Generosity, Trust, and Dependability
The above traits are just a little part of what my husband Mark has shared with me over our past 37 years together. I don't often review in specificity the gifts that Mark’s presence gently lays at my feet. However, an unfortunate interaction this past week prompted some healthy and helpful reflection.
As someone who was unable to trust others in the early years of my life, trust has become foundational for me. It precludes feelings of safety and reciprocity in relationships. While spending time with a counselor over the summer we chatted about who children can trust and how that ability to trust sets the stage for various types of human connection. Regardless of my own testing of Mark, and putting him through my paces over 37 years, he has always earned and respected the gift of my trust.
The next trait that came to mind while exploring why I was triggered this past week was generosity. Mark is consistently generous. He gives his time, his talent, and his unwavering support not only to his loved ones but also those in need. This is a shared trait in our relationship. It is an expectation I hold for myself and others. Luckily, I have crossed paths with several people that share this social standard of generosity — of putting back more than you are taking or getting.
Since we have lived together as a couple, Mark and I have had six different people live with us. The results have been mixed, I imagine this is the experience of many people. As we were discussing what we thought made some times work and others not so much, our conversation kept turning back toward generosity.
In my couple sessions of counseling this summer I learned that my mind spends a ton of time working on solving what I see as ‘big picture’ problems. For some time, I have been working on what can be done to shift the direction humans are heading. I think selfishness is one of the primary character traits that needs to be eradicated. When I think about how we can best do this, I circles back to trust. It seems selfishness is a side effect of lacking trust. While this inability to trust may feel personal, it ultimately has social and societal effects.
It was Mark’s dependability that ultimately allowed my conditioned fight or flight response and reactions to slip away. With this dependability, trust, and generosity we have cultivated a loving and respectful relationship.
When I look around at the deep meaningful friendships that I hold dear in my life they possess these same traits. I see these as true blessings.
What traits do you hold dear when connecting to other humans? Are there any human traits you would like to see eradicated? Is there someone in your life who has helped your growth by giving you something you didn't get as a child? Have you thanked them lately?