Trust

Posted 3/9/17
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When thinking about the importance of trust my mind automatically goes to trust in relationships, romantic or otherwise. Without trust, deep connection cannot be achieved or maintained. Trust is the foundation of every significant relationship, with others and with yourself. So if broken, the damage can be irreparable. I’m learning that trust needs to be earned gradually for it to mean anything. When given too soon, without the other party earning it, it can decrease its value and increase the chances of it being abused.

I never had an issue trusting in relationships, in fact I would go as far as to say I was too trusting. I put my heart out there to those that had not yet earned that level of trust in me, and were at times quick to abuse it. What I was never much good at though, was trusting life, trusting in something bigger and trusting in myself.

Okay so it may sound strange to trust in life, but bear with me. Believing in a force outside of myself, call it life, the Universe, fate, whatever, has been one of the most significant factors in calming my anxiety. As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, I tend to worry. A lot. What could happen to the people around me? Where am I going in life? What if things don’t work out? My fears, rational and irrational, reek of trust issues. I used to believe that everything was 100% on my shoulders and that if I failed myself I would be forever doomed. This caused me to push myself to overachieve, or the opposite, procrastinate to avoid potential failure.

When this fear-based paralysis took hold, I began to think back to how previous obstacles in my life had panned out. Over time I realised that there had always been a higher intervention, something beyond my control. I would suddenly get a job I didn’t apply for, or meet people by chance, who completely turned things around for me. In the few cases where my worst fears did come true, it ended up ultimately being the greatest lesson and growth I could have ever experienced.

So I now choose to trust. First and foremost, that everything will turn out exactly as it’s supposed to, and secondly if things don’t go the way I hoped, that I have the mental strength to endure it.

The power of trust was never more prevalent than when I lived in New York. My boyfriend and I moved from Ireland without jobs, friends or much of a plan. We went through 5 apartments in one year (7 if you include the two hotel rooms where we took refuge, after finding ourselves in a dodgy Airbnb). In our latest case of almost homelessness, we were due to leave our apartment within the next two days, had a room full of furniture and despite all our searching still hadn’t found anywhere to stay. While I was definitely on edge, my friends were surprised at how calm I seemed.

The only way I could keep my sanity and hope intact, was remembering all the past times in New York, when we had no idea where we were going to sleep the following night. Each time, the perfect situation or apartment appeared at the last second, just when we were about to lose all hope. And while I knew had to do everything in my power to find somewhere to live, I also had to believe that the outcome wasn’t going to be entirely up to me.

Sure enough, the day before we were due to move out, we found the perfect room, in the perfect location that didn’t even require a security deposit.

New York provided so many of these random miracles when I surrendered some of my control, that I could no longer deny the presence of something bigger. This realization has improved my outlook and significantly lowered my stress levels.

The following are ways that I now try to incorporate trust into my life:

 

  • I trust that there is a rough plan for me and, while I need to work my ass off and take responsibility for my progress, the Universe will meet me halfway when I show up for myself.
  • I trust that even if things go wrong, I will be taken care of in one way or the other. I love the quote ‘jump and the net will appear’. This faith allows me to step out of my comfort zone and take the risks that help me to grow.
  • I trust that I will never be given anything that I can’t handle or that’s not for my highest good in the long run.
  • I trust my own mind and thoughts, because they can only bring me down if I give them power to.
  • I trust in other people. That they won’t turn their back on me if I let my guard down or show imperfection.
  • I trust that when things are hard, they will get better. Because they always do, even if I can’t feel it at the time. Life is constantly changing and evolving and nothing is permanent, so I remind myself that everything, good or bad, will pass anyway.

 

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Photos by @Staceymala

Building up this level of belief takes practice and patience, but I’ve found that the more I trust in the Universe, the more it shows up for me in positive ways and gives me reason to keep the faith. Even saying the word to myself can stop a full-blown panic attack in its tracks. Trust is the ultimate antidote to fear.

Here are some ways to have a little more faith:

 

  1. Recognize that it is a choice. You can choose to believe that everything is happening for you or you can worry, doubt and resist. I always try to weigh the cost of things. The cost of trusting in life is that it may disappoint me. But the cost of not trusting for me is living in anxiety, fear and over attachment to false securities. Evaluate the costs and choose wisely.

 

 

  1. Have a back-up plan – believing that nothing bad or horrible will happen is comforting, but can be disempowering for an anxious mind. Life is unpredictable and we can never 100% guarantee a positive outcome. This 1% chance is emotional fuel for anxiety and panic, so set yourself a backup plan should the worst happen: i.e. ‘I trust that this bad thing won’t happen, but if it does, then [insert wonderful back up plan/coping strategy here].

 

  1. Remind yourself of past times when you felt sad, scared or insecure about the future. How did things turn out? If they have generally panned out well then, that may be reason enough to believe they will again. As I mentioned, trust needs to be earned for it to mean anything. But even if life has been too crap for you to trust in it, have faith in your own resilience. You are still here despite everything and with every struggle you learned, grew and strengthened your emotional reflexes. Recognize that you are your own safety net, and the outside world won’t seem as scary.

 

 

  1. If you can’t rely on anything else, then rely on yourself. Become aware of what your body is telling you. Listen to your gut feeling and instincts and follow them when possible. They are your inner navigation system and will rarely lead you wrong.

 

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Top – Pull&Bear, Trousers – Penneys,  Bag – Unknown (All Thrifted), Shoes – Oasis

 

So, what does all this even mean? Should we K.O. on the couch with a bag of Doritos and watch our lives pass us by, in the name of ‘trusting in the process’? This is a temptation I was guilty of indulging in in the past. Until I realised that it’s just as destructive and fear-based as trying to manipulate and bend life to my every desire.

As with everything, it needs to be a relationship. Life won’t show up for you if you don’t show up for yourself. Rather than taking on the enormous responsibility of controlling exactly how events will unfold, simply focus on your side of the deal. i.e. putting in the work and doing the very best that you can to achieve your goals, while releasing the burden of expectation. Allow life to meet you half way and enjoy the freedom of surrender.

I promise you, it won’t disappoint.

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Lots of love,

Lisa

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