Why do we trust? Why do we open ourselves up to possible failure? Possible pain? Why do we expose ourselves to that kind of emotion?
These things have been swimming around in my mind tonight. Of course, these questions could be asked about multiple endeavors in life. But I want to focus on relationships with other people. Friends. Family. Loved ones. Lovers. These people that we draw close to us. The people that we want to be there when we need them. The people we share our most intimate vulnerabilities with.
Why do we draw people in like this? Don’t we know we can get hurt? Of course we do. But like so many other things in life, we take the risk. We take out a trust in that other person that they will not hurt us. That they will not use the vulnerabilities we expose to them to hurt us. That they will not use them as weapons to wound us. Because that wound will probably never heal. Not completely. It will heal superficially, yes. But that cut will run deep. Very deep. No amount of apology or explanation will ever heal the scar tissue left in the wake.
This is obviously why we have to choose our friends, our family (and yes, you can choose family), our loved ones, and even our lovers very carefully. We have to take them through a deep background check in our mind. Verify their bona fides before they can be let in. Before they can be exposed. Before they can be shown the true self we hide from everyone else. This is a trust issue like no other. And we must take it seriously.
And what’s in it for us on the other side? On the surface, it’s a relationship. A real, live human relationship. One with joys, heartbreak, happiness, sorrow, incredible pleasure, and unbelievable pain. We cherish the good. And we withstand the wave of bad. In the end, we hope for a split that we can live with. And maybe, just maybe, the good will outweigh the bad.
Under the surface, however, we can use these relationships as a foundation for something much greater. We can use these relationships, this grouping of shared knowledge from person to person, to build a support system that will guide us through the everyday. That will form the basis for us navigating through life. As we all know, life is messy. I mean damn messy. And who do we lean on when things seem lost? When we can’t seem to find our way back to the path? That’s right, we turn to friends, family, loved ones, and even lovers. They are there to help us. To guide us.
This is why we reach out. This is why we relate. This is why we love.