Is there an old adage that tells us that anytime you feel a sense of loss of trust, it is truly only a loss of trust in self?
I sat in the front cart of a bicycle in the cycling capital of the world, and noticed that I implicitly trusted the friend who was cycling me around the city like a sack of groceries. He had told me he was used to cycling his kids around so it was no big deal. At one point, we were crossing a busy street. He watched the traffic go by and kept steady steering straight ahead until he knew it was safe to turn. He wasn’t taking risks or steering us into traffic. In that split second, I notice myself feeling my trust be affirmed. He did know how to ride, I felt safe. Any number of things could have happened but I knew that I felt secure with him.
So, what about when I don’t feel safe? When I’m in the car with someone who thinks they rule the road and know that nothing will happen so they inch ahead and push their wheels over the line? Someone who drives just a touch too fast. Is it true that they are driving less safely? Something bad is more likely to happen? In that moment, what is the anxiety that builds within me? What is it responding to and if it were a movie – and I were watching – with an option to direct the next step, what reaction would I choose for the main character? Do I ask the driver to slow down? Do I stay quiet? Do I decide to trust? Because, in the moment, if anything happens, I can trust that it was meant to?
Where is the line between trusting that I won’t be hurt by some external factor and trusting the universe? Where is it that I am actually pushing that trust in myself onto someone else?
My cyclist friend gave me an example. He was struggling with a decision on whether or not his wife would relinquish some of her career growth so that he could ease up on the support of her and their family and focus a bit on his own career growth. He trusted that she would make space for him – but really, was it himself that he was waiting for? Was it purely a need to trust in himself that he was doing the right thing?
The breakdowns of trust I’ve shared here happen to me all the time. I immediately get reactive whether it’s about me or not. I worry that the universe might not have my back – that at some moment, the other shoe will drop. I keep that feeling in check, I look for the wind at my back – remind myself to relax into it. Or sometimes, I grip on so hard that the universe finally knocks me back and reminds me who’s in charge. It’s important for me to pause, let go and let that other power take over – to see myself as the director of the movie, rather than the character.
It’s never perfect, always a feedback loop. But in these moments, I know that I’m growing.