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September 1, 2009
Steel wire rope of the the German colliery &qu...

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This is part three of a series I started last week. (A tip of the hat to Kathleen McDade for inspiring the series)

Whenever we talk about humility and arrogance, there are two other values that come to mind: Trust and honesty. Without trust and honesty, it is hard for me to be humble. If you are honest, and I trust you, it is easier for me to be humble around you. When I am honest with myself, and I trust myself, it is easier to not be arrogant.

I’ve found that trusting others has a lot more to do with how I view myself, then it does with how they treat me. Of course, there’s the old adage, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This implies that a) we can all be fooled; b) once you’ve been fooled by someone, don’t trust them; and c) learn from your mistakes. But I have another take on trust. Let me explain:

If I am strong in my understanding of myself, my values, my strengths, and my weaknesses, I’m less likely to be drawn into a scheme that will fool me. When I know myself, I’m not going to agree to anything that doesn’t fit within my core values. I’m also less likely to be fooled by someone who doesn’t have my best interests in mind. When I know my own strengths and weaknesses, it is easier to say yes to things I’m comfortable with, and no to the things that don’t fit me.

It’s when I don’t know myself that I am susceptible to being drawn into someone else’s scam. The saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” It isn’t chance, it is about being purposeful.

A roulette wheel.

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When we are weak, or feel week and dis-empowered, we are likely to bend to the wishes and will of others. But after being burned two or three hundred times, we are likely to fall into that trap of not trusting anyone. How many women have you heard say, “All men are scum!” Or men say, “I don’t trust women.” Is this because men and women are inherently bad? Well, yes, ūüėČ but let me rephrase it. Are all men and women bad? No! Just some, who make bad choices.

But, if you know yourself, and carry yourself accordingly, you have little to fear. You’re not going to give into someone just because you are afraid not to. You know that no one can hurt you against your will. And you know that you choose your own reactions to how others behave.

[NOTE: This is not to discount random acts of violence that people do to one another. If you, or anyone you know has been randomly hurt by something beyond your control, I don’t want to negate that pain in anyway. Stuff happens – and I am sorry it happened to you or someone you know.]

Often, at least in my life, I put myself into situations where I am more likely to be hurt. I’ve been in a house with a drug dealer and his friends. Unfortunately I wasn’t there in an official capacity, so I didn’t have a lot of cops with guns to protect me. Situations like that can go awry, and I have been to the aftermath of those situations to treat the wounded and dying. My addictions led me to make poor choices, where I’m more likely to get hurt.

the face of emotional exhaustion (day 187)
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I have hooked up with women who hurt me. Not because their hurtful behavior came out of space and randomly struck me. No, it had more to do with neither of us having a clue what we wanted out of the relationship, except immediate gratification. When the immediate was gratified, we ended up hurting one another. Not because we were evil, but because we were broken. Hurting people hurt others.

So often, instead of fixing our own insecurities and brokenness, we steel ourselves in a silo of cynicism and steel. We think that by isolating our hearts from the pain of the world, we can’t be hurt, but like the following quote explains, which a friend recently posted on Facebook, we often end up hurting ourselves more through that lack of trust:

Quoted from the book “Captivating: ‘To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do – to grit your teeth & clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest & worst – is, by that very act, to be unable… to let something be done for you & in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed.’ (The Sacred Journey)

Trust us, we're expert

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The answer then, isn’t to quit trusting. But the trust has to start with yourself. If you don’t trust yourself, you can never trust others. For me, I couldn’t trust myself until I gave over my trust to a Higher Powerhowever you understand that. As my conscience, values, emotional IQ, and inner peace grew, it became easier to trust myself and the decisions I was capable of making. As I was able to trust myself, I had less of a need to be arrogant, or inflated. I had less to prove and more living to experience, within the bounds of reality.

Also, as I learned to trust myself, I had less of a need to distrust others. Really, unless I give them permission, they can’t hurt me.

It all boils down to dealing with my emotional baggage.

Next up in this series: honesty

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  1. Bridget Pilloud permalink
    September 1, 2009 2:32 pm

    I like this idea, about how it’s through trusting and knowing ourselves, we can learn to discern the integrity of others.

    It’s like trusting our intuition. Maybe that’s the same thing.


    • September 1, 2009 2:50 pm

      I think it is the same thing – but only if our conscience and intuition is in tune. Many of us were raised by parents who didn’t have the social and decision-making skills to pass onto us. As I mentioned in a previous post, it is only through therapy, self-reflection, and prayerful-meditation that I’ve been better at making choices and finding balance.

      A little less self-medication (OK, a lot less) and a little more self-reflection has really helped.

      Thanks for the feedback and affirmation!


  2. September 1, 2009 2:43 pm


    “The trust has to start with yourself.” Yes. That is something I still need work on.


  3. September 2, 2009 6:11 pm

    I trust myself only because I trust God to have my back…even if I screw up royally. He will be there to pick me up and forgive me. He is like a compass, I may not be on the exact path always but I’m going in the right direction….

    Would I trust myself apart from God? Maybe… but it would feel like stumbling around in the dark looking for the light switch. Kim


    • September 3, 2009 10:07 am

      For me, it’s not so much that God has my back, but that He’s leading the way. Too often, I feel as if I’m wandering around in the dark, and I don’t like that. But, as the Bible says, “He is the light.” and “He is the Way.” So, when I’m on His way, in His light, everything just falls into place.

      But, of course, when I get off track, He doesn’t abandon me – just like I would never abandon one of my kids.


  4. From Facebook permalink
    September 3, 2009 10:28 am

    From Facebook:

    Rubyjean Vance Anderson Clark
    – Tue at 4:25pm
    Gary, I enjoy reading your Post. when does the next one come out? This has been an interesting series.

    Gary Walter – Tue at 5:11pm
    Thanks! I write as I am struck with the creative spirit. I would like to write everyday, but being a husband and father takes priority.

    The best thing is to subscribe and have an email sent to you, or become a “fan” at
    I also write and publish my LIFE Journal and I’ve just been asked to edit one blog and write for another.

    Mike Fletcher
    – Tue at 8:14pm
    Gary…I’ve read this one a dozen times. Saved it to my hard drive so I can re-read over again. It speaks to me a great deal.



  1. Prequel: Humility, Arrogance, Trust, & Honesty « Confessing my Dad Attitude

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