I always thought the trust fall was an interesting exercise in trust, as the liability of accidental physical harm is too great to decide not to catch the other person. That exercise instills more fear in a potential lawsuit than it does instilling trust in others. But I digress.
The reason why I use this image and that description is because trust isn’t about one large act – it’s about small moments throughout the course of your life, which define how you build trust with friends, family, and even yourself. In fact, you truly cannot begin to trust others until you trust yourself.
We develop trust (or even a lack thereof) based on pain/pleasure we feel with certain people and experiences. If you feel happy in that person or experience, you automatically develop a trust that causes you to say, “I think I’ll see that person again” or “I think I’ll try that experience again”. On the flip side, if you feel any sort of negative emotion, you believe that you cannot trust that person or experience again, and thus choose to avoid it.
I’ll give an example. When I was in my very early teenage years, I was a cheerleader and what they call a “flyer”. I was thrown up in stunts that at the time, seemed death-defying. One day, a year or so in, I was dropped in a freak accident and while nothing broke or sprained, a fear engulfed me so bad that I ended up becoming a horrible flyer and thus, was taken off of stunts altogether. (I ended up switching to dance team in high school, as a result.) This fear that engulfed me was a huge mistrust that my team was going to drop me again. In fact, that mistrust in my team carried over into a mistrust in my friendships, which caused me to become extremely self-conscious. In other words, I doubted myself and my abilities as a cheerleader, as a friend, and as a teammate. When you become self-conscious, you tend to see things in a different lens, as though everyone is out to get you, and even start to expect that nothing will ever go your way. Pretty big downward spiral at the age of 13, huh (Note: Could have also been related to hormones)?
But, those feelings of mistrust did carry over throughout much of my life (in various forms), causing me to be so wound up that my rather harsh reactions were based on negative expectations I had already set in my mind. I had a very hard time trusting anyone because I was not trusting myself. (Note: The teenage years, and my 20s, were rough. My 30s have been amazing!)
How meditation changed this:
In meditation practices, there are no beliefs. You connect with own awareness, which results in no need to believe in good/bad, fair/unfair in each experience you encounter. In other words, when I remained present, I began to enjoy all that an experience had to offer, which constantly triggered pleasure, rather than pain. Thus, the more I remained present, the less I felt pain. The less I felt pain, the more my trust went up!
So how to put this into practice…
Much like my post yesterday, start with 5 minutes of remaining present anywhere, and increase it by 5 as often as you can. Alternatively, if you’re already practicing that, think of a negative situation that caused mistrust, think about how else you could have handled it, what you learned from it, and begin to think of how thankful you are for the experience, and how it made you stronger. I realize there are some very tough situations out there that might make this impossible to do, but I also realize that with even the worst of life experiences, we can turn them into positives, simply by helping others who may be going through the same thing. Helping even one other person triggers more trust in yourself and others, while bestowing the same on the other. In turn, that other person might carry the torch and so on. Imagine what much of the world would be like if everyone followed each other down this path. Your trust and belief in yourself can literally trigger a global change… definitely something amazing to think about as you go through your day!