So It’s official, I’ve decided to re-post my Blue Skies Magazine monthly columns here on the blog. Figure instead of making you guys click all over the place on the various facebook pages to the various facebook notes, figured I’d just put it all right here.
Thank you as always for reading, team! :))
Blue Skies Magazine, September 2011
Life Coaching Column #17
By Melanie Curtis
So I already wrote my column this month. It’s a really good one. I used situations paralleling a friend’s current life for the sake of positive influence on the masses. I made relevant points through perfect metaphor, and of course used hilarious segues and poignant questions to get us all thinking. Tied it up with the standard Melsinore bow, and there we have it. So I shared the piece with my friend, grateful for the inspiration, guessing she’d like it and be inspired by the content given it was reflective and intentionally directed to help her situation. Instead, my article actually made my friend feel uncomfortable (for perfectly valid reasons, and of course not my intention), and as such she asked me to either significantly edit it, or not print it at all. Oops!
So after the subtle deer-in-headlights look wore off my face, I got thinking about trust.. because no way, not never, will any publication ever trump my friend’s trust. It’s an instantaneous choice for me to completely bag that other article and start over the day my column is due, to whack out something entirely different, despite the fact that historically these things take me a few days to figure out. My loved ones’ are everything to me, so yeah, no hesitation, no question, this is totally happening, you’re reading it.
So check this story out, back in the day, I was dating this guy, and as such he was going to be my date to my best friend’s wedding. Logistics aside, the story basically goes that a week before her wedding, my best friend slept with my boyfriend. Or my boyfriend slept with my best friend, whichever you prefer. Yeah, no kidding, that sh*t actually happened!! I remember thinking how funny it was that this stuff apparently didn’t just happen in movies. It was a dark comedy, I admit. Anyway, I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a deal breaker in the trust department.
I mean, that’s an easy one. Duh. That’s like the kindergarten version of the Trust-Don’t Trust game. Kind of like Deal-No-Deal and every time you open a briefcase there’s this new scenario you get to rank in terms of trustability, and subsequently decide whether the person in question gets to stay in your life or not, and if so, on what level, and in what ways. Geez! Sounds totally overwhelming, so let’s take it one at a time. The one-penny briefcase? Easy—no deal. What about the one with 500 grand? Easy—deal, all good, pal. But what about the things that kind of fall in the middle? What do we do with the briefcase that has 5,000 bucks in it? What do we do when a friend does something that falls painfully into that gray middle area? What really makes a trust deal breaker? Not so easy.
If you know the black-and-white answer for all scenarios in all relationships, I’ll happily hear your logic. My thinking is that because every situation is unique, the infinite ways people might upset us is all but impossible to predict. Every interaction has so many factors playing into it—relationships, circumstances, timing, etc., the idea of planning ahead for those sucky moments that may never happen sounds downright ridiculous.
So what then, we’re just always a sitting duck in every relationship we have? Totally helpless and potentially victim to other people and what they decide to do? Hmm, not the most ideal prognosis… what’s interesting is that even though logically we’re totally unprepared in all moments, the reality is when sh*t goes down, we actually know pretty quickly exactly how we feel about it. Yeah? Totally. So, if we break it down, we actually can systematically tackle any trust dilemmas that come our way, effectively saving us from sitting-duck status.
So how do we do it?
First we consider the facts and complexities of an incident. Then we consider how we feel about it. And that’s pretty much it. We achieve consciousness through our consideration, and then we can determine our level of trust for the people involved. Not that when trust is broken it’s not painful, it totally is, I’m just saying it’s easy for any of us to determine when we step back and look. Because broken trust can be so painful, it also can be a powerful magnet to keep us stuck. With this type of systematic consideration, we can step back from our emotion, decide what’s right for us, and then take empowered action to move forward.
Obviously this process of consideration can work to the positive end as well. Friends who have lost trust in the past can work to rebuild trust through consistent positive action. A formerly unsafe jumper can regain trust in his peers by consistently flying safe patterns, asking questions, and exhibiting more conservative choices for his experience level.
This whole thing is a lot like skydiving actually. Bottom line, knowing the process is useless if we don’t trust ourselves to come up with our answers. Skydiving is useless if we’re constantly wrapped up in fear, not trusting our equipment or our abilities to use it safely. What’s the point of being in any friendship if we have an underlying panic that at any moment they could cut us, a scratch or worse?
The thing is, every time we exit an aircraft, in theory we have no idea what could potentially happen.
We have a good idea, but know there is always a chance that some sh*t’s gonna go down. Conscious of it or not, we exit every time trusting we’ll be able to handle it, and trusting we’ll make the best decision to save our own lives. What I challenge is that we can harness the same type of self-trust in our relationships. Trust is like the ultimate risk, because it replaces our biggest fears. That’s why it’s so scary to give, so challenging to create, and so important to protect once we have it. With trust comes peace. We know how to get a parachute out over our heads, just like we know how to assess briefcases and feel happy with the money Howie sends us home with. Malfunctions are inevitable, both in skydiving and life—with self-trust we can enjoy the rest of our time surrounding those moments. Without it, we can’t. I guess that’s the black-and-white. You got this. Melsinore, out.