Growing Your Relationship Garden
Trusting people can be a daunting matter. Learning about another human being enough to put credence in what they do or say is one of those skills that is learned, or unlearned, over the course of a lifetime.
I have been thinking about TRUST and what it means, as I enter into a new relationship, and finish a past one. I have pondered what makes a person trustworthy, and it has taught me a few things about myself, as well as other people.
Here are my thoughts:
The Seeds of Trust and Faith
If we look at a garden, TRUST can be compared to the seeds that begin the life of the first buds poking through the soil.
The seeds that are planted in the growth of a relationship are a variety of traits and characteristics. These seeds, if you envision them in the palm of your hand, are all similar but each of them hold a different inner layer, creating a different plant in the dirt that you place them in.
A Healthy Garden of Trust Starts from These Seeds:
In all honesty, I chose these words, and unscrambled the first letters, earning the word HUCKER, quite by accident. The Urban Dictionary, ironically, refers to a “Hucker” as someone who throws themselves wildly through the air and does not land on their feet. We will return to that realization in a moment.
Learning to Trust
Do we honestly need to learn how to trust another person? In my opinion, it depends on the relationship that you want with another human being. If you aren’t the type of person who shares yourself openly, then trusting others isn’t as crucial. If you are an open book, however, and share your heart and soul, without trepidation, trusting others is critical.
Why? Because if you are unable to trust others, you are unable to feel truly open and honest. You will hold boundaries and barriers within yourself, for protection.
Trust is a learned behavior. It is a gift that you give others, and appreciate graciously, in return. It’s why we have “best friends”, and deep-rooted relationships with other people. It is a confidence, that who you are, how you feel, and what you are made of, is accepted by others. It is a comfort that is spoken, or unspoken, and it is what builds the foundation of strong, healthy relationships.
Planting Your Garden
When we first meet other people, most of us have a “trust radar”. It’s like a spidey sense, or a vibe, that we feel from the feelings we get from others. Most people, within moments, can feel whether or not they can trust the person in their company.
Some people cause red flags, while others seem genuine, and project the “HUCKER” seeds naturally. There are also others, who are really good at faking that they can be trusted.
Most adults have a deeper sense of who can be trusted than children do. With that said, however, trusting others is a learned skill. Unfortunately, most people learn how to trust the lessons they learn when they have had faith in others, and have been burned emotionally, physically, or even spiritually. This comes with years of living, and building and breaking relationships.
When we plant our garden of trust, we look for the seeds in people we meet, and we work to help them grow into relationships. They offer you their seeds, and you choose to take them and place them in the soil of your world, or you choose to discard them and allow them to grow into weeds.
What are the criteria for a new, healthy, relationship? The majority of us meet someone, get to know them through conversation and readability. There are times when other people simply don’t meet the criteria you feel comfortable with. Perhaps they don’t share your humor, or they don’t seem empathetic or compassionate enough for your standards. Or, maybe they just aren’t the “type” of seeds you wish to cultivate, and there is nothing wrong with that.
However, if you are lucky, you meet someone who fills your HUCKER bucket. They are instantly likable, exude compassion and empathy, and seem to really understand you. These are the people you see as potentially trustworthy and worth exploring. These are the humans that we see as the seeds for our relationship garden.
The new man in my life has all of the HUCKER seeds. He shows me pure honesty. He most definitely understands me, has compassion, is kindhearted, is very empathetic with everyone, and shows me the utmost of respect. He is a rare gem in a sea of rocks. He holds all of the seeds I require, in order to cultivate a loving, trusting relationship.
Since meeting him, he has not only shown me how to finally feel like I can trust him, but he has shown me lessons in who else I should trust. He has begun a garden with me, where our buds have not only shown their first appearances, but the plants have started to flourish. It is an amazing start to a lifetime of growth.
The Seeds of the Weeds
Every garden has a few unwanted weeds.
The weeds in your garden come from the start of the people who you “thought” you could trust, but they have caused an annoying spread of stress to your crop. They are the vines and roots that try and take over the pleasant space you have created, by wrapping themselves around the rows of blooms, in hopes of strangling them.
I have a few of these weeds in my life, and daily, I am attempting to pluck them out by the roots, in order to keep them from growing.
