Welcome back to my blog for another open letter! If you are new to Handmade Hearts, I write a letter to my audience every Sunday and I post about something different every Thursday. I also send out Weekly Newsletters every Monday! Feel free to join my email list by filling out the form below.
Anyways, on with the letter. My last open letters have been simple notes about my week and what went on in my life. Sometimes those things are not super interesting, even to me. So starting this week, I’m going to try and write to you guys about a specific subject that I’ve been thinking about during the week. This week, that subject is trust.
I’ve talked to you guys a little bit about how I have trouble trusting people- I wasn’t always like that. I used to be very open minded and willing to trust pretty much everyone, and willing to call pretty much everyone my friend. I tried to focus more on every person’s good side instead of their bad, and while in many ways this was beneficial to me, it also hindered me in other ways. Like every other person, I had my trust broken, 3 to 4 times during these past two years. Since I like to tie the people in my life-whether I’m really great friends with them or just a co-worker or a student or otherwise- as close to me as I possibly can, having my trust broken caused me to barely have any trust at all, for anyone.
For anyone who has never had trust issues, let me lay out for you what exactly that feels like: it feels like constant anxiety about whether you are making the right choices about who you are interacting with, or about whether the people you talk to are actually going to be there for you or if they actually hate you and just haven’t told you that yet. It’s that your constantly questioning people’s intentions even though you might not have a reason to be suspicious about anyone or anything. It’s wanting to know that you are liked and appreciated and trying your best to be kind to people because of that but ending constantly feeling trampled over when people don’t respond the way that you want them to or expect them to. It’s constant negativity about what is actually happening in your life even though there are plenty of positive things going on as well. Bottom line: it really really sucks to feel like there is no one out there that you can depend on.
I thought that by being extra careful to trust people, I was protecting myself. I told myself that the best way to protect myself from people that I couldn’t trust was to stop giving people second chances, because people don’t change. In other words, I was looking more at their negative side than their positive side. If someone did something that was wrong in my eyes, they were automatically on my list of people that I couldn’t trust. They were just… bad. I really didn’t realize that more than anything, I kept finding reasons not to trust people. And maybe to some extent that did protect me from people who would have betrayed me in some way or another, but it also kept me from looking at other people for what they really are: multi-dimensional human beings.
I had a really honest conversation with my sister about this at the end of 2017. My sister knows me better than any other person in the world, and even though I couldn’t see how I was actually hurting myself by building walls around me so high, she did. Over the last year, I worked really hard on learning to forgive myself for the mistakes that I made, and to look at myself as a multi-dimensional human being. But in the conversations that I had about other people, I was much less forgiving. I’m so thankful that my sister was able to drill into me that I couldn’t just make people my enemies every time something happened that I didn’t like- it’s not that simple. I had absolutely no idea what was going on in their lives, just like other people have no idea what’s going on in mine. If I expect forgiveness, why should I be so stringent in giving it to other people?
I believe in giving credit where it’s due, and my sister is, and always has been, a significant part of my path to better mental health. She reminded me that I needed to stop swinging on a pendulum- that of course its good to be slightly guarded- you can’t just trust anyone and everyone. But she also reminded me that I needed to find a way to let the people I know that care about me back in, and to try my hardest to look at people as complex but well-meaning human beings.
That’s one of my biggest goals for this year- to not only be more forgiving towards myself as I’ve learned to be, but to be more open to other people as well. That can definetely be hard sometimes, because its easier to put people in boxes of who is good and who is bad based on their immediate actions towards you. But the thing about that is if you do that, you’ll never know if you are making the right judgement. Who knows how much joy that person that you are putting into a category of “bad” people can bring you if you give them a chance to do that?
As cheesy as this sounds (but it’s completely true), I’ve learned to believe in second chances again. And I really do believe that its made me have a healthier mindset. For anyone else whose ever had trust issues, I feel for you. I know that it’s hard to move past those issues, and I’m still figuring out how to do that for myself! It takes time, and a whole lot of forgiveness for yourself and for other people. It takes long conversations with people who love you and who you know you can trust. It takes a lot of trial and error, and some anxiety. But its completely worth it.
I’ll end this letter by letting you all know that you, my readers, have been a big part of this journey for me as well! I live to see the comments that are left on my blog from so many kind people and respond to you all. You have no idea how much joy that brings me.
You mean the world to me. I hope you have a fun and positivity-filled week (in my last letter I talked about how amazing positivity is for your brain- go read it!)