Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Forever with a Guarded Heart?



So what happens when trust is broken? 

Well, either we usually see it coming, gradually slipping out of our grasp as if it were in slow motion.   Or it is so abrupt that we don’t fully comprehend what has happened until the shock wears off afterwards. 

The sirens howl and flashing lights blind our eyes. Adrenaline pumps through our veins and instantly we feel cold, sick, or numb. Once the realization sets, the gates around our heart go up. Stronger and thicker this time.  The process is nothing new; we’ve all been there before. Yet we constantly find ourselves in this same situation: blindsided by the demise of our trust, which in turn is followed by our natural response for self-preservation – putting our guard up once more.  

Trust is something that takes time and energy to build and develop, yet only seconds to destroy. It is something that may be inherently difficult for some of us to do, so on the rare occasion we invest it in another - it becomes even more treasured and fragile. Unfortunately a few words, an action, or a simple phone call can dissolve it into a painful memory. 

Throughout our lives, we trust everyone around us in one way or another. Our parents to raise us. Our teachers to guide us. Our lovers to care for us. Our friends to defend us. Our jobs to provide for us. And ourselves to make the right decisions. Yet time and time again, one of the parties fails to live up to the expectations created and the bond crumbles beneath us. 
That bond gets its strength from trust, so once that becomes fractured it is only a matter of time until the entire relationship breaks. 

 
So if we know how easy it is to be disappointed, get hurt, and have our trust in someone broken, why do we continue to play this dangerous game? 

Because of that precise moment when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. It is the moment where hope outshines fear. It is a marvelous leap of faith where we are shielded by a sense of security and an appealing future.  We ignore the scars from our past and silently pray that this will be the time it works out – it will be the real thing. 

Fast forward through 24 years of personal experiences, watching others get knocked off their feet, and listening to countless horror stories – and what have I learned? I am much wiser.

Usually when we start to feel comfortable and allow ourselves to expose our souls to another person, the relationship (with a friend, family, lover, job) takes a nose dive.  Perhaps for a fleeting moment we believed that this could be it, and perhaps for a moment it was. However, life enjoys testing and strengthening us so we become faced with another challenge: endure and move forward.
I have seen – as has everyone else I’m sure – enough betrayal, failure, disappointment, and heartbreak to become a non-believer of having a fulfilled life. Yet my flame of hope continues to burn and I know that one day I will not have to carry my heart in a bullet-proof box or tip-toe around my feelings. There will be no doubts or fears. 
There will only be love. 

 
It is easier to be guarded than be vulnerable. Extending our heart and trusting someone with our most sacred possession takes more courage than to be on the defensive. We must know that every betrayal, failure, disappointment and heartbreak is absolutely necessary in order for us to find our way along our paths. Each experience teaches us what we want and need out of a job, a friend, or a partner. Let these encounters make us wiser, not jaded. 

So what happens when trust is broken? 

We are given the opportunity to rebuild it or bestow it once more to another person, perhaps more worthy of the gift.

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