Children who grow up believing that they can do anything, that they are lovable and capable, and that life is an exciting adventure to be explored and enjoyed experience life very differently from those who grow up believing the opposite. Children who are loved and properly cared for are gifted with the sense that whatever happens, things will turn out alright. Those who don’t have this experience in childhood often lack this sense of safety and security or expect the worst. Distrust robs them of their sense of possibility and “Yes, I can!” This is a great disadvantage.
Beliefs are very often self-fulfilling prophecies: They color what we’re experiencing, and this affects how we respond to others and to life, which in turn affects what happens next. Often whatever happens next creates a feedback loop that reinforces our beliefs. A simple example is if you believe that people are rude and someone accidently bumps into you on a crowded street, you’re likely to interpret that as rudeness and react angrily toward them. Your reaction is likely to elicit an unfriendly, if not angry, response from them, which reinforces your belief that people are rude. You actually created an unpleasant situation without realizing it by your incorrect assumption.
Here’s a more general example. People who believe that life is good and trustworthy act as if this is so, and they don’t let fear or life’s difficulties stop them. They don’t take difficulties personally and feel persecuted by them or define difficulties as insurmountable problems. Difficulties are accepted as a normal part of life, as challenges that can be learned from along the road to success. The success that results from this attitude reinforces their belief in the goodness of life.
On the other hand, those who are distrustful of life and of themselves let their fear and distrust stop them before they even get started. Any difficulties are experienced as proof of their unworthiness and the harshness of life. Instead of moving past difficulties, they allow themselves to be defeated by them, thereby reinforcing their belief that life can’t be trusted and they won’t ever be happy or have what they want.
Our beliefs create a mental and emotional state that is peaceful or not peaceful, content or discontent, accepting or angry, happy or unhappy, loving or unloving, fearless or fearful. Our beliefs are very powerful—if we believe them. They create an internal reality, or internal emotional climate. They also influence external reality—what we do, how we behave, how others respond to us, what opportunities come to us, and what opportunities we take advantage of. Those who grow up with beliefs that cause them to fear and distrust life live with an internal state that is not only uncomfortable, but also blocks them from experiencing love, abundance, happiness, and peace.
No one deserves a less happy and less fulfilling life than is possible, but that’s what many who are caught in fear and distrust experience. And, of course, the results of their fear and distrust reinforce their negative beliefs about themselves and life. That’s the unfortunate situation many find themselves in.
It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to overcome the fear and distrust that interfere with a happy and an abundant life. It’s really good news that we have some control over our internal state. There are many things about life we can’t control, but we do have some control over—and responsibility for—our internal state. We can learn to modify it and so change our inner and outer realities.
Here’s another example of how distrust can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and be reinforced. Many children grow up unloved and, as a result, conclude that they are unlovable. If you couldn’t trust your parents to love and support you, then why would you trust others to love you or life to support you? You’d feel like you’re on your own in life, even while you see others being loved and taken care of. You’re likely to feel separate and apart from others, like they have something you don’t have and will never have—they can be happy, but not you.
If you feel this way, then when others approach you, you may doubt their interest in you. You may even feel like they’ll hurt you, although you may be unconscious of assuming this. As a result, you’re likely to be shy, cautious, and closed instead of friendly, warm, open, and giving. So, how do others respond to that? Most likely, they won’t pursue getting to know you. Even someone who’s generally open and friendly might not be that way toward someone who appears uninviting and unapproachable.
When we are withholding, withdrawn, and cautious, others tend to be withholding, withdrawn, and cautious toward us. Then the beliefs that we aren’t lovable, don’t belong, and won’t be supported are reinforced, and feeling lovable and open to others becomes even more difficult. Being distrusting and fearful tends to bring out the same in others.
Fortunately, this goes for more positive states as well: When we’re warm, friendly, kind, and caring, that also tends to be how others respond to us. What we put out, we tend to get back. Distrust and fear don’t bring us the life we want or deserve, while the opposite—trust and love—do. Distrust and fear are anti-life, while trust and love are the essence of life.
Many people are caught in this bind: Distrusting others and distrusting life create experiences that reinforce that distrust. Here’s another example: Because they don’t trust that life will support them through work they love, many take whatever job comes along, a job they are ill-suited for, or a job just because it pays well. Although there may be times when we need to take such jobs temporarily, for many, these types of jobs become a permanent career. When we are in work that we aren’t suited for or don’t like, we’re bound to be unhappy, not perform at our best, and not feel good about ourselves. These feelings reinforce the original sense of life not being good, supportive, abundant, or potentially happy.
Contrast this experience with someone who doesn’t settle for just any job but pursues work that excites and interests him or her. Every step of this process requires trust: The person has to trust the drive to do that kind of work, trust that he or she can follow through on the many hours of study and training required, and trust that there will be a job available. No one can know for sure how this will turn out, but the desire to do that work doesn’t stand a chance of being fulfilled without trust every step of the way.
Those who distrust themselves and life are likely to distrust their longing to do a particular kind of work. Even if they do trust that longing, they might sabotage the fulfillment of this dream by distrusting their ability to complete the training, find a job, or do well at it. People who distrust life find reasons to not pursue what they really want to do. Then what they’re left with is something they don’t want to do, something that can’t make them happy.
81 Reviews on Amazon averaging 4.4 out of 5 stars!
Here's what reviewers are saying ...
© 2009 - present by Gina Lake
Endless Satsang Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 20433, Sedona AZ 86341
Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 11-3721388