Children are very straightforward. They are almost binary. They don’t have an issue in saying ‘No’. They may have a toy they cherish and they won’t let another child use it. They don’t worry about things like ‘what will that kid feel if I say No’ or ‘if I say No and I go to their home and they also say No when I want to play with their toy’ etc.
These are very twisted and complex thoughts almost creating the science behind Game Theory. Adults are good at this. And they seem to be only doing this all the time in their heads. The Adult world is awfully complex.
When a person says ‘It’s incredible’ at the painting you show them, you immediately ask ‘really’ to confirm it. We cannot go by mere words. That ‘incredible’ can have 50 shades of grey from ‘Ouch what an awful painting’ to ‘I have nothing to say about it’ to ‘You were never kind to me’ and more.
So Adults mostly go by data. They keep asking you on various occasions. They see you seeing other paintings and watch your words. Then with some Bayesian inference they know the probability of truth in your utterances. They have this ‘trust’ meter running in their heads all the time.
Just see how complex things get as you grow.
This complexity becomes completely unpredictable with bigger things. Running a company or a college, running a country is all way too complex. There is a lot of data to process to make your probability computation accurate. And it breaks all the inferences.
Adults handle this by a mantra called ‘trust’. When data can no longer serve any purpose, we begin to ‘trust’ or rather it is a very clever way of creating an ‘expectation’ or some kind of ‘promise’ on the other person or sometimes on the other nation. This scales really well.
This ‘trust’ expectation creates a binding on the other person to behave in a certain way. When I tell my milk maid that the milk is watery, I let her know my expectation that I need the milk to be better. It implicitly conveys that I will trust her more if she can improve the quality of the milk.
In every act of ours, we are adjusting this trust meter by seeing the actions and asking them to refine the outcome. We align with folks who align with our conditions. We form trust groups. We can easily do things inside these bubbles. Outside of it, we begin to collect data, do inference, when we cannot, we bind them by ‘trust’ expectations and work our way.
A child does not have the brain to handle this. It is simple in what it does and it does not have any expectation on others. It is mostly handling itself all the time. Many a time we want other adults to be like a child. ‘Give me a straight answer’ you hear yourself talking to your wife or a friend.
Especially to your near and dear, it is very hard. They are not bothered about your ‘trust’ expectations. They are not here to buy and sell things from you. They are by default in your ‘trust’ group. If you start applying ‘trust’ expectations on them, they get annoyed. It can even lead to relationships getting broken. The only expectation they have is you blindly trust them. Love has to be blind.
Thus love supersedes all ‘trust’ expectations and adjustments. A mother’s love for her child is unconditional. True love is unconditional. The closest of your friends or relations, love has to be unconditional. Love is the highest trust you have on someone. If you love someone truly, you trust them the highest. Ironically, you no longer need to trust them. You place them beyond this ‘trust’ expectation. You just stop caring about their actions or words. You see yourself free in their presence and so do they.
To truly love someone, therefore, you need to not have any conditions imposed on them. This means, their actions or words do not have any negative impact on you that forces you to begin setting ‘trust’ expectations on them. Instead, you are mostly ‘forgiving’, ‘accepting’ things as they are, just like the way a mother may do for her child.
Ironically, you don’t even forgive yourself if you do something wrong. You go the opposite with you. You try to make you perfect. And when things don’t work your way, you punish yourself by letting yourself in that state of mind, sad and grumpy. That’s your way of punishing yourself. Most of us are unnecessarily hard on ourselves. When you cannot let yourself go or when you cannot accept your flaws, how will you accept others flaws ?
So it appears like the arrow is always pointing towards you.
Unless you love yourself, you cannot love others.
I will leave you with this beautiful poetry by William Wordsworth
My Heart Leaps Up
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
The link below has a very beautiful explanation on this if you care to go further.