When school and mosque and minaret
get torn down, then dervishes can
have their community. Not until
faithfulness turns to betrayal and
betrayal into trust can any human
being become part of the truth.
If you haven't been betrayed, I mean seriously turned inside-out by betrayal, then you're not fully alive yet. That's ok; don't worry. You'll get your chance.
It's pretty well guaranteed here on planet Earth that someone will betray you and that you will betray someone, too. Which, by the way, if you haven't betrayed someone yourself and done the work of acknowledging it (at least to yourself), then you're still not fully turned on to how infinitely incredible this journey is.
It is a beautiful trip, this life! Every twist and turn.
When you're enrolled in the course of Self-Cultivation, there are some intense, requisite classes you have to pass to earn your degree. Not all of them are gut-wrenching, I promise, though some will necessarily tear you to shreds. Your wealth is inside these rips and tears. Your shining, enlightened self dwells in shards of grief and joy, wisely standing by to will you through each class. Most of us end up flunking out and repeating courses again and again; no worries. The good news is: no matter how many times you fail, you can pass the class the moment - the MOMENT - you get the truth.
Among those requisites, I see the following, in no particular order:
Falling in Love
Grief and Loss
Leaving your Zipcode
Following your Bliss (finding out what that is, then
doing something constructive with it....)
Succeeding beyond your Measure (in a way that scares the helloutofyou)
This isn't an exhaustive list, just the major courses that have studded my own curriculum so far. I've taken and retaken many of these and keep signing up (often without realizing it!) to get this truth discovered. Of all of these classes, I find that betrayal bugger is the most daunting for my fellow classmates. We just can't seem to get past it.
We can't get past it because we don't know how to wield this thing called TRUST to the benefit of our full empowerment. Trust is the emotional boogeyman lurking in the shadows of the good life.
Are you nodding?
Is trust a nemesis to your calm?
Is it a four letter word in your lexicon?
Let me make it simple, then.
You can't trust anyone.
Not a soul. You canNOT trust anyone or anything.
This is not a cynical statement!
I would follow that last assertion by encouraging you to trust me, but if you take my words to heart, then you really can't trust me. The only person you need to learn to trust is you. Trusting others is irrelevant to your happiness. All that matters is whether or not you can trust You.
ability to trust yourself
and everyone else is
off the hook. Which
makes life so much
so how is my declaration that you "can't trust anyone" not a cynical statement? You can't trust anybody? Doesn't that mean you have to be constantly and consistently suspicious, guarded, pessimistic, disconnected and withholding, preparing to be let down and bitter for the rest of your life?
It means just the opposite. It liberates you to let go of suspicion, to fire the bouncers at your heart's entrance, to be wildly optimistic, to prepare for nothing and receive everything, to connect connect connect and give all you've got without ever losing.
The other day I was watching a TV show in which a girl was stuck in a relationship with a guy who kept beating her up, then telling her he loved her to win her back. The girl's friends were understandably none-to-thrilled with this arrangement and coached her to leave the guy in the dust. One friend pleaded: "Anybody who really loved you couldn't do this to you!"
It sounds logical when you first hear it. Clearly, this was not a healthy dating scenario. But the logic falls apart on inspection.
Because people who love you CAN do "this" to you. It's entirely possible the guy did legitimately love the girl he was abusing. In which case, love isn't the issue; trust is. Not her ability to trust him, but her ability to trust herself.
Humans are imperfect creatures. We get tangled easily in our own frazzled emotions and the various leashes we use to tether ourselves to our pasts, our expectations and our ideas of what the world is supposed to be like. As Ruiz so luminously points out in The Four Agreements though: we're all just doing the best we can. In any given moment, we are literally doing the best we can. It doesn't mean our "best" can't or shouldn't evolve from there, merely that it is the best we've got right now. When you learn to believe this and apply it liberally, you realize that you cannot trust anyone to do any better than what they're doing - a realization that sets you free.
You can't trust anyone because people will contradict themselves inside out and upside down all the time. Her friends are dead wrong when they tell her that he wouldn't beat her up IF he loved her. I wholeheartedly believe Love is a Verb, but often our actions have nothing to do with the love we feel for the person on the receiving end.
