Not that you lied to me but that I no longer believe you has shaken me.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
Yes. At least, I've been willing to try lately. One out of eleven people of earned back my trust in the past fifteen months. Out of the ten remaining, one has been allowed to try. As unforgiving as I can be, even I'm not entirely heartless. Just damn close. And my trying does not actually involves me doing anything other than keep an open mind (open heart might come later) and listening. Actively listening. You know, the kind of I hear you that also means I'm paying attention so I know if what you're saying is sincere or just some elaborate bullshit to win me over so you can (again) use me for whatever bullshit it is you need this time listening. I'm pretty good at reading people and seeing what's hiding under the surface. And I'm using it with every step “friend” is taking in trying to re-earn what was once freely given.
Maybe that's part of the problem with trust. The first time someone gets it from you, there's no guarantee they actually did anything to earn it. And like anything else freely handed out to (even select) masses, it is eventually taken for granted. And what does that mean, class? Is it abused? Yes, Timmy, correct. And... Abused things get broken. Right again. Good boy, Tim-Tim; here's a Scooby Snack!
Abused things get broken. And like fine china, trust don't just break, it shatters. Into a million, billion pieces that scatter all across the floor and you can never be sure you're swept up every itty-bitty tiny minuscule piece till one you step in the wrong spot and cut your poor foot open and go god damn it i missed that spot and look at that gorgeous dish and realize that there is still a piece missing and you know that no matter how small that piece may be it is still not there and that plate can never be whole and complete and perfect.
Perfect. There it is. The root of the re-glued trust quandary. Trust, true trust, is suppose to be unconditional. Like love. And according to the The Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, unconditional means not conditional or limited: absolute, unqualified. What does that mean? In theory, it means that no matter what you do to me, the way I feel for you (the trust I place in you) will never change. But crap, you royally fucked the pooch here, man. And if, like that plate, the shattered trust can never be perfect again, than how can I truly andunconditionally trust you like I did before everything went to Shit's Ville?
But you and I both try anyway, in the hope (and being honest, who is really the one hoping?) that some semblance of trust, or at least a brief period of mock-trust and pretend forgiveness, will come out of all the bad stuff that, while in the past, marks every moment of the present and future. The hollow words are all that can exist for a time. Wait a minute, now. I'm suppose to accept the hollow (which without trust is all anything said can be until those same words find a way to win some trust back) words that fall from your lips and build a foundation with them?
Damn it. Somewhere in all this, I think I'm going to have to take a leap of faith. Blind trust. In a person I don't trust. Ow, my head hurts; this shit is harder to grasp than time travel paradoxes. There has to be something to use as a foundation for that foundation upon which a repaired trust might be built upon. Any guesses.
I give you a hint, everybody. It is something also unconditional, at least when it is done right. It is something that can not grow without trust but can also survive when the trust needed to build it is long gone. I know you all know this. After all, each and every one of you has read each and every column I have so painstakingly written for your pure, unadulterated enjoyment. It is that dirty four letter word that is used in completely wrong ways by so many people who reserve it for only a select few in their lives.
Love. Love, like any energy in the universe, does not die. It can change form, becoming something equally strong (unbridled hate, anyone), but it is always there. And perhaps that love, if it survives the trust-killer moment that two people may suffer through, can be what a foundation of trust can be built on. Why? Well, if you love someone, don't you want to trust them? Don't you want to believe that this person telling yo how much they regret what they did really means every word they say? I do. I just don't know if I can. Just because I may still love someone like family, there are many upon many doubts within me that make me wonder if it is enough.
Here's a tip though, to help anyone who is currently trying to repair a trust they may have broken with their best friend, lover or parental figure: Don't lie, not even little ones. Don't hide the shit that's running through your head. You may think you're being considerate of the person you are trying to please, but in reality, you're simply showing you cannot be trusted. Kind of kills your strategy, don't you think.
Be smart. Be honest. Be open.
And for those of you looking at that quote going he got it wrong, no, I didn't. That is the actual Friedrich Nietzsche line from Beyond Good and Evil. And it really does sum up the core of what this is all about: it hurts that you lied, but it hurts more that i can't believe you even when you say I'm sorry.
Trust, for all in life that we base on it, is a very fragile thing. If you loose or break it, there is very little (if any) chance that it can be found or fixed. The line trust is like a vase.. once it's broken, though you can fix it the vase will never be same again is, possibly, the most true thing any human being has ever said. Although, that quote might be just a smidgen too optimistic. After all, each one of us has a limit that once crossed... no man's land, anybody? And if we're being totally honest, would you, you or you really give the trust-killer the time of day? Would you really want to try to pick up all the pieces and spend an obscene amount of time gluing them back together?