Thursday, February 16, 2012

Interesting times, indeed. Also, the issue of trust.

     I don't want to give the impression that there's no responsibility in my relationships.  The one rule we do have in our relationships is "No penetration without paperwork.  Well, hands are okay."  I know, how fascist, right? There's a secondary rule of "Don't be an asshole.  But really, I can't prevent you from being an asshole.  Just, you know, if you act like one, expect to be treated like one."

     Rules do not really equate to responsibility, anyway.  A metaphor I've used before is a child who doesn't take a cookie from the cookie jar when Mom's not looking.  Is it better if the kid doesn't take the cookie because he knows it's not right, or because he knows Mom will get upset at him? It's basically the same argument I use for those situations where someone tries to say that the fear of punishment from God is what keeps people moral, and that people who do not believe in such god are clearly immoral. 

     I feel huge amounts of responsibility for the people around me; friends, partners, anyone whose life I touch.  This includes people who are vaguely theoretical, such as the probably awesome lady I'm about to meet in a couple of days.  My rants about rules have to do with *everything,* not just this current situation.  What it really boils down to is that fact that I know I'm trustworthy, but people have a hard time giving trust without buckets of proof.

    I made a choice a few years ago, which basically put to words something I'd felt for a long time before that.  If I trust people, they will occasionally disappoint me.  This will absolutely not be my fault for trusting them, but their fault for not being worthy of my trust.  As well, I've usually found that people violating my trust is a process, not a singular event, which happens after initial trust would have been gained anyway.  So what do we gain by not trusting? Well... we place the responsibility for that trust on ourselves, rather than on the people we interact with.  Which doesn't really make sense to me, as it is not our actions that have power over that trust, but the actions of others.  I'd prefer to put the responsibility where the ability to act lies.  When we choose not to trust, we also close ourselves to opportunities with other people, and instead place fear as our highest priority for maintenance.  I believe I've made it clear that I do not want to let fear dictate my actions, even if it sometimes does.  And for all that, we still get disappointed by people sometimes.

     If, on the other hand, we assume to trust others until proven wrong, we open ourselves for all of the possible good things others can bring into our lives.  When we extend trust, we often find that trust is more readily extended back to us.  When we believe in people, they can interact with us more fully, and be more sure of themselves and the situation.  When people feel more sure of things, it is easier for them to trust us, or at least their own position.  This isn't poly stuff, it's people stuff.

     It would be a fallacy to say that others will always deserve our trust if we extend it, and there are situations where the risk to oneself definitely outweighs the negative side of not trusting.  It's also important to listen to our intuition on these things sometimes.  Our intuition is the part of our brain which processes all sorts of information we don't have a vocabulary for, or which can be taken in with a split second, but take tons of time to prove.  Intuition reads the tiniest details about people; physically, the "energy" they put out, and it puts together patterns learned over our lifetimes, all into an instant decision.  There have been plenty of people I've met, or seen a picture of, and been able to tell that there are VERY BAD THINGS about that person, even though I can't exactly explain why.  I've been proven right enough times to know that my intuition works at better than random odds.

     Listening to intuition versus our learned fears can be a tricky thing.  Our learned fears try to protect themselves, and will try to convince us that they are, in fact, the instinct and intuition which has been honed by thousands of years of human development.  But these are clearly not the same things.  One is (often irrational) learned behavior, and the other is what has kept our species alive long enough to invent lasers and spaceships and skyscrapers and blogs.  If one really hasn't learned to differentiate between the two, perhaps it is best err on the side of fear until the difference has been made clear.  I suppose that for me, it's been a part of the general growth project I started several years ago.

     Because of the way I feel about trust, and my feelings of responsibility regarding my situation with Horus, I did something most people would not be willing to do.  I extended an invitation to his lady to come to our house, and offered to make dinner and let her get a feel for our home environment.  Perhaps because I was willing to extend that trust, she decided to return the favor by being willing to come here by herself.  Because we've already extended trust, we've been able to connect a little, and everyone seems to be feeling better about the situation.  If I had approached everything with suspicion, I can guarantee that the results would be much different, and the process of getting to know each other would be greatly hindered. 

     That said, if she hadn't been willing to do the same, the results would also be much different.  Trusting people gives them the opportunity to do what they really want to do, even if it is sometimes a nerve-wracking process.  I have a lot of hope for this new adventure, and while hope is also complicated and seen as dangerous by many people, that's another subject for another day.

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