For a species that has been communicating for as long as it has existed, you would think that we would have the whole idea of relationships figured out. After all, you would think that communication through using something as simple as words, expressions, gestures, and actions should be second nature by now. But a mere glimpse outside the window, or a look across our own living rooms may show that it isn't. Practice does not always make perfect. For all the eons that we have been talking and doing and acting-out in order to communicate, the world is still full of families, couples, friends, and even strangers, trying to figure it out.
Yes, for the most part, I like to think that we all get along. And for the most part, we do. But I also know that finding the right thing to say, or do, or show doesn't always come easy. Relationships do become strained. And for some, as easily as they begin, relationships can end.
In even the best relationships, the ones so well-intended, and even the ones that are joined by blood and birth, somehow what we mean to say or do simply isn't always enough. Sometimes, as much as we would like to take our well-intentioned words like, I love you, or You are amazing, or Don't let what they say bother you, or I know you can do this, if you only try, or Don't give up, not now, not ever -- words like this -- as much as we would like to take the words we are speaking and hold them in our hands and wrap them around the other person's heart and mind and make them stick there with steadfast glue so that the other person will not only believe what we are saying, but will act on it as well, we can't. No matter how hard we try, we can't always make the other person believe what we say. Mainly because there is this whole other person on the receiving end that is wrapped up in their own history of personal experiences -- what some call baggage -- that anchors them in place, keeping them from moving freely in the present, or even walking without a limp into the future.
Unfortunately, this baggage, whether we realize it or not, stands between us in all of our relationships. It shadows and distorts and rearranges the words we hear -- words that are spoken from the heart -- so they can't be fully realized and understood, unless we are in our own moment of clarity. Moments where we have knowingly left the baggage at the door. Only in these moments, where we have consciously welcomed an idea of trust that is both unconditional and whole-heartedly felt, can we truly listen and receive words like, Yes, I really like who you are, or Yes, you make me happy.
Have we ever known this kind of trust? I believe so.
I believe we are born with it. We are filled with trust in the moment we first open our eyes and when our first breath is quickly followed by another. In the moment we are born we learn that upheavel can be followed by serenity as soon as we are placed in the arms of our parents. In that moment we feel and begin to believe we are safe, and we immediately trust that these loving parents whom we don't even know, will meet our needs for living. In that moment, trust is all we hold.
However, maybe the trust we gain when we are born is immediately coupled with the potential for its loss. We do, after all, have a will to survive. It is inherently part of the fight-or-flight-mechanism that most species possess. As we grow and become increasingly indepedent in learning to survive on our own, we begin to realize that not everyone can be trusted. We start to lose faith in the intentions of those around us. And this loss of faith and trust exists in every relationship and interaction.
Is it a paradox that in living and surviving, a loss of trust is coupled with the need for it, as well? Is this why it is so often said that trust is paramount to all healthy relationships? That if you believe in trust, the rest will follow?
Perhaps this why when our words are not being heard, or when we, ourselves, are choosing not to listen, we need to pause, step back and see where the baggage lies, and if trust was left at the door.
Words. Communication. Trust. Can you have any one of these without the other?
What do you think?
These are, after all, just words typed on a page, one after the other. Words, words, and more words, begging for trust and perhaps some interaction.