I have a problem when it comes to trusting others. It has been an issue from time to time, and I suspect it has a lot to do with my inability to sustain a relationship. I was reminded of this again today when I came across a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh: “I am determined to cultivate only thoughts that increase trust and love.” I have no idea how to do that. I guess it could be like practicing prayer, but I’m agnostic so what’s the point of that. I feel a little like Cdr. Data trying to learn humanity.
I think it would have been better if I’d learned to trust as a child, but I didn’t; I learned that I was expendable. I, with my younger sister, spent seven years in foster care while my mother went to college. If my baby sister had been put into foster care there would have been trouble from her father’s family; and if my oldest sister had been left in foster care there would have been trouble from our grandmother. When Mom graduated from college on my fourteenth birthday, we went back to live with her but I continued to work (I’d had a paper route since I was twelve) and paid a little rent and most of my own expenses.
Actually, my time in foster care was where I saw life in a stable loving family environment, and was probably pretty far up toward the higher end of foster care experiences. Being the only two foster kids in a rural town of 1200 was really a little isolating; people were nice, but we didn’t get invited to birthday parties. Anyway, I think most kids pick up that there’s someone they can trust by the time they’re in their teens, and I didn’t get that.
Going forward then, I expected relationships to end. Finally I caught myself hastening the end if it got too drawn out. I did call a woman I was seeing back in 1997 when my car broke down, and she told me to call AAA and a cab. Now I plan moves so that I can get everything on and off the truck by myself.
So, there it is. My task is to “cultivate only thoughts that increase trust and love.” I make every effort to be trustworthy; but to develop, much less increase, trust in others… not a clue. I guess they call it “practice” for a reason. If I don’t get it in this lifetime I’ll just have to do it later.