Taming the Culture of Distrust

I read an article this morning about trust. According to the  AP GfK poll, people in America trust one another less and less.

When it comes to trust, there’s a huge difference between trusting someone and trusting IN someone.

Psalm 118:8  It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

On the other hand, it’s hard to trust others if you do not trust God or yourself. We know there are degrees of trust, too. The more someone proves to be accountable and consistent, the more likely we are to trust that person. So s/he proves him or herself over time. There’s also the pattern of distrust. This occurs when a person is let down or trust is often broken. When we don’t trust someone, it’s because we find them unreliable or dishonorable.

Welcome to the (American) Culture of Distrust.

Our levels of trust also change depending on context. We may trust someone who has access to our medical records in a healthcare setting more than someone we meet while traveling away from home, or the sales associate who swipes our credit or debit card.

Learning to Trust

[pullquote align=”left”]Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?[/pullquote]

Here at Model Me Girl, we talk about taming your self-convo, particularly the negative ones.

Are you verbally abusive to yourself? Do you lie to yourself? Feel like you let yourself down all the time? In many cases, how you treat and talk to yourself is training ground for how you treat and talk to others. This influences your ability to trust. But this lesson doesn’t start here. We learn how to regard ourselves and others by the familial and social teachers in our lives.

You can learn and adopt a new way of thinking, doing and being. I once thought the first step in learning to trust was learning to trust myself. I no longer think that. I believe the first step in learning to trust is to trust God—just take Him at His word. It’s God who teaches me how to operate in every type of relationship, even how I relate to myself.

Taming-the-Culture-of-Distrust_ModelMeGirlThe social phenomenon we should be most concerned with is not if we trust others, but if we trust in Christ. This is who I speak of when I say God. I believe this AP-GfK study reveals what the Word of God said would be in the last days:

2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.(2)For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,(3)Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, (4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Trucebreakers, false accusers and traitors are never trustworthy UNLESS they are redeemed and have recovered from their ways. What we tend to do is punish other people for one bad relationship, experience or hearsay. Should we be naive and blindly trust any and everybody? No. But being that these days present us with more trucebreakers, false accusers, traitors and prideful people, it makes sense that trust has declined. Morality and accountability have declined.

When we walk around our daily lives being suspicious of everyone or when we face the type of people mentioned in 2 Timothy 3, our chances of being rude increase. May God give us more patience and self-control! This level of suspicion isn’t healthy for the body and mind.

What we need are not more social networks, but connections. The real high-quality kind. Face-to-face. Real connections build trust—with regard to God, other people and yourself—when we move beyond the superficial. If and when our relationships are right with God, we will have right relationships with others. This is righteousness. This kind of righteousness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It cannot be bought or taught from a self-help book, conference or class. It is a gift from that comes from forgiveness and reconciliation.

James 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

We are witnessing and living in the culture of distrust. Let’s not allow this culture to influence us to lose our trust in God or to treat others with disrespect and discourtesy.

 

 

Naturally Professional & Changing Cultural Symbols

I spent this evening as a panelist with a very knowledgeable and fine group. Tonight’s event was hosted by the University of Memphis’ National Association of Black Journalists. We discussed being “naturally professional” — the stereotypes of natural hair in the corporate world.

Are there stereotypes associated with natural hair in the professional work environment? Yes. Some people view natural hair as untidy, or that it reflects rebellion and personality/attitude issues.

 

There was much to discuss and learn. From a sociological and cultural perspective, hair is symbolic. It carries a meaning, whether you like the meaning or not. Can we redefine symbols and change their meanings? Certainly. However, most people are resistant to change, especially when it comes to changing their minds, which rests on their values, beliefs, and ideas.

Beauty Culture

Realistically speaking, it is 2013 and we must confront the issue of what messages our chosen hairstyles and natural textures send to society. Most importantly, we must confront what those messages mean to us on an individual basis. Change happens one person at a time. Only you can choose to change your own mind, and how you see yourself and society. This includes ideas about beauty.

Isn’t that the real issue with conversations about hair ? Ideas about beauty? These are values or standards imposed upon us that we choose to internalize or not. Our society has sold to us its standard of beauty. As a culture, we bought it. That price tag was pretty hefty.

The perspective that I shared tonight was that whether you are natural, have relaxed hair, wear a wig, weave, or whatever; at the end of the day you must love you. If you can only love yourself based on the texture or style of your hair, we need to fix something. When you peel back all the layers, all the superficial stuff, do you love who you are? Do you accept yourself?

I honestly hate “natural” hair being solely applied to people of color, as though other races don’t have natural hair. I also hate the term “ethnic” hair, hair care, and hair styles being applied to people of color. We are not the only ones who have an ethnicity. Everyone has an ethnicity. A shared culture or nationality equals ethnicity.

The Movement

In keeping with the theme, there are many reasons why a person joins the “natural hair movement”. Whatever the reason, I sincerely hope it is a personal choice to open your perspective and just be who you are, and not a cover-up for the symptom of self-esteem issues, whose root has not been dealt with. Yes, someone with natural hair, just like someone with relaxed hair, can STILL have self-esteem issues that are not connected to hair, but to something much deeper.

However, if your personal choice to wear your hair natural boosts your confidence and feelings of self-worth — good for you! Still, be sure that you are you, not matter what you have or what you look like. True beauty radiates from a pure heart.

“Just Say No” to Self-Righteousness

I caution natural ladies to not think of themselves in a self-righteous manner, as though embracing natural hair means you love yourself and God more than a woman who chooses to wear relaxed tresses. Having natural hair does not mean you will avoid damage, split ends, and the like.

I equally caution ladies with relaxed hair to not think of themselves in a self-righteous manner, as though having relaxed hair makes them more polished and sophisticated. Straight hair is not more beautiful than other textures.

The Big Question(s)

Are we truly “not” our hair? We say that: I am not my hair. But do we mean it? Is this conversation just an extension of racism and colorism within our own culture and society in general?

The question of the evening was: Is natural hair professional? Yes. Just like any type and texture of hair, no matter what color you are, your hair is expected to be groomed, especially in the corporate world. If it’s groomed, it’s professional: kinky, curly, wavy, straight, and everything in between. The issue is that mainstream society has not caught on to this realization that your hair texture is not a reflection of your skills, efficiency, intellect and productivity. Through promotion, education and creativity, we can plant this thought: All hair textures —regardless of race and ethnicity— are beautiful.

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