     You have heard the expression “trust but verify.”  We are saying something similar.  We are saying “feel safe first and then trust will come gradually over time.”  Feeling safe is going to involve investigating and getting to know the person and situation.  We don’t walk into the room until we know that the room is reasonably safe. 
     Trust issues for severely abused people can take one of two very different forms.  The obvious one – the one we have already mentioned – is inability to trust.  But the other one that occurs is “inappropriate trust.”  This means that we continue to trust people we have no business trusting and constantly re-create our wounds. 
     The urgent need in this situation is to create boundaries with others so that we can stop attracting abusers into our lives.  We cannot begin our emotional healing work if we are still stuck in a vicious cycle of abuse.  We need to protect ourselves from people who would injure or control us.   And we sometimes need to ask for help in order to extricate ourselves from an abusive situation.
      So you can see that lack of trust is a universal issue.  All of us need to learn to trust more, but we must start where trust begins, in our own hearts.  Our initial challenge is to forgive and trust ourselves, and then to learn to set appropriate boundaries so that we feel safe with others.
      Cultivating trust is a process that takes time and emotional courage.  So we need to be patient and take baby steps.  We cannot rush the process or force ourselves to trust before we are ready. 

The Practice

Today, notice when you are not trusting others or yourself.  Get in touch with the fear or shame that is making it difficult for you to trust and understand the wound behind it.  How were you abandoned or betrayed in the past?  
     Your childhood wounds and the shame and fear associated with them cause you to contract and freeze up emotionally. A red light comes on and the energy stops flowing in your life.  In the desire to protect yourself you shrink back from opportunities that might benefit you.
      When the red light comes on, you have to stop and pay attention.  You can’t force yourself to move forward if you don’t feel safe, so focus on why you don’t feel safe and ask yourself what you can say or do to create greater safety in the situation.   By honoring the red light, you mitigate the danger, and you might find a way to move forward slowly.  Or you might have to tell others that you feel scared and overwhelmed you can’t move forward now.  You might have to tell them you need time and ask for their patience.
      Today, when the red light comes on, take the pressure to move forward off the table.  Stop, pause, breathe, tune in and take time to create safety.  Understand that just because you don’t feel safe now doesn’t mean that you will never feel safe.  There are just things that you may need to say or do in order to be ready to move though the fear or the shame that is coming up for you.  Oftentimes, setting boundaries with others will create enough safety for you to move forward.
     If your pattern is to trust inappropriately stop running the red lights.  Something is compelling you to speed up and lose control.  You may be ignoring or overruling your fear and that puts you in danger.  Learn to feel your fear and make friends with it.  Then you can slow down your reactive behavior and stop putting yourself blindly and repeatedly at risk.
     Once you trust yourself to create safety, trust in others will come little by little.  It will be an organic process.  You will stop at the red light and move forward when the light turns green.  You will stay out of dangerous situations and gravitate toward people and situations that are safer for you.  
     In time you will see the amazing results that occur when you feel safe enough to follow your heart and trust the universal energies moving through you. Things that used to be difficult to accomplish will happen easily and without great struggle or effort.  Trust helps you live in the flow of the universe.  You move with the flow of the river, instead of against it.  Life becomes more spontaneous and joyful.  Trust in yourself, in others and in the divine leads to a life of surrender and grace.

Journaling Questions

Where in your life do you need to create greater safety and trust with others? Are there people in your life who are not trustworthy? 

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