If you love me, you'll show me by the way you treat me.
Granted: the most enjoyable experience of love is governed by conscientious, loving gestures and tangible evidence. The highest expression of love is experienced through behavior which reflects its depth and light. The most nourishing relationships thrive on and amplify the love-verb in action.
For LOVE to be active this way, the person must first have enough self-esteem to allow it to decide what follows.
We have abundant examples of people who love tremendously but whose actions fail to show it; in fact, their actions often contradict the truth of that love because they don't have the self-esteem to allow their impulses to come from that place first and last. Parents who unleash their stress by yelling at their kids, even when they love beyond definition. Spouses who say really stupid, mean things in the heat of the moment, even when they just need a hug more than anything else. The best friend who hits on his buddy's girlfriend in an inebriated moment of delirium, even though he really loves his friend. The co-worker who sabotages her friend's rising status in the company even though she loves her and values her friendship; she's just terrified of being less.
The one who injures the other, in spite of love. The one who neglects the other, in spite of love. The one who leaves, who lies, who forgets, who lets you down, who bankrupts you, who tells you they'll stop but secretly keeps on... in spite of love... in spite of good intentions, mutual need, respect or other signs of sanity.
If you live your life thinking you need to trust him or her or that you have to prove to them that they can trust you, then you're in for a lot of repeat classes in the betrayal curriculum. You cannot trust them. Even when they love you. And they can't trust you, even when you love them. The only person whose trust matters is your own for yourself.
your need to trust them (a pithy way of saying your need for them to
fulfill expectations for how they behave in your story) - replace that
need with the big C:
c . o . m . p . a . s . s . i . o . n
Understand: I'm not advocating blind acceptance, gullibility or unearned sympathy. What I'm saying is that you do not have to trust them in order to accept the reality of their human limitations, their "stuff." The compassionate view sees things as they are, no more weight than that. Accept the fact that your fellow humans, your cohort in this crazy school of life, are imperfect and then trust yourself to be ok with that, regardless.
To get to this level of emotional agility, you have to trust yourself and become saturated with your own self-esteem. A parent who's emotions and actions run from a deep, active inner core of self-love, honored intuition and emotional stamina will be less likely to lose it with the kids. A spouse whose inner joy guides the conversation will be less likely to lash out or take it personally when things don't go as planned. A friend with genuine inner integrity will forgive a moment's indiscretion and/or forego it for the larger value.
And a girl who trusts herself to be good to herself will not hang one more day with a guy who leaves her black and blue, physically or emotionally. A friend who trusts himself will not hang one more day with a buddy who's not really honoring him. A grown up child who's built a strong sense of self will not linger one more day inside the memory of what mom or dad did or did not do to shape their early view of the world. Nor will (s)he hold others to an impossible standard of expectations fueled by the residue of past heartache. Forgiveness will feel like the easier option. Moving on will not necessarily mean the end of loving. Letting go will mean lightening up. For good.
I can't trust you.
I don't need to trust you.
I believe in you.
I believe in your value in my story.
I believe in your desire for love and your deepest wishes to be a healthy, happy, loving, jolly old soul.
I want that, too.
My love is UNconditional. It cannot be "earned." It cannot be "lost." My love for you bypasses all of the BS and baloney and simply IS what it is. It's durable and lasting. It lives beyond the betrayal, the breakup, the move, your death or the disappearance of the fun we once had together.
On the other hand,
my TRUST is not unconditional. It is wholly conditional. It must be earned (cultivated over time). My trust can be won. It can be lost.
And all of that is completely irrelevant to my joy.
am free to love you even when I can't trust you. Trust is not a
condition for love and love is not a condition for trust! Because I
trust myself, I can love easily and immediately. If you meet me
there, great. We'll have a ball! But if you bring on the ugly, if you
repeatedly let me down, if you can't get it together, I'm free to love
and walk away.
always wishing you well.
For some people,
this world ain't ever
gonna be right.
Is that supposed to
let me off the hook?
There is no hook, my
friend. There's only
what we do.
scene from Wyatt Earp,by Dan Gordon + Lawrence Kasdan...