You know you’re in trouble when you wake up to this text from your father: “We need to talk about your choices.”
Yeeeeah. That was a fun way to start the day.
I’m only half kidding. I mean, I respect my father more than anything in the entire world, and his guidance and wisdom are invaluable to me.
But yeah, that text scared the crap out of me.
Truthfully though, it was not at all what I expected.
“You’re too trusting of people.”
During that phone call, my father lifted the veil of innocent, idealistic expectations from my eyes. In fact, I believe the term, “Polly Pure Heart” was used.
But he gently reminded me that not everyone is like me, or the people in our family. That I need to let people show me who they are, rather than just assume that they are trustworthy, always-follow-through-on-their-word, honest, upstanding individuals without a hidden agenda.
And I mean, he’s absolutely right.
Call it my tragic flaw, but I like to believe the best in people. Especially when it comes to guys, I have this sort of “I’m rooting for you” mentality right from the get-go. I want to believe that they have the type of standards that I was raised with.
And yeah, turns out that’s not always the case.
This conversation with my dad was not out of the blue. In fact, it was spurred on by a pretty crappy incident that happened this weekend. Which…I have since learned from.
Long story short, Saturday night, I made the poor decision to stay out at a club alone – after my friends had left – with a guy friend I thought was someone I could trust. Turns out, I was mistaken.
Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing, that’s all I’ll say.
I mean, look – it’s not as bad as what some of you are probably thinking. I was just put in an uncomfortable situation. All was ultimately fine.
But, none the less, I learned my lesson. Big time.
But my father was absolutely right. I’m way too quick to believe that everyone is a noble, trustworthy person with pure intentions.
“Be more aloof. Make them show you their true colors.”
It was not fun hearing these things, because they go against the very core of my nature.
Obviously that conversation stayed with me for the rest of the day. And sitting in Mass that night, it finally clicked.
Through my recovery from anorexia, one of the biggest healing mental shifts for me, has been to banish the perfectionist standards I held for myself for so long. In order to heal, I had to let go of those unrealistic expectations I put on myself, which ultimately led to my demise.
So, just as I have relinquished myself from those unhealthy standards, I need to also do the same for others.
I can’t expect people to be perfect. And taken the way my father meant it — I need to assume that people are not. Because by placing trust in this idealistic view of someone will not only lead to ultimate disappointment, but could also put me in potentially dangerous situations, like Saturday night.
Psalm 146: “Put not your trust in princes.”
I want to just close by saying that, there’s a difference between being too trusting and trust.
Another great pearl of wisdom — from my mother — regards the latter. It was a couple years ago when I really started taking dating seriously, she reminded me that: “At the end of the day, you either trust them, or you don’t.” And that is one hundred percent true. Relationships are built on trust — it is a necessary foundation. Period. And being able to put your trust in that person you’re committed to is how it should be: a no-question.
But trusting someone right off the bat — that’s a horse of a different color.
It’s not being “judgmental” or “harsh” or “mean” to withhold giving someone my trust until they prove they’re worthy. In fact, it is prudent to wait for someone to show me who they really are, instead of just assuming the best.
So dad, thanks for the tough love. I am very blessed to have a father that loves me and cares for me enough to tell me the truth in love when I need to hear it.
And if you need me, I’ll be practicing how to “look aloof.”
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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