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I’m guilty of extraordinary naivete, I suppose. But it’s a naivete that I really don’t want to abandon, not even now. – Jock Sturges

Growing up, my sister always has said to me, “Liz you are far too trusting. Make people earn your trust.”
She has a point. I am very trusting. Sometimes it works out. Other times I have growing pains. I think the times I trust without it being warranted, or earned, something is being worked out within me.

What is being worked out? Well, many things. It’s a pretty good indicator where I am at on the “Liz deserves…” scale. I have learned that I tolerate things from others to the extent that I treat myself in “less than deserving” ways. I am not proud of this discovery, but it gives me a frame of reference and I can improve on this. I also have to remind myself that I have actually improved in this area. Change takes time, and time takes time. Gee, maybe a little more gentleness and compassion for myself is a side-lesson in this? :)

I also discover that my intuition about people is 99% right most of the time. It’s when I let self-doubt creep in that I get into trouble. I can see red flags within the first one or two interactions with someone. Then I often play devil’s advocate, and sometimes choose wrongly to invest in connections with people, rather than keep them at arm’s length. I believe all people are good people; some are just not good for me to interact closely with. People show you the first time what they are about. It’s my choice whether I believe them that first time, or if I go around the same issue time and time and time again.

Sometimes I blindly accept and trust others out of a need for companionship and reducing loneliness. I went for lunch with a new friend on the weekend. Through sharing her experiences, she confirmed for me that quality of friends is better than quantity. “It’s okay to say ‘no’ to certain people, in order to say ‘yes’ to ourselves” is the pearl that this new friend gave me in that conversation. We haven’t known each other long by any means but there is a sense that we have traveled a lot of the same steps when it comes to figuring out where we stand in our lives and what we have experienced. I always feel better after we meet. Perhaps that’s a good gauge to use as far as trusting people is concerned. How do I feel around them? Empowered and centered or lowly and scattered?

Gratitude is another thing that I find myself in the midst of when I learn another lesson and peel off another layer of an old wound that needs healing. Trust issues are one of my major wounds. People come into my life to help me heal this. I absolutely realize that while I do trust easily, I am still a decent person that believes in people. I forget that the person on the other end of the relationship also has responsibility in the equation. They have their lessons to learn as well. It’s not all my fault. They chose me as much as I chose them, and will come to their own awarenesses in all of this.

Trusting myself is the bottom line here. The more I am rooted in my own truth, and not letting outside factors of people pleasing and loneliness dictate my actions, the more balanced I will be in trust versus naivete.

How can you discern better when to trust others, and when to keep them at arm’s length? Trusting yourself leads to a life that has less limits around trust issues.