Earlier this week, I was talking to one of my friends who is going through a break-up. It had been a long term relationship spanning several years and it had ended rather abruptly. It was only now that my friend started seeing his true colors come out: lying, anger, irrationality, knee-jerk reactions, contradicting himself, and an extreme aversion to taking responsibility for himself. After finally seeing him as we (her friends) saw him, she confided in that me that she was scared to get into another relationship, because she felt she couldn’t trust men anymore. If someone to whom she had been so close for many years could do a 180 literally overnight and exhibit such hurtful and bizarre behavior, how could she look another guy in the face and believe a word he said?
This made me think of similar situations in my own life, where I had felt my trust in other people had been shattered beyond repair. I had had my trust broken so many times that there came a point in my life where I literally could not tell A from Z. Everything could be a lie and nothing could be a lie. How do you deal with that?
How do you tell the lie from the truth? That’s the most terrible crime against your mind. Being told right is wrong and wrong is right makes you second guess everything think you do; doubt your very perception of reality. And it can lead to despair.
Obviously, we can’t lose all trust in people and regard everyone with suspicion. Suspicion and lack of trust are antithetical to anything progressive and creative; you can’t build a business or a relationship based on distrust and suspicion. But if we’ve been hurt, lied to, and disappointed many times before, how do you reconcile this?
How can you trust if what the guy you’re dating is telling you truth when he says your eyes are like galaxies he’d love to get lost in (at night, in your bed, and naked)?
Or what about that phenomenally-sounding job, where you’ll be earning tons of money and everyone will be kissing your ass?
Sometimes, the things people say are a lot more subtle than obvious lies or appeals to your vanity, and therefore a lot harder to judge.
What I’ve managed to (eventually) gleam from my own experiences and past mistakes (oh, and there were many!) is that you have stop looking at the outside details and start looking at the internal, or spiritual, makeup of the situation.
When I say “spiritual make-up,” I’m talking about a person’s true intentions, character, overall aims, and the influences at play in a particular situation or opportunity. Does the person have good character? Is his or her heart in the right place? What is the aim of their endeavor? What does this job, gig, event, course aim to accomplish? Does the person have good intentions, but is misguided? A lot of the time, we all have only the best of intentions, but we place importance on the wrong things in life, and so our endeavors fall flat because we’ve built them around false idols.
We get fooled when we look at the external parts of a situation or a person instead of the internal. We start running after shiny things, not realizing they’re made of tinsel instead of something of true value.
These are the 5 questions you should ask yourself if you’re having trouble trusting a situation or person:
What is the other person’s character?
A person’s character is made up of their set of values and code of ethics. If someone’s character is dubious, it does not matter how pretty their words are. Even if they mean them at the time, a person’s character will ultimately override whatever they tell you in the moment. Yes, people can change, but for your purposes, you must take the person as they are right now.
What are their intentions?
What are they hoping to get out the situation or out of you? Keep in mind that even if their intentions regarding YOU are good, if their intentions regarding the situation overall aren’t positive and virtuous, their intentions aren’t good enough!
Where do they place focus and what they value?
What do they value in life? Money, fame, looks? Or being of service to others, spreading love, being creative? Again, even if it appears that they have your best interests in mind, if those interests involve negative and destructive values, you shouldn’t trust them.
What is the spiritual health of the situation?
What are the overarching forces at work with this person, group of people, network, gig, job? Is the situation ultimately positive and creative, or negative and destructive? For example, a network of drug dealers may be living high on the hog, but ultimately, the overarching forces are of greed and destructive. The spiritual make-up of a drug network is poor.
Finally and most importantly…
Why does this appeal to you?
What is about what this person says or what this opportunity offers that you find appealing? Is it because you’re hoping to gain wealth, fame, power, or instant gratification from it? If so, you should walk away. First of all, it’s easy to scam someone who falls for the promise of his or her materialistic desires being met. Second, even if no one is trying to scam or lie to you, the very fact that the entire premise is built on materialistic gain and instant gratification makes it ultimately insufficient and doomed to fail. If you find yourself being attracted to untrustworthy people or scams because you’re lured in by these material factors, it may be a good idea to reassess where you place your focus and values.
For example, many girls fall for the sweet words of guy who wants to get inside their pants, because they so desperately want to feel loved and validated. However, if they had the confidence in their true value and essence, they would wait for the real emotion, instead of the fleeting appearance of the feeling.
When you start looking at the internal truth instead of outer appearances, it will become blindingly obvious as to who or what you should trust. Don’t get distracted by a pretty mask!
Later this week I’ll talk about the last question more in depth, and how important (and paradoxically ultimately materially beneficial to you) it is to have self-less and spiritual values, so be sure to check back!
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