In Others’ Words: Trust
“One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.” ~E.M. Forster (1879-1970), English novelist
As a novelist, I spend a lot of time with imaginary people.
I don’t just hang around with them — I actually expend many hours and much energy getting to know these fictitious characters. I try to understand their pasts so that I can properly write their presents and futures. Along the way of delving into all the “who are you?” questions and “why do you do things that way?” questions, I discover my characters’ values.
Case in point: In my second novel, Catch a Falling Star (Howard Books, May 2013), I discovered my hero valued independence — for lots of reasons I won’t go into here. And I discovered my heroine valued helping kids.
Funny thing is, as I discovered all these imaginary people’s values, I more clearly understood my own values. For so long I would nod my head when someone said kindness was important. Or truthfulness. Or courage. Or gentleness.
All true — and probably what these people valued.
But I’ve wrestled with the “What do I value?” question for several years now and I know that I know that I know that I value relationships. (And several other things, but that’s another blog post.)
And to be in relationship with people you have to, as E. M. Forster said, “… be fond of people.”
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
But it’s not always easy to do, even for a relationship-valuer like me. I don’t always like the things people say and do — and I’m willing to bet there are times people don’t like me.
And then there’s the whole issue of trust (my word for 2012!) Here’s what I believe: To not make a mess of life, you have to learn who to trust — and who not to trust.
In Your Words: What do you value? And what lessons have you learned to not make a mess of life?
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