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Friday, December 6, 2013

Trusting Myself - And Others

Learning to trust is one of life's most difficult tasks.

I used to trust everyone and everything.  Most people would probably call me naive.  I think I just always wanted to see the best in other people.  Don't get me wrong, I still look for the good in others, in just takes me awhile to trust them completely.

I could probably take this issue all the way back to my teenage years.  As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I wasn't the most social kid in the world.  Heck, I'm not a really social adult.  But, as a teenager, I never found a place where I fit in.  I tried to be so much like the people I thought I should be friends with that I never really found a place for myself.  I wasn't athletic, I wasn't artsy and I just wasn't sure where I fit in.  I trusted a lot of people and they ended up turning their backs on me in a lot of different ways.  Now, of course I realize that this all part of being a teenager as well as just growing pains.  But, in a way, it was a little different for me.  I never really found that core group of friends that I went through school with.  Even in high school and college.

I really thought when I started my first real job that a lot of this trouble trusting people would disappear.  It did for a little while.  But, as different things started to happen, I really had trouble trusting some of the people I spent the most time with.  That may sound harsh, and I won't go into detail, but let's just say that, sometimes, being really nice and helpful and always willing to do more than my part bit me in the butt more than once.  But I just kept trying.  I don't think I realized the negative effect it was having on my self-esteem.  I had a few friends that I really trusted and would tell things to but, sometimes its difficult to enjoy working with people when you don't trust them.  Most of the time I put on a good show, but overall, it was very difficult for me and a big reason why I turned to food for comfort time and again.  

When my mom confronted me with all of this at the beginning of the year, I think I finally cried all of the tears I've needed to cry for so long.  All of the emotion that I kept locked up inside myself for so long finally came to the surface.  I remember, for a couple of days, I kinda felt like a zombie.  In some ways, I was relieved.  In others, I was scared because I had no idea where to go.

I've probably written a little about this before so I'll try to not repeat myself.  In a nutshell, trusting new people has been a huge issue for me for more years than I count.  That's probably why I struggle to meet new people and make new friends.  I often question motives and have to feel people out before I'll open up, even a little bit.

When I met Renee', I'm sure I did a little of that.  The idea for this blog entry came from a conversation I had with her this week.  She doesn't know that but it's okay ;)  I'm not sure what I was looking for but I must have found it.  Almost immediately I would say thank you and she'd tell me to stop, that she was looking forward to establishing a friendship with me.  Huh?  I didn't know what to do with that at first except smile and look forward to talking / texting / emailing with her.  Still took me a couple months to stop saying thank you all the time (I only say it a little bit now).  She answered all my stupid questions (and still does) and really took the time to get to know me.  She broke down all the walls that I had built up around myself.  She made me see that there are people in the world that I can trust and I don't have to question the motives of everyone around me.  

Without all of the time and effort she put into pulling me out of my "hole" I wouldn't have applied for my current job.  I am so lucky to be working in a field that I love with amazing co-workers that I knew I could trust from the moment I met them.  Most of that is because they are just amazing people.  The rest of it is because Renee' finally got me to stop questioning myself all the time.  Don't get me wrong, I still question things at times but I am probably the most relaxed version of myself I can remember in recent history.  Or probably the last 20 years.  

I've said before that I don't know how Renee' has gotten me to do 90% of the things I've done this year.  But, like I told her this week, it's actually pretty simple.  I trust her.  And that's a word I don't throw around easily.  I'm so lucky to have her as a friend.  Although I haven't even known her a year, it's hard for me to remember my life without her friendship.

Looking at all of these "bad" things with fresh eyes, while they weren't ideal or fair, it's just the way my life turned out and it has led me to where I am today.  These experiences play a huge role in how I am able to relate to many different people and experiences they are having that they might be struggling with.  

Trust is a hard thing to establish, earn and keep with lots of different aspects of your life.  But, once you figure it out, it's one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.