A Question of Faith

Have faith.
Have faith?
Have faith in what exactly?

Faith is tricky, you see. Faith is trust that is not based on proof. Too much of this stuff and you set yourself up for pain and disappointment. Too little and you risk viewing the world with a bitter and cynical gaze. There's a delicate balance between protecting yourself and overprotecting yourself.

So, how do you find just the right amount of faith? Or, maybe it's not the AMOUNT that matters so much as the KIND of faith. There are different kinds of faith...I think…Optimism is not the same as faith. I have plenty of the former…not so much of the latter. My optimism is the general disposition that all will turn out well in the end.

Maybe, I have selective faith or broad faith. For instance, I have faith that life is not a string of coincidences. I have faith that good ultimately predominates over evil (although sometimes that particular faith is challenged mightily!).

Embracing faith in others is more difficult - for me anyway. Putting my faith in a person isn't easy or welcome in my world. A friend of mine recently lost her faith in a person she had been dating for a few months. She had faith in him that he would be honest and straightforward. She had faith that he would treat her with respect. In the end, if she hadn't had faith in him, would his decisions and actions have been less meaningful to her and thus less painful? Less damaging? Probably.

So, isn't it in the best interest of your emotional health to not expect much? - not to have too much faith? That way, if it turns out that you were wrong, well, hey! it's a nice little surprise…and if you were right, well then you didn't expect much anyway and the disappointment is merely lukewarm.

Yes, I know, I can see the downside to this argument too. By expecting little of the other person, you end up expecting little of yourself. You may give less. You may invest less. And those decisions may inadvertently affect the behavior of the other person ultimately encouraging them to live up to your low expectations. Expect little. Receive little. Except, that's not always the case, is it? That scenario is not something you can count on.

Does not having faith in other people imply that you don't have faith in yourself?I have faith that I am capable of protecting myself. I have faith that I am able to take care of my heart. But a person can only be damaged so much before the faith is slowly chipped away and in it's place we are forced to build walls.

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