Living a life with purpose: Trust

Written by Heather Hymas

Trust: that elusive and ambiguous noun.

The concept is so abstract it’s like trying to smell the color seven. Or feel the sound of the wind in the trees. How can something so strong and so powerful also be so fragile? It is the hardest thing to find and to keep, yet it is the easiest thing to break and to lose.

Lately, I have been considering the concept of trust and attempting to not only possess it but to give it to others. How does one do that? How do you fully trust someone? How do you know if someone trusts you? How do we ever really harness such an abstract concept and keep it stable? Is it impossible? Is it an ever-changing flux that ebbs and flows like the tide?

Living a life with purpose is all about trust. In the garden of life, trust is like an onion. It has so many layers—there are so many levels, sizes, and types of trust. I trust the mechanic to fix my car when I take it to him. I trust the girl at the drive-thru to get my order right. I trust my friends to pay me back money when I lend it to them. I trust people to do what they say they are going to do all the time. I trust my daughter to call me. I trust that if I drop something, it is going to fall to the ground, like gravity, like science. I trust that if I read the news, the events really happened. These are all layers of trust that we peel through every single day. They are important, and they are real, but they are not the kind of trust I am talking about.

I am talking about real trust. Trust that someone has your best interest at heart. Trust that you will accept me. Trust that I can accept you and your differences, and in those differences still see our oneness. Trust that you can see through my bullshit, my hardness, and the walls that I’ve erected and love my gooey inner center that I hide from most of the world. Trust that I can come unglued or be angry and you will still love the kind, soft, gentle parts of me, even when they have gone into hibernation. Trust that when I show you something painful or embarrassing you will tell me that you understand, that you relate, or that you will show me something just as hideous and painful about yourself. Trust that we are all the same ginormous, beautiful, magnificent heap of contradictions: good, bad, glorious, and ugly, all wrapped into one.

I am talking about love.

Love equals trust.


If our purpose here on this planet is to love one another, that love must have a basic foundation of trust. Without trust, there is no love. How can I love myself if I do not trust myself? How can I love you if I don’t trust you? Easy. I cannot.

We all want to be loved. We all want to be accepted for who we are at any given moment. We all want to be trusted, but we are all wary of trusting others. We are all afraid of getting hurt. We put up walls. We cover our hearts with excuses, with jokes, with pain, and with cloaks of past experiences that cloud our judgment. So what is the key that unlocks the door? How do we fully learn to trust?

For me, it was about forgiveness and acceptance. I had to find a way to accept the ugly parts of myself along with the magnificent ones. I had to trust in the fact that I would make mistakes and would screw up and that it was OK—I could still love myself. Once I could see and do these things for myself, I was able to do them for you. I had to give myself a break. I had to give myself permission to be different, to be “less than” in some areas, to be a jerk sometimes, and to say I’m sorry. Trust isn’t about never screwing up, and it isn’t about good intentions. Trust is about letting people be human, actually trying to understand their behavior, and learning from our mistakes so that we move on. I want to let you in, and I want to be trustworthy.

Just like an onion, some of the layers will burn or make you cry, but once you peel off the old, dead parts and get to the fresh, healthy center, it tastes amazing.