June 4th 2006

copyright© don oddy

~ trust and loyalty ~ its an inside job

So often we want to trust and be loyal to the people we encounter. We have problems discerning those who can be trusted and who we might be loyal to. There are elements in our nature which help us trust some and be wary of others. There are elements in our learning from life which helps us to trust and be loyal to others.

Sometimes we get the whole thing out of proportion, we mix up our trust of others with needs and wants we have from our living and experience. When we are in close communities and family, we find we can share and trust with those we love. We find bonds of association we come to believe in, we form values and principles of living which help us make friendships, partnerships with those we can assume to be loyal to us, on our side and in all ways as good as us.

Often the assumption that we are all good people can be our undoing. Without doubt those of us who grow up in trusting environments and lead happy lives as a result are more open to trust and developing sincere friendships and associations. Where we grow in anti social and unpleasant surroundings, our issues of trust and loyalty may be gravely weakened. In a sense we can thrive in trust, and to an extent thrive in mistrust, it really depends on how we get by in either or both.

We are careless in our assumptions often, that others are operating to the same rules we have for personal conduct and we forget that sometimes others rules and living mean they have completely different codes of behaviour. We get caught out frequently when we forget to establish good rules and good ways to make our relationships prosper. We need rules of engagement as much to inform both sides, and keep understanding clear, especially when we encounter friendly foes.

Friendly foes are those amiable types we can meet anywhere in our lives. In social and work situations, in formal informal contacts. We can see they are friendly and they act friendly. They may even become lovers, and our lovers are the ones we trust most and most often get hurt by, because we have not understood the true nature of them, and equally we have not checked out our assumptions about our own behaviour and conduct. We often go into situations with our eyes wide open, seeing and hearing all the good of others, we donít pry too quickly to what is behind the others point of view, it somehow seems a bad thing to do. Yet we might be more circumspect when we have been hurt and then find ourselves burned.

Indeed we often donít look too deep, for a very good reason, that reason being we must examine our own behaviour too.

When we first start our encounters, we are as hard to get to grips with as those we might deal with. We can be cagey, we can be friendly and we can definitely hide a lot of our expectations about what we want. For indeed if we reveal too much too quickly, then we might scare off others if they see something in us they might recoil from.

When we hide from others, we can expect others to hide from us. They will be as a mirror, reflecting back our niceness and not our hidden qualities.

When we see mystery in others, or some quality which makes them exciting to know, that they have something we donít, we are careful to project an attractive image. How else do we get along in this world? A world so often deceptive and so often built on sandÖ

Truthfully why do we have legal rules and laws? Because most people if they can, will break them to keep their advantage! Donít be fooled by our own altruism, scrape a bit deeper and you will see just how honest you and I are in our first exchanges with those we might become friendly with and include in our lives. We all put on an act, some to cover insecurity, some to cover their fears, some to cover over what they really are up to, getting one over on us.

As animals, humans are not much different from other species, it is about survival. Yet we humans have taken steps way beyond, to where deceptions are just part of life and we need the rule of legal governance over our affairs or we cheat each other.

Most of us donít even realise this is the way of the world, for we abide by and feel the law is there, as part of community as well as written into statutes. Why do we have police, why do we have courts and why do we have all these rules. Simply because without them, everyone is likely to make their own rules and say fuck you!

So when we forget to check out other people, we forget they certainly have their own rule book in place. itís the rule book of personal advantage and personal gain. A rule book we never get to read. We only get to know others rules when we experience their behaviour.

We need minimise our pain when we learn to trust ourselves and our behaviour, when we are consistent with what we say and what we do. Once we know ourselves well enough, we can say with great clarity where we are and what we stand for. We need to be as careful checking out others who without meaning to, can be misguided, sneaky and definitely not worthy of knowing.

People who bend rules to suit themselves, often realise how easy it is to hoodwink others. And we all can be deluded.

How then do we learn to trust? Simply we need to be clear on simple rules, we need to be clear inside our own head and be clear with others what we expect.

We need to realise trust is two way, we work to develop it. We then learn where loyalties are and where they will be broken. We need to be clear about codes of engagements and practice. When we are unclear we will find people keep their own code and donít recognise ours.

In my fellowship we have principles and values, we have fellowship and explicit understandings. At the same time, we have fellows who know some and not all the ways of living within these principles. We accept everyone is doing their best and at the same time in the process of learning mistakes and often catastrophes happen. We learn that people make errors and break rules as often as they are spoken or read or intended as ways of being.

Its not easy to live to any code, again we know this from our laws and our justice. We know people screw up. And we know we need to work out how to mend relationships where things break down and where to end them, because they will never be repaired. Or we simply choose to end relationships because they are just too hard.

And through all of this we try to be human and forgiving. We can always be forgiving, and at the same time tell ourselves its as much as we can stand and we end further association, because its just too hard for us.

We are not here to change others, we are here to experience our living as best we can to our good conscience or just our personal conscience good or bad.

We will never know another as well as ourselves. We all too often donít check out our own behaviour often enough and so continue to make personal errors which make us unfriendly to ourselves and others. There is no right or wrong in what we do. Unless we know it is so, that we are leading ourselves or others to unhelpful relationships.

Our real problem is most often inside us. We are able to deny our part in most breakdowns in association.

When we forget our own rule book, we donít check others and their rules of conduct. When we forget to make our case plain, we donít check out their case for association. We believe to the good when others quite frankly do not have good intent. And we sometimes want just a little of something when they might want more than we give as part of the bargain.

When we see generous people, we see people who understand human folly most often and we consider them ridiculous or an easy mark. Often thought the most generous know and forgive others behaviour and have learned it is not trusting others which is the issue, it is trusting ourselves which is the issue.

When we know our own motives we can trust our judgement. When we associate with others, we might help them by being as clear as we can how we approach association. And then we limit the damage to checking and understanding the quality of what we do together.

Some relationships are thin and superficial by the very nature of infrequent contact. Some relationships are deep and touch every part of our emotional being, and can make us sublimely secure. We simply need to be more explicit in our own conduct, and more discerning in others conduct. And we need necessarily check out and see our friendship or association and our ongoing experience evidenced to reinforce our level of trust and loyalty.

Where others break trust forgive ourselves, and let them forgive whatever they wish. Be consistent in our own conduct and walk away from further pain if trust is broken for good.

We often walk back to old situations because they are familiar, because we believe in good, because we believe someone can be that person we wish them to be. When we live in denial we do most of these things, for we will get back the same as before. We change others rarely, for if we let their behaviour work, they will fuck us over again and again. They are not hurt by this, we are.

When others think they are right, they will not change without evidence. The best evidence can be our absence, for we need never put up with the worst of others, we might be best moving along to new relationships and associations. We only find out all these things as we go.

And love will break all our rules and conditions in the blink of an eye. Realise too in the blink of an eye you and I most likely know what will occur.

For thousands of generations man has predicted behaviour in others? Not really for what you see in others is inside us too, it is merely choice of conduct and conscience which dictate how we will and others behave. Go on the gut reaction and if need be, the evidence, sink deep wells where wells might tap friendship and love. Where we hit rocks, stop digging, stop drilling and move on.

Rocks and hard places, aptly named for their pain, we all have them, we need not live there, we might move on to happier times and people who like us and we need never spin around denial, mistrust and disloyalty. Maybe we are all the same it is merely our choices to our own good we must look, law and society will take care the rest.

Copyright © Don Oddy



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