recently sadie and i were talking about internet and personal safety. it was a good talk, but i was left feeling like i had said something off. not a feeling from her, but from myself. i later figured it out, i had said “i trust you” and i had this nagging feeling that there was more that needed said, and so i wrote her this letter. she gave me permission to share it as a blog post.
i’ve been thinking a lot about what it means when someone says “i trust you” and what it feels like when someone says that to you.
on one hand, it can make you feel like the person saying it thinks you don’t do anything they would consider “wrong” and lead to feelings of guilt if you do anything you think they wouldn’t approve of. on the other, it can make you feel good to be trusted. it’s complicated.
i’ve been thinking it’s a thing to not say maybe. i worry it could be misunderstood. like thinking it’s all about “right” or “wrong.”
i worry that by saying “i trust you” that you will start feeling guilty for anything you’ve ever done that you imagine i wouldn’t like…even if you don’t know for sure if i would or not, just that you don’t know or assume. and that now that i said that you will never be able to talk to me about stuff for fear of my not trusting you anymore…or judging you.
when i say “i trust you” i don’t mean that i think you are perfect and would never do anything “wrong.” it means i trust that you have the ability to follow YOUR OWN sense of right and wrong. not mine. or anyone else’s. a lot of kids think that the only thing parents mean when they talk about trust is sex and drugs and alcohol. and that’s part of it. but it’s not the whole picture. i trust that if you have sex or use drugs or alcohol, you are doing so of your own choice. not from peer pressure. that you are curious about how it will feel. that you are making choices from a place of self-awareness and with people you trust not to hurt you or take advantage of you or who will take care of you if you need it. and that you will call me (or dad or your brothers or someone you really trust) if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to.
but it goes beyond those typical things. i trust that you know yourself, i trust that you can handle your relationships, that you are kind when you can be and gently unkind when you have to be, and when you have moments of thoughtlessness and hurt someone, that you know how to apologize. and mean it. and learn from it. that you make no space in your life for people who would purposely hurt you. that you will know when you need to ask for help and when you can do something on your own. that you can talk to me about anything and i won’t judge you. that you dance when you feel like it and sleep when you want to and eat what you love and smile at puppies and love your life and move through it with confidence and beauty and open arms…
i hope you will always know that my trust in you is about your self-knowledge and not about actions or normal exploration of this amazing life. and that i love you more than i can ever express.Share