This week, I want to talk about a crucial aspect in any relationship. Romantic, business, family, friend, foe, yourself – all relationships can benefit from a little more of this.
Show of hands, how many of you are dog owners? * looking for hands *
I really need to stop using that as a poll. I can’t see any hands.
Anyway, here’s a story about my dog.
It fits the scenario…trust me.
My Pete is a four-year-old lab/bulldog mix. He rescued me from the Humane Society in February of 2014. And he immediately became my best friend. He was my rock in the precarious few months immediately following my dad’s passing in December of 2014. And he’s still the same Pete even after taking him from Alabama to New York.
As you can see, he’s a big boy with a big mouth. He’s a friendly, sweet, outgoing boy. But he’s big.
When I was staying temporarily in North Jersey, this mail carrier saw me with him on a walk. “Es un perro gigante!” she said. Granted, I’ve forgotten a lot of what I learned in Spanish 101 more than twenty years ago, but that came back to me.
By the way, is 70 pounds really considered gigante? C’mon now!
I’ve also seen a more…let’s just say feisty side of my Pete. He’s a gentle boy but he can defend himself when he needs to.
I had him at a dog park a few weeks ago when another dog started to try and exert its dominance. I yelled at the other dog to get off Pete. The other owner told me “don’t talk to my dog.” I’ve seen that look on Pete’s face before. His dog wasn’t about to like my dog too much.
At the risk of my levels of seasoning getting too high, Pete and I left. I was salty to say the least.
Another thing about Pete is that he suffers from hip dysplasia. It’s under control for the most part, but it does flare up from time to time.
Last summer, he had a flare up that was particularly bad. The vet prescribed several pills which I had to give him daily.
He never took to the “let’s fool the dog with cheese or pill wrap” tricks. He’s too smart for that. That meant I had to put my hand in that big honkin’ mouth twice a day. And since I’m currently typing these words, I’m doing okay. I still have all ten fingers and he didn’t bite me once.
Pete trusts that I’m not going to do him harm. And I trust Pete that he won’t go primal and kill me in my sleep.
This scenario is one where there’s a symbiotic relationship between a human being and a domesticated wolf. It’s mutually beneficial. He provides me with companionship, love, and protection. And I provide him with love, companionship, and protection. Oh, and those crunchy nuggets he eats.
I just got hit with an irony avalanche. This is an article about trust and at this current moment I don’t trust myself as far as I can throw myself. I don’t trust myself to make the right decisions and choices in my life. I don’t trust myself to live my big, bold life.
And let’s face it, this isn’t a conversation worthy of me, my power, and what I want to create in the world.
And I’m tired of it.
I’ve mentioned before how I was bullied as a kid. I was bullied for the size of my head and for my weight. And for existing as a socially awkward teenager.
But if you think about it, I was a way worse bully to myself. I beat myself up mercilessly.
This attitude kept me small. And I’m not feeling it anymore.
One of the mechanisms I developed to protect myself from the bullies was to not trust anybody. I didn’t trust that the people in my life – and I do mean everybody – had my best interests at heart. I didn’t trust that the love and affection that people had for me was genuine. I believed it was a setup for something that was going to hurt me later.
As I wrote about in this space last week, my life is going amazingly well right now. I’m killing the game. But I don’t trust the choices I make because I’m afraid of losing what I currently have.
I’m hesitant to make any choices because I don’t want to lose what I have.
I don’t trust myself to make the right choices in my life.
While it initially triggered and – to be honest – pissed me off, my friend and fellow coach Alex made a pretty startling reflection to me.
“That’s a child’s argument.”
It took me a second to reflect on that, but it makes sense. I have made these strides in my life because I have made bold choices in my life.
The strides I’ve made in my life have taken a hell of a lot of trust. This self-trust and boldness have improved my life in many ways; relationships, professionally, health and wellbeing to name just three.
And maybe I could trust that my life isn’t about to go south just because my life is going so well right now. It’s a practice, y’know?
As the great American philosopher once said: “we talkin’ ‘bout practice, man.”
If you’re looking to develop a better relationship with trust, I’d love to connect with you. Email me at [email protected] and we’ll see what we can create. You can take the trust journey with me.
Last thing I want you to do is go to a mirror. And genuinely ask yourself “do I trust me?”
Consider that I still have all ten fingers as a testimony that trust really is important to any relationship.
Trust yourself. It’ll empower you in ways that even we don’t know.
Is self-trust a magic bullet to set your life on fire? I don’t know. But the possibilities are endless.
Go ahead. Put your hand in a big dog’s mouth.