“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”
― J.M. Barrie,
There are two ways we encounter trust: we either believe others will do what they say or we don’t, and we are either the kind of people who do what we say or we aren’t. Maybe we were lied to along the way, and trust has been hard to offer, or maybe someone taught us that we must not be trustworthy because they never gave us the opportunity to succeed or fail on our own. While we can’t live by Peter Pan’s motto of “I won’t grow up!”, why can’t we hold on to the faith, trust, and pixie dust of childhood?
Not all childhoods are as magical as Peter Pan’s, unfortunately. Children should be able to trust the adults in their lives–parents, teachers, neighbors, other family. As teenagers and then adults, we want to know that we can trust our friends to be loyal, the mechanic to be honest, the doctor to be knowledgeable, and the government to be looking out for our best interest. Regardless of trust being a noun or a verb, it seems to remain an intangible thing.
Imagine if you were a trapeze artist, swinging high in the air and trusting someone is going to catch you when you fly from your swing. What if the person who is supposed to catch you isn’t ready when you release? You will fall. What if you are afraid to let go of your swing? You both are hanging around never achieving your goal. When we trust people to do what they are supposed to do without trying to do it all ourselves, things tend to get done eventually–sometimes before you thought they might. When we don’t trust people to do their jobs in their own way, to be faithful in relationships, to pay for items before leaving a store, our message might be received, and our greatest fears realized. At the very least, we will be exhausted from trying to manage everyone else’s truth and at the very greatest we risk driving people away in frustration of never being able to feel like they can be successful.
Look at your own life. Do you send your children a message that you don’t trust them to do the right things? Maybe they’ll mess up, maybe they won’t, but if you always share your mistrust, you can be certain they’ll never be able to satisfy you. What about your employees, committee members, or volunteers? Do you micromanage their tasks and assignments, or do you let them know that you trust them to handle things and ask you if they have questions?
Talking with my friend David about his life as a trapeze artist, I see that trust really is a big deal. “We each have to take care of our own job and trust the other to do the same. It does no good for me to wonder if she’s going to hit the right mechanics to make herself catch-able, and it does her no good to wonder if I’m going to be present and do the right mechanics to catch her. We have to do our own jobs well and trust each other.”
Someone needs you to let them do their job or pull their weight, instead of your expecting the worst, and maybe it’s time you show someone else and yourself that you are the trustworthy type. Just as Peter Pan trusted that Wendy would arrive with Spring, there are people in our lives who need to trust we will show up and people we need to trust will show up for us. We might be disappointed every now and then when people let us down, but what a richer life we live when we let go of the heavy weight of distrust.