It would be true to say that because of my trusting nature we have had people steal from us, but not in any major kind of way. It would also be true that from time to time I, and my family, have been taken advantage of. But again, usually not to a huge extent, nor have I failed to put a stop to it once the matter was spotted, so I wouldn't say we've suffered greatly in that area. To anyone reading this who knows us personally there is one glaring exception to what I've just said, though, and that would be what happened with my foster son. Interestingly, however, the horrible things he did to us (and I'll grant they were, in fact, pretty horrible things) didn't occur until he was twenty-one years old and a long-established member of the family. But that is a story all its own that stand separate from everything else. It's a story I will write about when I'm ready (it'll be soon, I think). I'm not yet ready, though, and I don't want to wander off track here.
My point is that I am a trusting person but I'm not a fool about it, although my kids express some concern regarding my potential in that area. Basically, they worry about me. But I want to stay a trusting person, and I have my reasons.
And here they are:
First of all, I know that I, personally, can be trusted. I've worked very hard at that throughout my life, making it a priority to be a trustworthy person and stressing to my children the importance of integrity. Not that I'm perfect - far from it. Naturally I will sometimes fail, sometimes fall short of my own standards, sometimes let someone down. But I try very hard not to let that happen, and when it does, I own up to it, apologize, and try to learn how not to let it happen again.
Now, I cannot possibly allow myself to believe that I am the only person in the world who values their integrity in this way. To tell myself such a thing would be not only illogical but supremely arrogant. There must be other trustworthy people. There must, I would think, be lots and lots of other trustworthy people. I cannot bring myself to think otherwise.
Secondly, and this is the most important point on this topic for me, I certainly can't ask the young people I encounter to trust me if I trust no one myself. I'd be telling to do as I say but not as I do, I'd be telling them in a sense that I don't believe my own words, I'd be asking them to believe I am worthy of their trust while at the same time setting an example that says I don't believe the same of anyone else. I'd be a hypocrite.
So I am determined to remain a trusting person. Not a naive person - that's not the same thing - but a person who applies judgment, takes the risk, and then steps forward well aware of the possible costs. Will I be hurt again, as I sometimes have in the past? Probably. No, certainly. But I am not afraid of that; I am not afraid to experience let-downs and disappointments and painful feelings. I will not "protect" myself by putting up a barrier of guardedness and suspicion at the cost of being the person I wish to be.
No, when the time comes again - and it surely will - when someone breaks my trust of maybe even my heart, I will feel those feelings willingly and ride out the proverbial storm and come out the other side continuing to believe what I must believe... in order to believe in myself.
In the well-known and admirable words of Anne Frank, "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart."