I will briefly sum up last weeks blog in one sentence: True Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves, to re-discover our joy, our faith and our love; I can think of no other gift more precious and unique.
Once I learned the art of true forgiveness and was free from the pain of my past, I began to experience a renewed innocence and wonder about the world…but, I was no longer naive for I carried my hard-earned wisdom with me. Having come so far on the journey of forgiveness I thought I knew all there was to know; I did not…but I was lucky to have someone in my life offer me a deeper lesson.
If you have forgiven me, then why don’t you trust me?!
These words were harshly whispered into my face by a person who deeply hurt me. When I heard them utter these words I paused because they ‘sounded reasonable’ but they ‘felt horrible’. I was unsure how to respond as they huffed fiercely in my face, demanding an answer, demanding to know why I would not “just move on and get over it.”
It took more strength than Atlas lifting the world onto his shoulders for me to respond with these few words, “Forgiveness does not equal Trust.”
All hell broke loose with these words…but I stood firmly in my new understanding that forgiveness is not the same as trust…and I am free to choose when to give trust.
The Inner Truths of Forgiveness.
To Give, or Not To Give.
Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Trust is a gift we give others.
There are many different types of trust: I trust a co-worker to be on time, I trust a neighbor to gather mail while away, I trust a friend not to steal, etc. These are all important types of trust and it is quite easy to give them away any ‘ole time we feel like it, and with most people, trust is a gift well-given.
The type of trust I speak about in this blog is very different, it is the trust necessary to allow another person entrance to the sanctuary of the heart.
The Sanctuary of the Heart
Some people do not understand the trust I am referring to because they have never fully opened their heart – ever. Other people know this trust exists because they have fully opened their heart – and those courageous enough to fully share their heart may have discovered that a person they allowed into their sanctuary was not trustworthy, either because they were unconscious, incapable, or destructive. <<these differences matter, more next week>>
I am one of those that fully shared my heart with someone who severely damaged my sanctuary. At that time, I did not understand how trust is given/grown by the commitment of each person to be a safe-haven for and vulnerable with the other.
Yet, vulnerability is always accompanied by feelings of fear/apprehension and a certain amount of risk, so how do we know when it is safe to be vulnerable?
The “pollyanna” within me used to believe that “people are good so being vulnerable all the time is ok!”… but experience has shown me that this is not a healthy belief, which does not mean I am never vulnerable, it means I am discerning about Trust: the how, the who and the when.
Now that I understand trust cannot thrive when haphazardly given, hither and thither, to any ole folk…trust is best when grown through time.
Grown Through Time
I confused trust with forgiveness many times, so many times that I eventually barred the doors to my sanctuary and let not-a-soul in; I was very, very lonely. I am sure there are better ways to learn than the way I chose, but for me it was the only way because I needed time to be alone with my heart and to understand trust.
Trust-of-the-heart is not an elusive and mystical thing, as flighty as a butterfly upon a strong breeze. Trust-of-the-heart is a deep intuitive sense of safety while in the presence of another person. This is the space in which I feel so safe with another that I relax into my authenticity without even noticing; no need for my guards, walls, defenses, worry nor protection.
Today, those that freely share my sanctuary have shown me by their actions, not their flowery and impressive words, but by genuine and sincere actions, through time.
Trust is Grown Through Time
Giving the gift of trust is a beautiful art and it is with my children that I first learned how to grow/give the gift of trust. My children are priceless, and they are also trusted companions in my life because they never insisted nor asked that I trust them, they never badgered me about not trusting them…they just kept being exactly who they are…and allowed me to discover the truth of their kindness, honesty, respect and their commitment to love and forgiveness, through time.
To them, I am eternally indebted.
When I am with those in my life who have shown me they are trustworthy, I do not need to make a conscious decision to ‘trust them’ because our history together allows me to naturally feel safe. And there is never a need to force anything because we have grown our trust together.
Yet, even the trustworthy make mistakes (me!). But the trustworthy are quick to offer a true apology without insisting that they be forgiven, nor be trusted in the same manner as they were before the mistake.
The trustworthy are willing to earn/grow trust anew, without rushing the process, and with immense patience and understanding of how trust is earned/grown: slowly and with sincerity.
I did not plan to bring Love into this conversation because this four letter word is such a complex and delicate elephant-in-every-room, but I shall include love briefly as it is an important component of the heart.
Love, Trust and Forgiveness are all vital aspects of a healthy heart. They continually weave into and out of each other, braiding new dimensions in our hearts and lives.
Braiding Love, Trust and Forgiveness
It is important to understand that although these three are companions within the heart, they are not interchangeable.
- There are people I trust, whom I do not love.
- There are people I love, whom I do not trust.
- There are people I forgive, whom I do not trust (nor perhaps love).
<<for me, everyone has earned my forgiveness, simply by being. i may currently be incapable of offering certain people forgiveness, but i seek the day when i can forgive all, freely>>
It is important to discern the difference between these three because we are each a complicated human being, dealing with complex humans.
Humans have a habit of being inconsistent.
~ my wise son
Yes, humans are terribly inconsistent, which is why forgiveness is an important aspect of a loving, trusting relationship.
So, while I have forgiven many people and love numerous people, there are only a handful of people whom I have given the gift of complete trust; mostly, I have complex relationships with people who have earned varying degrees of trust: plus the slew of people I trust with nothing more than superficiality. 🙂
There are so many layers within this blog that I could spend days parsing out the nuances. Which is what I shall do this week! So, don’t forget to remain thoughtful about this topic throughout the week…here are a few ideas:
- How often do I open my heart and fully share with someone I trust?
- If seldom, do I wish to do so more? What prevents me?
- Am I struggling to share my heart with others?
- If yes, which aspect of the braid (love, trust, forgiveness) can I seek deeper understanding about, in order to fully share my heart again?
- Do my actions clearly reveal to others that I am a trustworthy person?
- If no, what do I need to change?
- Are my apologies complete or incomplete…not just words?
- Am I interested in creating new vitality in my intimate relationships by learning how to braid love, trust and forgiveness?