One of the best pieces of advice ever shared with me came from a centenarian friend who passed away a few years ago. Anton told me to trust myself and not rely upon authority figures–even those with whose policies and statements I agree. To paraphrase Anton, he stressed that I should work to create, in myself, the sort of person who I would be satisfied to live with the rest of my life. He said to not ignore the quick, inner flashes of intuition and possibilities. They are messengers to pay attention to.
I count myself among the millions of people who, at some point, failed to trust myself. I think Anton picked up on this aspect of my personality. Being 102 years old at the time, he had lived a vibrant, satisfying life and had been a dear friend and confidant to a few trusted individuals. Anton certainly was one of those people who could be a “true-blue” friend. On one occasion, he stated that a good friend is all about loyalty and trustworthiness. You should never doubt that it’s safe to confide anything to that individual because a true friend will never betray you.
I reflected upon Anton yesterday when I came across a snapshot of him that was taken on his hundred and second birthday party. His smile was reflected in his eyes as well as his mouth. Everything about his appearance radiated genuine warmth and caring. To be one of his friends was a great honor that I will forever cherish.
In this world where people slavishly worship criminally questionable leaders, it seems that millions have misplaced their trust in people who are only interested in power. Many people seem to assume that people who align with their own beliefs and opinions should be held high esteem and public trust. It appears that they have forgotten that not everybody can be trusted–especially those with whom they have not had a frank, one on one conversation. It takes a great deal of discernment to determine whether or not someone deserves our trust.
This is not to advocate in favor of cynicism. After all, a person who doesn’t trust anybody is destined to live an unhappy, unfulfilling life. Feeling that one must constantly look over one’s shoulder is a paranoid existance. Furthermore an untrusting person is more apt to be someone others distrust.
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”–German literary polymath, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The path of self-discovery and betterment meanders throughout our entire lives. There are potholes and washed out bridges that require us to take detours from time to time. We must have trust in ourselves and in certain others to guide us through the off-road trails. We hope and trust that our life-path will lead to the achievement and maintenance of a happy, fulfilling life. This is better ensured when we have faith in ourselves.
Even the most independent-minded individuals cannot exist in total isolation. We all depend upon people to provide housing, transportation, and other necessities either directly or indirectly. Furthermore, an old pithy saying reminds us that we all rest upon the shoulders of our predecessors.
“Trust and belief are two prime considerations. You must not allow yourself to be opinionated.”–the legendary James Dean
Trust is one of those parts of life that must be exercised in a balanced, moderate manner. If we are overly trusting, we will be deceived often. If we are generally untrusting and paranoid, we will live a life of torment. While genuine trustworthy individuals are difficult to come by, it behooves us to at least have a small circle of tight friends–even if that circle consists of you and one other person. That circle is the bond of life. That relationship is a most essential ingredient in the principle that enables us to thrive. Without trust, relationship is a sham.
Anton sometimes mentioned that it is a boon for every person to befriend one human being who is trustworthy and knows the best and worst of us. That person, who despite our faults, loves us and will never betray our trust.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the popular author, Stephen King. “The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.”