A Chinese proverb says, “Only he that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep.” My road has been proof of that. I’ve fallen into some pretty deep, dark holes along the way, and they’ve left me scarred, cynical, and frustrated. I’ve always had trouble putting things in my rearview. I hold onto days gone by for too long, no matter how bad they may have been, because I constantly ask “What if?” and it’s come to hold me back. I’d begun to doubt my own ability to make decisions and trust my own judgment in choosing who I wanted to join me as I traveled through life.
Trust is hard to earn and disappears in seconds. We all know this. I allowed a series of events in the past decade to damage my any ability to trust anyone, and even myself, and it’s damaged and even destroyed relationships and kept me from moving forward. But that’s over. The last few years have introduced me to some of the kindest and most decent people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, and until recently, I didn’t understand the gravity of their presence in my life.
I have no reason to remain skeptical and suspicious of people. If anything, I’ve learned who I can and cannot trust, or at least how to spot a trustworthy person. Most people mean us no harm. We’re all fighting a battle, and most of us fight fair. Some don’t, but they aren’t hard to spot. They’re the people who stand to gain from hurting those in the way, and find no reason to consider how their actions affect others.
There’s a fine line between “healthy skepticism” and self-centered distrust. I’d become a person who lived by “people are stupid” and “I hate people,” and neither of those are true. If anything, most people are smart but generally unaware of what the rest of us endure. It lies within our power to educate the people we encounter every day on how and why we struggle, and what we can do to lighten the load.
The past few months have been hard. Most of you know why. I’ve been forced to face, accept, and break the chains I allowed cold hearts to place on me. They’ll face the consequences in due time; it’s no longer necessary to bear that burden for them. It’s okay to trust everyone. Just don’t trust the darkness within.