I like to plan things. I do this because I like to know what’s happening.
If I’m in control then if anything goes wrong the only person I will be disappointed in is me… and I can deal with that.
So it came as a bit of a surprise to me the other day when I text a few friends and said I had a free evening and did they want to do something, anything they could think of. Of course, as soon as I’d sent the texts I began to regret it and thought of immediately inventing a text delete or rewind button to retrieve sent text from cyberspace.
‘Ah well …’ I thought, ‘let’s just see who gets back in touch.’
I had released some of my control and it felt strange for a while. My mind started making plans about how I’d get out of this rash decision making moment. Was it panic that came and settled on my shoulders making my muscles tense? Maybe it was the unfamiliar fear of letting someone else look into my mind and be in touch with my feelings.
I have had times in the past when I felt that I was too quick to trust people, I experienced deep disappointments and then I learnt to trust only myself. But eventually that leads to loneliness. Even when I was surrounded by groups of people I knew that I was standing alone. I only had faith in myself. I somehow comforted myself that that was the best position to be in. It wasn’t.
Having the strength to believe in the goodness of others is not hard. People really do want to know each other and be known.
I clearly remember the first person who asked me to do something for them and without hesitation I said yes. My dear friend said ‘Marj, can you do me a favour?’
She didn’t say what it was or give me any further details about who, when, where, what or why but I knew that because she had asked and because I trusted her that there was not danger in the request. I knew her. I believed in her goodness. I knew her goodness would not mean anything negative for me. So I went ahead without fear.
I think that after disappointments we learn to protect ourselves sometimes we close down our lines of communication and trust in order to heal the injury. What this weekend has highlighted to me is that after an emotional injury you have to learn to have faith in people again just like a baby learning to walk. You have to take small steps until the faith and trust muscles are strong enough to take you through the unknown.
Exercising trust builds good muscles. Control muscles, like everything else, needs balance. These work great together. Fear of letting go can cause intense social cramps. Working the combined faith and trust muscles gives me increased flexibility and wonderful experiences.
I had several replies to my texts. All very bright. People were busy, working or had other arrangements planned but they wanted to do something with me as soon as we were both free. I smiled. That alone was worth the risk of sending the texts. Although I was not going out with them as I had hoped, I was still happy.
Then I got an unexpected call. And from there my whole weekend changed.
I have been learning again.
I have trusted myself to make good decisions.
I have been working my ‘faith in others’ muscles.
I ended up having a spectacular weekend and I don’t feel as if I’ve lost anything by not being in control all the time.
The release and the pleasure that I gained from having faith in someone else gave me a brilliant feeling of satisfaction and peace.
It didn’t really matter whether it all turned out marvellously or not - but on this occasion it did - the point that I learned again was that I cannot trust someone or something until I’ve given them the chance to prove themselves trustworthy. For me, this weekend, trust has meant giving up control and relying on something or someone other than me.
It was fun and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.
I released control and got stronger at the same time.
It’s all good.