Good Faith

Truth - Faith is often articulated to be a belief in things beyond belief. Faith however can also be explained to be a certainty in something or someone that you know to be true. Faith surpasses doubt and pushes you further just hope and wishes. Faith is a confirmation of strength and fortitude in something bigger than you. Faith fundamentally about trust not only in yourself but in others, and the world around you. When you act in good faith it is the implication of sincerity of intention.
 
"Different people, in good faith, can look at the same fact and interpret it differently. But that's where an interesting conversation begins." Eric Schlosser
 
Trust issues are common for good reason. There have been so many times where I have found myself questioning the authenticity of who people present themselves to me as or their intent in befriending me. Mistrust is a learned behavior. It manifests itself after repeated instances of having your trust being taken for granted and broken. This past year has been one of rebuilding and trying to figure out how I can extend the trust that I used to be so courageous with to others again. Giving your trust really is brave. To allow a stranger into your life and to have no idea as to whether they intend to harm or help you is mortifying. Letting someone in is truly a risk, a gamble, and a wager. Of course they could contribute positively to your life and just as easily hurt you from the inside. I have found the world to be both a phenomenal place where people do serious good unto others and a dark existence where people betray one another in dastardly ways. It may sound cynical but the world really is both and the grayness of ambiguity in between. I still believe nonetheless that most people really do want to be a benevolent force and affect benign change for others. I trust in the collective spirit of humanity that wants to be connected to one another. I hold in my heart that the honesty of our intentions is amiable.
 
Coming to the realization that I trusted people to easily was at the same time frustrating and telling of who I am as a person. I have known this fact for so long. Even high school me was privy to the fact that I strive to find ways to let people in. People who demonstrated kindness towards their fellow person or extended their kindness to me won me over almost instantaneously. That still rings true to this day even though there have been times where having faith in people has been a mistake. It's been a learning experience of trying to discern who people are, but what I have learned is that you can never really know. You just have to speculate and hope your get your return back and then some. We don't really have a choice in the matter. Either we block everyone out and walk alone never meeting new people in a meaningless solitude or we challenge ourselves to bring others in but run the risk of being compromised. The business of people though is risky but one where the bet makes good of its payout more often than not. It is also fair to guard yourself, to be thorough in the establishment of connection, and to caution against those who harbor ill will. Trust though in contingent upon a granting of good faith be applied to most people lest they give you reason to rescind it. People are why we are here. Relationship is life.
 
The past few days have served as a major reminder of that last sentence. Relationship is life. I have had to reconcile, choose connection over being right, and reconcile with myself before reaching out to others. Pride, stubbornness, and doubt are things I contend with but continually overcome. I know that the cost of being separated from people is one that too much to bear. I found myself not only being one who had to speak those words to others but was made to live up to them myself. Life has a funny way of making sure you stay true to your word. Remember that email exchange that I was being melodramatic about, yeah I got over it super fast in rationalizing that the alternative, that is disconnection, anguish, and disarray was not worth it, nor was it what I really wanted. I spent the following day taking time for myself in gorging on junk food, studying for a midterm, and reconnecting with no one but myself. I spent the rest of the weekend at a Greek Life retreat helping to facilitate conversations with passionate students about their community. It was just as impactful for me as I imagine it was for them as they served as a reminder that I was still capable of availing myself for connection and to build relationships. No matter how guarded I pretend myself to be, that openness that I was so familiar with is still latent within me.
 
Is anyone else ever surprised with how much people like you or even more so how much you like other people? I am thoroughly impressed and I have no idea why. I usually like almost all people save for those that show malignancy in their words and actions directed to other. I left that retreat feeling energized, empowered, and enthusiastic about not only chosen field of study but my abilities to connect with other people. I was still capable of letting people know they mattered and giving myself authentically. I listened in on a conversation with the active brothers of my fraternal organization that proved just how dangerous choosing being right, or proving others wrong can be to relationships. To me to it made it even more clear how easily we can stop believing in the good faith that most people act and speak with. Relationships are fragile and be destroyed just as quickly as they were formed if we do not care for them. I rounded out the weekend studying into the wee hours of the morning before leading my carpool to our exam. To be honest, I felt so good about it and I hope that's a sign that I did well. I'll find out soon enough. Home I went to relax and catch up on some TV.
 
While I may not know what everyone I meet fosters in their heart, what I do know is that people are what matter most. We have to believe them to intend good and lend them the benefit of the doubt, lest we walk through life by ourselves alone. We can take them for who they are and protect ourselves in the process. In fact, we should do both. I hope as life goes on that I come into contact with people carry love, peace, and compassion with them. I also wish to be that person for others as well. X

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