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Openness, Trust, and Commitment

My post from yesterday elicited some comments from people, and one of the comments that came up concerned being open to possibilities.  I’m paraphrasing since I can’t remember exactly what was said, but essentially it was this:  if you are open to all futures good and bad and try to live in the now, how do you reconcile planning things for the future?  You have to accept some things will be such-and-such way in order to make plans for the future, especially when you are talking months or further away, right?

Yes.  I can’t argue with that.  I spoke a lot about living in the now, and not letting the past rule the future.  I still think that is very true.  But in order to plan nearly anything, I am placing a bet that something will be the same as it is now (or perhaps better).  I am taking a risk that things may not be the same, which could lead to anywhere from small to massive disappointment and pain, and sometimes loss of money as well.

So what can you rely on?  Well, only one thing really comes to mind: trust.  In order to plan for the future, trust has to be there.  You need to trust that what the other person says will be true.  You need to trust that their actions will follow their words.  You need to trust that they are not lying to you, or taking advantage of you, or misleading you for their own gain, or not taking things seriously, or etc. etc. etc.  I think you get the point.

But what happens when you don’t trust somebody?  What happens when you don’t trust yourself?  Can you plan for the future when you don’t trust that someone will hold true to what they say?  Can you plan for the future if you aren’t certain your own feelings will be the same?  Because how can you truly be certain your feelings *will* be the same X time from now?

You can’t.  You can never say for certain, which is why I loathe when people say something will be absolute for the future.  I am a different person than I was a month ago.  That person was different from the one 5 months before that.  And that person was different etc. etc.  People evolve, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly.  Sometimes one event can change everything if you are open to it.  Sometimes it will take a hundred.

The only thing I think can be done is to make a commitment.  It can be to a person or to an idea.  The word “commitment” has been a bit bastardized over time, but it really just means that you are committed to something or someone.  No, you can’t know what is in the future.  No, you don’t always trust someone, or even yourself.  I definitely have trouble trusting myself sometimes, especially since I know I occasionally lie to myself.

But if you can commit yourself to something/someone…  Maybe you can help shape the future.  Maybe you can help shape the now.

Who knows.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Sara | September 13, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I think it’s important to remember context here. You’re not just throwing these observations out as general commentary on life; you’re speaking from the perspective of someone who is going through a really rough time emotionally. Sometimes, in that situation, thinking too much about the past or the future can get overwhelming, and the only way to get through it is to focus on one step, one minute, one day at a time. It’s not possible to worry about the future until one survives the present.

    Besides that, I think The Bloggess had something very relevant to say in her piece which inspired your previous entry: Depression lies. When you’re in a bad place emotionally, you’re probably not percieving the past or forecasting the future accurately. You look back and you see only mistakes and pain and sorrow; you look forward and convince yourself that only bad things are looming on the horizon. I’m not speaking hypothetically here — this is something I’ve seen you personally do in the past, and I can’t tell you how glad I was to see that you had noticed it and were trying to mitigate it this time around.

    It’s no good trying to place bets on the future, as you put it, in that frame of mind. When you do that (and I’m back to the general “you”, not you personally, now), you’re acting on incomplete and very biased information. The negative emotional state becomes self-reinforcing. What you have to do is remind yourself that whether your perception of the past is accurate or not, it is the past and you cannot change it. You can only move forward from the place where you find yourself now. Likewise, you cannot directly affect events in the future, but you can make choices now that will affect your future. Now is all you can really control. So now is when you live, until you get back to a place where you can assess the bigger picture more accurately.

  2. Sara | September 13, 2012 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Previously, I said: “When you do that…you’re acting on incomplete and very biased information.”

    I had been trying to think of an appropriate analogy, and I just did. It’s like trying to decide how to vote based solely on the opinions of Fox News, discounting any and all other opinions and information that might contradict them.

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