Trust Fall: A Lesson and a Practice

Trust is most commonly framed as something that we have with or give to another person either automatically, or over time of learning who they really are. Zooming out, it’s clear how much farther it goes than that, and begs the question… Who and what can we rely on?

From birth, we start developing our beliefs around the things and people we can count on in life. If we were cared for, our needs were met, if we felt connected and supported in our most vulnerable stages, and were able to grow and learn in a relatively safe environment, chances are we established a stronger foundation of trust and security. On the contrary, if we were met with inconsistency, lack of connection, chaos, physical or emotional pain, or food, financial, or housing insecurity, it’s more likely that foundation will have large cracks in it or won’t have ever been fully built to begin with. Many fall somewhere between the two – either having emotional security without physical needs being met, or maybe the other way around.

Assessing your current environment, what can be trusted? Someone very close to you? An acquaintance or idol? An internal compass? Maybe it feels like no one or nothing is reliable enough to lean on. Either way, it’s time to get creative to rework or reinforce the working definition of trust. There are many other areas of life that trust comes up – work/business, creative projects, traveling/moving, the process of life in general. Living up to the expectations that come along with these can sometimes be challenging. It requires not only trust on your part, but oftentimes on someone else’s part to rely on you to get it done or help out. Knowing the give-and-take nature of most things, it’s important to find places where it is at least somewhat balanced, to create sustainable dynamics both individually and in relation with others.

To take some of the pressure off, I like to reframe as many areas as I can as creative projects to learn more about and find more pleasant solutions. I start to rely more on trusting the process, because everything has a process, so regardless of who or what is involved, I know the outcome will either be a success or a valuable lesson. My favorite part about this approach is if you don’t like it, or can’t trust it, you can change it.

As always, this leads me to the most important part of every significant observation and evolution in your life – You. Regardless of what has happened and who has come in and out of your life, you are there for you most, and hopefully no matter what! You get to decide when you work hard and show up, and when you need to take down time to recharge or reevaluate what you want to do and where you want to go.

How could you fully trust yourself? That’s a scary idea, isn’t it?! How do you know you won’t let yourself down? That can be really hard! I struggle with it a lot. As much progress as I make forward and as much strength as I feel on my best days, is as much sneaking suspicion I can have on my worst days. Thoughts that I’m not good enough and I won’t be able to catch myself when I fall. It’s tragic, honestly. We are often taught through a damaged culture to abandon ourselves for the betterment of selfish individuals, or to fit into the mold and stay in line. Heck, maybe we never learned who we really are to begin with. Sometimes, learning not to care for ourselves makes it harder to see others as something worth caring about, as something other than equal, other than valuable. On the other end, and where I have floated for most of my life, is taking my painful experiences and the times I wasn’t loved or accepted and wanting to make sure others felt loved instead. I thought, as long as I’m loyal and supportive, I will get the same in return and feel loved and accepted. That was not always the case, because many of those people expressed their love in a way that was hurtful, controlling, or not at all. It’s just in the last several years that I’ve dropped the expectation of others to treat me in a particular way, started treating myself the way I want to be treated, treat others as well as I can, and welcome those into my life who are attuned to treating others in a similar way.

To facilitate this shift, I suggest some deep and intentional self-exploration. Stronger knowledge of yourself, your heart and what it needs to thrive is vital! Understanding that we aren’t permanently attached to anyone or anything helps build a confidence that no matter with whom or where you end up, you will be ok. When the knowledge is there, it’s easier to choose healthy relationships with those who meet one another where they are at and lift each other up.

The three main points of focus I’ve explored for building trust are values, standards, and boundaries.

Values are like an internal compass, highlighting what is most important to us. Getting clear on the top 3-5 values will really help build confidence and trust. When we know what we hold closest to our hearts, it’s easier to see it in others, and to noticed when something is not aligned with the same beliefs. There is so much information out there to help you find yours including articles, YouTube videos, personality tests, games/activities, working through it with a counsellor, etc. Check out my first blog (Exploring the Value Within) to read more about my experience defining my own values.
Example: Love – To accept and appreciate with pure joy.

I view standards as more of an external factor, guidelines we set for ourselves in the way we take action in our world to back up and support the values we hold. Think standard operating procedures for how we choose to carryout our internal truths, the working model in real time.
Example: To uphold my value of love, I will do my best to be kind to others no matter what.

Boundaries feel more like an intentional barrier to protect our standards. They are more like a boarder of what is and isn’t allowed in your personal bubble. They clearly express what behaviors, ways of communication, and values will be tolerated and which will be left to fall away.
Example: I will be treated with love and respect. I will not stay in a place that lacks love and respect.

So now that you’ve started the process, remember: confidence and courage are contagious. When one of us stands up with certainty, it suddenly feels well within reach for the rest of us to do the same. You can make great things happen for yourself and for those around you. With practice comes consistency. With consistency, mountains can be moved, and you can reach the life you imagine for yourself.

Don’t be too hard on yourself
There are no expectations – Meet yourself where you’re at. Perfection doesn’t exist (click to read).

Start small to avoid burnout or stress-triggering – Don’t try too many things at once, or feel like it all needs to happen at once. It’s a life-long journey. Approach just outside the comfort zone, pushing the boundaries of fear (failure, success, consistency, etc).

Adjust and take breaks as needed – Some seasons are longer than others. Days, weeks, months, weather patterns, or even years. Take time for rest and self-care.

Persevere – One step at a time. Things can always feel worse as they are getting better. When you don’t feel you’ve gone as far as you’d like to, feel happy knowing how far your trust in yourself HAS gotten you. Find appreciation for the things you have done. Could you have done it without you?

Trusting this is the way, this is how we are meant to live. Listening to the gut and acting accordingly. Big choices toward purpose and balance/alignment are not comfortable! Think free falling, but without the assurance there is a parachute, or that the handle is out of reach. Who in the world prepared you for this?! That’s scary and takes the enjoyment out of what should be a freeing experience. Take your experience into your own hands by preparing your pack yourself. Setting your standards and making sure when you jump, you jump with joy! Moving away from painful or unfulfilling experiences and toward the discovery of new or forgotten havens have both moments of great fear, but also unbelievable delight sourced straight from the sun inside the soul.

The more I learn about trust (and I feel I’ve only scratched the surface) the more I notice that when we know what little we have to lose, and how little time we have, having that feeling – even when it’s fleeting – we live with deep purpose. Enjoying what is meant to be, guiding our experience, and those of others, toward that of connection with a strong foundation is invaluable and worthy of pursuit.

So… When you fall, who will catch you?

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Have a wonderful day,

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