The weeds can be anyone who makes attempts to destroy the growth of your garden plants. They are angry exes or people who “think” they know what is good for. They are also people who feel comfort in being pessimistic or jealous of your life. Or, they can be the people who see your garden as a threat to their own.
Your weeds are the people who could have made your spidey senses tingle, or not. They could be the fakers, who showed you in the beginning that they genuinely are trustworthy, but in the end were unable to fill your HUCKER bucket. Often they are bitter, annoying, and persistent, just like weeds.
There is a simple solution to the weeds- obliterate them from your garden. Pull them out by the roots and discard them, before they start to spread and take over your peaceful garden.
In the case of our new relationship, we may have a few weeds popping up here and there, but we work on our garden together, and share in the weeding. It seems to be the most effective way to rid our lives of unwanted growth. As in any task, if the onus and work are put on one person, it becomes exhausting and tedious. Sharing the garden space and taking equal responsibility in its fruition, is much more effective, thus sharing the weeding and the maintenance should be shared.
Ironically, as I mentioned, a Hucker, according to the Urban Dictionary, is someone who is careless and throws themselves into situations, not worrying about the end result. Typically, it applies to Sportsmen, but in this discussion, it is actually an oddly applicable comparison.
A person who has all of the traits required. In order to hold reliance or trust, a person needs to have Honesty, Understanding, Compassion, Kindness, Empathy and Respect, right? These people are the ones who we can see as a confidant or trusted companion.
Sadly, people who hold HUCKER traits may also not see the red flags in others immediately. They may have so much faith in other humans, because of their trusting qualities, that they throw themselves carelessly into relationships, holding a belief that they won’t be hurt. They hurl their heart out and it becomes entangled with the wrapping vines of weeds.
As one of these people, I can tell you first hand, that people who hold the HUCKER seeds are vulnerable. Often, when you are filled with too much empathy or kindness, we can’t see others as “weeds”. We are too respectful and too compassionate to see fault in other people. We are too accepting, and we dislike seeing another person hurt, even if we are hurt ourselves. We carelessly throw ourselves into relationships, resulting in weeds taking over our carefully tended plants. I, myself, have been known to throw myself carelessly into relationships, uncaring of whether or not I land on my feet. I simply just wanted to not be “alone”, and put my heart and soul out for others to entangle with their noxious vines.
The lesson I have learned, after being in a relationship without trust, is this:
In order to trust someone, you need to feel VALUED. You need to feel understood. You need to feel respected unconditionally, and you need to be able to be YOURSELF.
If you are in a relationship where you need to tiptoe around, pretend you are someone you are not, or feel threatened regularly by weeds in your relationship, you will NOT be able to trust. Period.
Even if the other person tells you time and time again that they can be trusted, you need to trust yourself and your instincts first. If they don’t overflow, or at least begin to fill your HUCKER bucket, you may need to dig deeper to the roots of your relationship. There may be something growing, underneath it all, that you never saw at first.
All Analogies Aside
Earning trust from another person is a privilege and NOT a right. Trust is built on experience, human nature, lessons, and openness. People who have been hurt deeply in a trusting relationship can potentially lose their ability to keep their HUCKER seeds, and may never trust again. I have been at various points in my life, where I simply trusted NO ONE. I never told my deep feelings, thoughts, or private world, to anyone. It was a cold, lonely existence.
If you are in a relationship and trust is an issue, you NEED to figure out why. Without trust, in any relationship, the quality of honesty, understanding, compassion, kindness, empathy, and respect will diminish. It may not happen immediately after someone gets hurt, but it WILL diminish. Why would you waste your HUCKER seeds on someone who won’t help you sow them? There is simply no point, as life is too short for an empty garden.
Once you can find the root of the problem, and either move forward with forgiveness (or forgetting), you may be able to start over and try the relationship again. Alternatively, if the lack of trust is something that cannot be overcome, and you are unable to repair the damage, you may have to consider how you can trust again. You may lose your ability to trust anyone, including your significant other, ever again.
It is always unfortunate when trust between two people is broken, especially when there is no way to repair it. Without being able to trust people with your heart, who you are and what you are designed as life can feel empty. The search for trustworthy companions becomes frightening, and your heart feels vulnerable.
Without trust in a relationship, there really is no relationship.
Just like a garden, without seeds and seedlings, is not a real garden. It’s just a plot of weeds.