Honesty and trust are all about perception. They are an illusion. I am sure this may raise some eyebrows but if you think carefully then you may come to understand my point.
I know my whole life I have had a hard time trusting or believing what people say. I think I have been burned too many times, from the time I was just a toddler to just last week. Every where you turn someone is selling you something in life, whether it be trust in them or just believing what they have to say, believing they are honest in their words. Even more than that, you hope they have a honest reason for saying what it is they are telling you. I think it is in most peoples nature to try and believe people unless they give you a reason not to.
Now coming from someone who has been burned more times than I care to admit, do I really believe that everyone did what they did or said what they said out of dishonesty or to damage the belief I have in them. I highly doubt it or I really need to take stock with the people I interact with on a daily basis. Let me see if I can give you a good example. Many parents have kids who play youth sports and for the most part each parent wishes their kid succeed in that sport. The level may change but I would think that for the most part parents want their child to succeed. It is also very hard for them to disassociate themselves with their feelings and look at their child’s performance without clouding their perspective. Now, I coach and have kids who play sports and I am as guilty as anyone. I watch my kids and I do one of two things, I focus so much on their performance I lose sight of the whole team or I am hyper-critical of their performance. When I focus on the good they are doing all I can do is hope that every time that my child does something right that the coach is paying attention to my kid at that moment and every time that my child makes a mistake, the coach may be preoccupied with another part of the game. I also cloud what I believe my children can do with what they are doing. Or I see all the mistakes and when people say nice things about their performance i wonder if they were watching the same game. My son for example played a game this weekend. For all but the last 10 min of the first half he did not play well, but the last 10 minutes he played very well. As his parent I wanted to focus on those last 10 min as his performance and hoped the coach saw he was getting better. The coach probably saw a player who was having an off day and so he made a change and did not play my kid in the second half. Was I disappointed? Sure and do I think my kid is better than he showed, yes! But the reality of it is he may not be. Maybe I am the one who focuses so much on his positive moments that I believe he is better than he really is showing. Now as I talk to other people about my children’s abilities I tell them what I honestly believe. Is it 100% accurate? To me it is, but it may not be to their coaches. Does that make it dishonest? Well that would be a matter of perception.
If I am talking to my children’s coaches then they probably think I am delusional. If I am talking to their grandparents, they would probably agree with me. One person can see exactly what I am seeing and believe I am telling the truth, the other, knowing I am also a coach may think I am lobbying for my child when I really know full well that they are not as good as I am making them out to be. So to one person I am giving an honest assessment but to another, they do not believe that to be the case. So am I honest or not? It is all a matter of perception.
But then again life is all a matter of perception. Look at Facebook. What is it really? It is a place to showcase all the positive attributes of your life. You show everyone how good your life is and how wonderful your family and friends are. The problem is it is a screwed view of one’s life but how many people compare themselves to the others based on this view.
What about your expectations of your life? Did those come from viewing those around us? Your family, your friends and relatives all play a part in how you think your relationships and your life should look. If it does not meet those expectations then you feel like a failure. Yet, did you really see all the problems, all the stress and worry that you now feel as an adult. You take all that stuff for granted when you are young, but it still creates an image you try to live up to as an adult. Do we all have the same models to learn from? Of course not, that is why there is such a wide range of people and personalities and acceptable behaviors. I don’t know how many times I have thought I am so glad that is not my kid. Yet, I wonder how many times someone has said that about my kids.
So how do you really trust someone? How can you believe they are being honest with you? You only have to convince yourself that they are worth trusting and that they are telling you the truth. Sounds easy but it is far from that. The problem is our perception is skewed to not allow us to trust and that people are not always honest with us. So it makes us look at everything with a very jaded pair of spectacles. It takes a lot of work to lower those spectacles and believe in people, but that is also why it is so hard to raise them back up once you have lowered them. You always tend to trust the people closest to you even when everything points in the other direction. You don’t want to believe that you are wrong. You want to keep the perception of that person so you convince yourself that you are right and everyone else and everything is not right.
However, once that perception is destroyed, after you lowered the spectacles you will never get that perception back. You will never trust like you did before. In fact you will never look at anything the same again.
But in reality if you want to trust, if you want to believe, then all you have to do is make yourself do it. Change your perception to fit what you want. Fit your view to get what you want. Sounds so simple… Too bad our head often gets in the way. Too bad our past haunts our future. Too bad we cannot keep that positive perception of people throughout life. Personally I don’t trust. I am extremely private and do not like to talk about most parts of my life even with my family members. I know I grew up in a household that fostered an environment that structured me to think the way I do to survive. But if I want to change all I should be able to do is look at things differently, change my perspective. But I feel like I am risking too much to do that. I feel like I would rather keep everything at a distance and then I can protect myself. I can keep people from breaking my trust by never giving it to them in the first place. Can I change? I don’t know… and I don’t know it I want to either. Then again life is only an illusion.