Trust is a funny thing. It’s so hard to build up and so easy to destroy. My parents used to tell me this all the time and I never fully understood. I’d do something stupid and lie about it, and they’d express their disappointment at how I couldn’t be trusted. Then for weeks or even months I’d be good and tell the truth and they wouldn’t listen. Over time, trust can be earned back, but it can just as easily be swept away again. The more it happens, the more difficult it is to rebuild, until you finally just pack up and decide to place your trust elsewhere. I never really understood my parents and how they could seem so hurt over something as trivial as a lie. That was then. This is now. And one very large deception has called so much into question in my life.
For now, the details of this deception shall remain with me. For reflection purposes alone, the details aren’t necessary. Just the concept.
I’ve learned time and time again that trust is far more valuable than I thought as a teenager. Over the past few years on my own I’ve developed entirely different kinds of friendships and relationships than I had in high school. This is to be expected I suppose. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much trust was implied in the development of these bonds. I had to open up a part of myself that I normally wouldn’t, developing closer friendships than I’d ever had in the past. People I’d known for years were not as close to me as some I’d just met. Over the years it’s balanced out, but the fact remains that I’ve let down barriers I hadn’t previously known existed.
And it’s been to my detriment many a time. My ex roommate often took advantage of this. He’d do something to eradicate my trust in him, then act to restore it, only to tear it up again. It was a process I allowed to repeat far too many times before putting a permanent barrier up. For a long time I kept in touch, but never allowed that same level of friendship to be reached. I’d been burned too many times, but like a fool I had continued to return to the fire.
For years I used to lie about everything. Things that weren’t even important. I’d make up stories to make myself sound better or to get out of doing something I didn’t want to do. I had myself convinced it didn’t matter. Sometimes it was such an automatic response that I’d lie instantly even when the situation didn’t call for it at all. It was at that point that I realized that as much as I demanded honesty and trustworthiness in those around me, I was by no means exhibiting them myself. That had to change.
And it has. I still struggle with it. I’m not perfect by any means. When someone asks me a questions, no longer is a lie the automatic response, but that’s not to say the truth is either. My mind races as to what the repercussions could be even in the smallest of circumstances, but I’m able to make the conscious decision to be honest now instead of outright lying. Again, this is not to say I don’t lie. But now when I do, no matter the reasoning behind the action, I always feel guilty about it. That’s how I know I’m still moving forward.
Now that I’ve changed the things in myself that I valued in others, I am even more critical of those I allow close to me. And now someone has betrayed that trust and taken advantage of it to a degree I hadn’t seen coming. And all I can think of is what my parents used to tell me. And so to that person who has hurt me, I paraphrase their words:
I’m so disappointed in you. It’s not the lie itself that hurts the most, it’s the fact that you didn’t feel like you could come to me with the truth. No matter what happens, what you’ve said or done, I will always prefer the harsh truth over a gentle lie. A lie by omission is still a lie, so avoiding the truth is still the same in the end. You’ve undermined the trust I had in you, and it will take a long time to put things right. I just hope you’re willing to try. And I pray I’m willing to let you.
No matter the justification, lying to get what you want is wrong. Deception is wrong. Going behind someone’s back to have fun and then pretending it never happened is wrong. In the end, you’re deceiving yourself as well, because you’ll convince yourself it’s okay or that someone else pushed you to do it. We are all responsible for our own actions and we must each stand up and own up to what we’ve said or done. I learned these things many years ago, and have spent years absorbing them and putting them into play in my life. I hope you take them to heart and learn them as well.