Stand by Me

Trust is a big deal to me, and ultimately the reason a lot of my friendships crumble. I have a couple of friends, and I wouldn’t even necessarily call them “really close friends” that I would trust with my life. In the end, it comes down to one very simple idea: support. When people support me through all of my intelligent decisions and my mistakes, it is easy to trust them. When people tell me that something was incredibly stupid (not counting honest mistakes), I trust them because they were honest with me. What causes me to lose trust in people is when they aren’t honest with me, they don’t listen to me, or they don’t hold me up.

I finished The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson a few days ago, and the one thing that has popped into my mind every single day since I read it is the idea that when people aren’t happy about our success, it is because they feel threatened by us. It bothered me immediately because it’s true.  As human beings, we absolutely look out for ourselves and then others. Coming from a Christian background I was always taught, “first God, then others, then yourself.” I cannot tell you when I figured out that is not the way the vast majority of people operate, but I can almost guarantee you I was pre-pubescent. So, if I’ve known this long that people start with themselves, and quite frankly end with themselves, how is it possible to find people you can trust to support you and not turn on you?

Some people are unpredictable, but here are a few ways in which I have navigated the system in the past, and placed trust in some great people.

  1. Tell your friends what your goals are. I don’t care if this is a daily goal, monthly goal, yearly goal, or life goal. Just share your goals. By opening up and sharing what you hope to accomplish, you will see in the moment how this friend responds. Hesitance is usually not a good sign. If this friend truly believes in you, then even a lofty goal will be met with encouragement. When seeking to achieve this goal, stick with those people who encouraged you rather than met you with hesitation.
  2. Start doing. Sometimes, even those people who encouraged you at first will change their tune once they see you being successful. This comes mostly from jealousy. That friend is now wondering what your secret to success was, and why they are lacking it. Rather than asking you for help, guidance, mentorship, etc., they’re backing off. Find the friends who want to pick your brain instead of the friends who want to run away.
  3. Believe in yourself. If you truly believe in yourself, deep down, through and through, it won’t really matter what other people say and do. Of course it helps to have a network, but unless these people are your partners in business, they are not essential. Accept that what you want is what you want, and know what you need to do to achieve that. Having the confidence in yourself has the ability to change other people’s minds. Likewise, having the confidence in yourself allows YOU to go out and do what you want.

Published by She Got The PhD

A web-based soapbox of an Assistant Professor of color in Chemical Engineering; sharing my feelings on books, academia, and current events. I hope you enjoy reading :)

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