Thursday, September 29, 2011

Excuse me, Can I Trust you?

I have a hard time trusting people, and that's why I do everything myself. From self hair-cuts to moving furniture into my new apartment by myself, don't worry, I can take care of it myself. 

When I was a little kid, I can remember this press for sound effects book that I had. You'd read through the story and press the appropriate button on the side of the book to make a sound effect taking place in the story. There was this one about a mother hen and her chicks. The mother hen said, "Fine, I'll do it myself!" so often that she had a button to make that very sound effect (in human speak, not chicken speak!). I would press it over and over and laugh at the mother hen. I couldn't imagine at that age not having someone help me, although I enjoyed my independence most of the time. I liked when my mom helped me do things, and I loved helping her do chores. It just felt like the right thing to do, that we would help one another as family.

Fast forward to now, and I can't stand help. I can't stand someone holding a door open for me (any feminist issues with door-holding aside), I can't stand when someone offers to help me carry heavy stuff in, I just can't. I actually get mad at people that offer to help me. I even get mad when my boyfriend offers to help me, most of the time. Something about the notion that someone would even think that "I couldn't do it myself" upsets me very greatly. So I do everything.

Around a year or so ago, I started thinking about this. I tested it out a few times, let people I knew I could trust do little things for me. I tried to offer to manage everything less in little ways with people I didn't know if I could trust. I didn't take over discussion in a group for a class even when I felt like no one was going to do a competent job at leading us. I just tested it, despite my great discomfort.

As I got more used to it, my dislike of it didn't necessarily lessen, but my stress levels certainly did. I could let some things slide. I didn't have to take care of everything by myself. In the end of that story, if I remember right, the mother chicken makes this delicious pie(?) and the little chicks aren't allowed to eat any because they didn't help out. Maybe she relented when they offered to help her in the future and learned the value of helping another person. I don't recall. But I think what I can still take away from this story is that not only am I causing myself so much tension and stress by being responsible for so much, but that I'm not letting the people that love me actually love me. In a way, I'm even keeping myself from trusting them. Because if only I can do anything the "proper way," then no one else can really ever measure up. 

I think it was a good reminder today when I made myself get a hair cut at a salon. Note: I can't cut my own hair. I suck at it. It doesn't look great and it's all uneven. But I've been doing this for the last 8 years or so because I don't trust a stylist to do something the way I want it, typically. Today, I had a better experience. The stylist pretty much did what I wanted, maybe not PERFECTLY, but I really like that I was able to put my trust in her as a seasoned stylist at a good salon to get the job done. Not that trust should always include paying someone to do something for you, but I think you get the general idea. 

I guess the caveat is that we have to learn who to trust, but we have to give people the benefit of the doubt (like I gave my stylist). The world won't come crashing down if it isn't in what we perceive to be perfect order.  

Universe: hi, actually, I'm in perfect order already. Didn't you notice all the intricate patterns and details I leave behind in trees, shells, and the cream swirl in your coffee so that you notice?

So here's to trusting others, and here's to not needing absolute perfection.

Hope you have a beautifully imperfect night and day tomorrow,


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