Love without Trust

I read back through some old posts today and found a Yogi Bhajan quote that I shared: "Love without trust is like a river without water."

There are people in my life whom I love, but whom I don't trust with my feelings. I don't share myself with them. I'm a human shell that provides carefully calculated reactions to their actions. So what is that relationship exactly?

Is that really love?

It takes all the tools in my spiritual shed to be around them. I reinforce my emotional boundaries before being in their presence. I have to repeat to myself, " I'm okay. I'm safe. The entire universe is within me," while they say racist, homophobic, or generally close-minded things.

I have to choke back the urge to say, "Where did you read that statistic?" or "Do you hear yourself dehumanizing other people right now?" Inevitably, it will boil down to faulty religious doctrine mixed with a desperate need to validate their own choices. 

And all at once, my roiling anger will be washed away when I recognize their deep untouched pain.

A few years ago, I might have blamed my visceral reactions on anxiety issues. (Because it's the annoying cousin of depression, of course.) I now realize that I cannot tolerate hatefulness or controlling behavior. 

I also understand that when someone has been hurt so profoundly, they might deny it to protect themselves and then turn their pain out onto everyone around them. They build up walls and define things in their minds with immovable SHOULDs and SHOULDN'Ts. They lie to themselves constantly. They actively choose blindness. They're scared.

But it IS love.

Because I'm still going to sit and look them in the eyes while they rant in the opposite direction of compassion. I'll follow them as far as I can and still hug them at the end. I'm going to do the work to uphold my boundaries to be in their presence because I love them.

I will refrain from trying to educate them or change their minds because any argument will fortify their fear and anger and push them farther away from the truth.

One of my favorite quotes from my favorite person in the world is:

It's the ultimate expression of love. I'm going to let you believe what you want to believe even if I know it hurts other people, and I'm going to believe what I believe without forcing it on everyone around me.

I read a mind-bending article this week called "We're Going to Need More than Empathy." Rather than empathizing with people via our commonalities, I will reach beyond that to empathize with their otherness. 

If I can reach the beating heart in the other, a connection will have been made. That's the best I can do.

It's the biggest kind of love.


  1. I love this part:

    "I'll follow them as far as I can and still hug them at the end."

    One of the most beautiful imagery of compassion and love I've heard. I'm adopting it.


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