“When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me” Ben E. King
I have always considered myself to be reliable, dependable and trustworthy.
Through the turmoil of my life being turned upside down by my husband leaving me, my being reliable on everyday issues was truly tested. Being punctual, answering emails, paying bills on time, returning phone calls, having a neat and tidy house, keeping appointments, remembering birthdays ……. these slipped way down on my list of priorities as I battled with my grief. As I slowly emerged from the haze, however, some of the issues continued. It was as if I was questioning the merit of placing such importance on what I now deemed ‘trivial’ issues. It was as if I was saying to myself – ‘You have lost trust, joy, your companion, your direction in life, your dreams for the future, your life’s work and your financial security. What does it matter if you are late? Who cares if you do not sweep the kitchen floor? Does it really matter if this year no-one gets Christmas cards?’ At the same time, I was concerned that I was losing part of myself, part of who I had been, part of my character and reputation.
Then I thought more in depth about the meaning of being reliable, trustworthy and dependable.
To me, being reliable is acting in a consistent way – predictably on time, neat, well-groomed, always keeping appointments – with the emphasis being on consistency rather than any particular admirable human trait. A car can be reliable. Someone may be reliable without necessarily being trustworthy or dependable.
A trustworthy person, on the other hand, will always keep confidences, will remain loyal and faithful and will keep promises. They will not lie, cheat, steal, or ever behave in an unscrupulous manner. They will always be honest and truthful.
Being dependable means showing up without being asked or reminded. You will just be there. You show up for work, social gatherings, your children’s events, your mother’s birthday. You will always do the right thing. A dependable person is reliable in mood and temperament. Not all over you one minute with affection and warmth; then cold, aloof and withdrawn the next. You know where you stand with them. A dependable person will express their emotions in a mature and healthy way, never belittle anyone, or gossip in an unkindly manner. A dependable person is a pillar of strength, someone others may lean on at a time of need. They listen with understanding to others’ concerns. They support others in grief. A dependable person does not collapse in a crisis. They understand that they cannot control events but they can alter their own responses to events. Where a situation may lead others into panic or disorder; they remain calm. When times get tough, they would never cut and run. A dependable person is unfaltering like a solid rock in their values and principles; steadfast in their beliefs. They will stand up and do what is right. They do not let circumstances dictate their behaviour. Instead their values, ethics, morals and sense of purpose drives them.
The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I was still living by these values. My reliability may have slipped on some trivial matters, but I have remained reliable “when it counts”. With absolute certainty I have remained trustworthy and above all I have remained dependable. I have always been and will always be there for my children, my family, my friends, my neighbours and my work colleagues. If any one of my loved ones was hurt or in crisis, I would drop everything and go to them as I have always done. I am still that “pillar of strength” – someone others may lean on at a time of need. Whilst taking much courage at times, I remain dependably calm and level-headed. I am unwavering in my core beliefs. My home remains a sanctuary of peace, comfort and relaxation.
I remain a rock of strength.