28 Apr It’s a Matter of Trust
She knew the woman for years, they shared dreams, consoled each other and celebrated together. She explained that while she still had affection for the woman she could no longer be in relationship with the woman because she could no longer trust the woman. Her reaction and her pledge to abandon years of friendship, made me pause in deep reflection and ask myself, “Do I trust others? Do I need to be trusted?”
Do I trust others?
I release you from the expectation that you have to live up to my trust. My trust is not a badge of honour for you to wear. I remove from you the burden of being trusted. You do not have to jump through hoops to earn my trust, you do not have to keep proving that you deserve my trust. I lighten your burden, as I do mine. I no longer have to decide whom to trust or whom not to trust. I free myself from searching for evidence of whether or not you should be trusted. I am unfettered by the ramifications of broken trust.
You are free to be who you want, do what you want and say what you want in relation to me. Your words and actions will have consequences.
Do I need to be trusted?
I release myself from needing your blessing of being trusted. I no longer genuflect at the altar of your trust, waiting for you to bestow the magic words, “I trust you.” I am unfettered, I am free. I free you from judging my actions, looking keenly to see if I meet the trust standard. You now have one less task. I do not need or want you to trust me. I want you to relate to me. I am free to be who I want, do what I want and say what I want in relation to you. My words and actions will have consequences.
What about trust?
I trust myself. The trust that I place in myself is universal – it is vested in all of us. This trust is in you too. You do not have to trust me, you need to trust yourself. And as you trust you and as I trust me our interconnected-ness grows and our humanity expands.
When we place our trust in others, we are putting our internal on the external. We weaken our connection to self. We ask others to care for something that only holds true value to us. When we make demands to trust others we are also asking them to give up valuable bits of themselves.
When our trust is broken, the hurt is deep, because we suffer an internal wound. When our trust is broken it takes a long time to heal, because it is an internal wound. When our trust is broken we feel unsure and it takes a while to recover because we have betrayed ourselves.
I believe that we are all interconnected as human beings. My trust is for me, as yours is for you. When I trust myself and you trust yourself, all the rest will fall in place.
Tell me, whom do you trust?
Egg Crates for Sherry
He opened the kitchen drawer and shook his head. He opened another, looked at me and said,“What’s with all the empty egg crates?
I looked up and explained, “Oh I keep them for Sherry. She sells eggs. I keep the crates for her.”
He tried to keep a straight face, “ When last did you give her crates? They are all over the place.”
A week later, as I was cleaning the house, I realized just how many egg crates I was keeping for Sherry. That made me stop and pause.
Sherry works at my last place of formal employment. I left that place 18 months ago. Since then I have been back at that office twice. I have no reason to return there and the office’s location is not on my regular route.
Yet, I convinced myself that I was going to pass and drop off these egg crates. Even better, I convinced myself that Sherry really needed my crates. I was sure that Sherry needed egg crates specifically from me.
In that moment, I realized that I was holding on to the past and hadn’t let go. Part of me still wanted to have use, and relevance to a story that was over 18 months ago.
With that awareness, I went from drawer to drawer, retrieving egg crates and putting them in a garbage bag.
I know for sure that Sherry will survive without them.
What’s your egg crate? What are you holding on to?
It happened to me, too
He was senior to me and we had little interaction. Thus, when he entered my office, in his plaid, short sleeved shirt, I greeted him enthusiastically, “Hi Mr C.”
He grumbled something, extended his left hand and held onto my left breast. I can see it now, in slow motion as I type.
I dug the nails of my right hand into his exposed lower left arm, flung his hand away, and shouted “No.”
He looked at me, confused and hurt, then shuffled out of my office. I followed him, hot on his heels. When he ducked into his office, I continued to the CEO’s office.
I bypassed the CEO’s secretary and barged into his office. I shouted, “Your man grabbed me.” The CEO looked up at me; he had no idea what I was talking about. I continued. “ Mr C, just grabbed my left breast. And you need to do something about it.” I turned, left his office, even more outraged.
I returned to my desk, dialed my girlfriend,who is a lawyer, and told her what happened. She commiserated and explained that while there wasn’t a sexual harassment law, there were other legal measures that could be taken. The first step was to document the event and send it to my superiors.
I emailed the CEO and my direct report and copied the cretin. The email detailed the events, indicated that I spoke to my lawyer and demanded that something be done.
No-one responded to my email, but within the week the cretin was gone. He was off the payroll and not on the vendor’s list. Life went on.
Weeks’ later two women, who reported to me, shared that Mr C. had also touched them inappropriately. I asked them why they didn’t report the event to me. Their responses were:
- They didn’t know what to do, since there was no policy or procedure around this.
- Mr C was the CEO’s right hand man and very powerful,
- They thought reporting would be frowned upon
- They feared that no one would believe them
- They didn’t think anything would be done about it
- They didn’t think that they had any form of recourse.
It didn’t end there. At the company’s Christmas function, the CEO was holding court, sharing war stories. In front of me, he shared the story of the time that I barged into his office. He chuckled and remarked, ” Poor Mr C, I had to let him go. He touched the wrong one.”
As I participated in the consultation on the National Draft Policy on Sexual Harassment, that event came to mind and I shared it with my peers. After sharing, a colleague quietly and confidentially shared her story of sexual harassment with me. She confessed that she had never shared her story before (not even with her husband), and expressed her relief in getting it off her chest, some twenty plus years later.
What’s your story on sexual harassment?
What did you see or experience?
If you cannot share publicly, message me and I will share it anonymously for you. I fully support the National Policy on Sexual Harassment. This needs to stop.
Being of Service
I enthusiastically picked up the phone because one of my favorite persons was on the other end. Uncharacteristically, she sounded hesitant. “Maxine” she started. “I need a favor. HRMATT needs a strategic session and we need a facilitator.” (Human Resources Management Association of Trinidad and Tobago)
I did not hesitate to respond, “Yes, I will do it.”
Then she said. “We cannot pay you. And the session will be held on a Saturday.”
This did not change my decision.
I have been flirting with HRMATT for a couple of years. I have said Yes to HRMATT when I edited articles for its magazine – HRMatters, or when I wrote articles for said magazine, or when I spoke at the last two biennial conferences. Now I finally had a date.
That Saturday I met with the HRMATT”S executive team and facilitated the strategic session. It was a Workshop and these leaders worked. They brainstormed. questioned, championed, resisted, discussed, disagreed and agreed until they landed on some mutually agreed points that they hammered out into strategic statements.
Six months later I attended the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and I was nominated for President. A few minutes after, I was elected to serve as President.
I had no plans of being elected to HRMATT’s executive team. In the moment when nominated I intended to serve and as I had done before, I said Yes. I can only conclude
- There is no big or small act of service – they are all equally weighted
- Saying Yesis powerful and sends waves through the Universe
- When we show up in service, we too are served.
Will you join me in service?
I cannot promise where it will take you, but I can promise that if you don’t take the first step, you will never know.