Proofing, also known as proving, is the final rise of shaped bread dough before baking.
When I was younger and idealistic, I took exception to something one of my first bosses told me. He said, “Sincerity is always subject to proof.”
I objected to the calculating and cold nature in which this man managed his relationships – business and otherwise – and my inference that day was he doubted my loyalty. A doubt which pissed me off given the sacrifices and sheer hard work I had meted out for this man.
The context, the upset if you will, was that I was dating, if not my boss’s competitor, someone who had the smarts to become his competitor if he so chose. He didn’t choose, because we had a love match which had nothing to do with business.
That day, my boss and I talked long past my going home time – me failing to convince him that a life without basic faith in human nature was a miserly and miserable way to navigate life.
Years on, I have had many occasions to recall that conversation, not least when someone I trusted swindled me. That was a blow which took my breath away.
After the tears and recriminations died down, I did face up to the question: “Where was the proof this person deserved your trust and money? The proof that this person could do what they said they could do?”
So, yes, we can have faith in our fellow human beings, however, I do now believe that eschewing blind faith for faith based on proven past performance is a valid if less romantic option. Looks like my old boss was onto something after all.
This is not to say when I meet someone I automatically distrust them. No, but I am cautious and my filters are open to anything that seems a little off. Hard knocks will do that to you.
Once blindly optimistic, there is another edict I live by – opined by the late and great Maya Angelou:
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
It could be I like this because there is less of a burden of proof on my part, an active seeking out of good or ill in human nature. This way I need only wait for human nature to reveal itself to me.