So many self-help books tout that in order thrive in life you have to "stay open". Dr Quinn The Medicine Woman even had a line of jewelry about being "open-hearted". In the commercial she shows all kinds of relationships that were better for opening their hearts. We are supposed to believe these relationships, some at least, are diametrically opposed. Like the "goth daughter" with her mom. This commercial cracks me up!Kay Jewelry Open Heart Commercial
Dumb and cheesy commercial aside, this language is actually about trust. It is hard to stay open and extend trust for most people. It is especially difficult for those of us who are closed in many ways. If you know what I mean, you understand the mental wrestling matches we go through when we are talking about trust. When your primary messages were lessons about how untrustworthy caregivers are, trust is a dangerous word. Trust means letting your guard down. Trust means you aren't ready to sprint when danger hits. And danger WILL hit because that is just how your world works. When the calm of life settles in your suspicious increase, because your fight or flight tells you that someone unseen and dangerous is on the way. I've been intentional, over the years, about adopting a worldview that supposes people are born good and have the tools in them to be the best versions of theirselves. I've adopted this view as a means of survival, and because I have growing proof that it is mostly true. It has been the only way to diffuse my fight or flight responses that are almost always on high alert. There is a continual mantra in my head: "you are safe. you are okay. you are an adult now. you know how to protect and care for yourself. you are safe." I have so much proof of this worldview in my life. I've had so many people intervene with love and support and grace over my lifetime. The struggle has been the people who are not proof of that worldview. They aren't random outliers. They are people that we believe we should be able to trust: "friends", mothers, sisters, fathers, pastors, teachers, family. We all know folks who seem to continue cycles of hurt and suffering habitually. We've been those people, at times, that have hurt others- but the difference is the pattern. The line between those of us who are damaged and working through the wreckage we cause and those of us who are damaged and cause wreckage is responsibility Look for the ones who say sorry AND change their actions. Look for the ones that exercise repairing behaviors for their offenses, not compensating behaviors. After all, our pain and suffering in relationship with others is not about an exchange that requires pay out. So should we open up? Should we trust. The answer is yes. We should open up and trust ourselves first. We should open up and trust, in time, with the people who deserve that honor. Trust is something you exercise for yourself... Not because someone "deserves" it.