If I had to take dipstick research and ask: “Do you want the truth?”, I suspect I would get a resounding positive response. We all claim to want the truth. It’s the existential foundation of the soul. We are always at odds with ourselves, others and the Universe, in general, when we do not live the truth. The essence of our being is the truth.
Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). I’d heard that many times growing up; at church, at catechism, quoted by others, but did not understand its true meaning until I went in search of my truth. And I’m still searching.
Hubby and I had one of those discussions recently that literally created a schism in my self-view. I’ve always known that I have strong opinions. What I was totally oblivious to was the fact that these opinions, what I would call advice, have, in some instances, come across as self-opinionated, downright arrogant, in a ‘look at me, my life is perfect’ way.
Oh Lord! My life is anything but perfect.
Oh Lord! My life is anything but perfect. I’m confronted by the trials of life on a daily basis. No more or less than anyone else. Revelations are best when they are not orchestrated and flow organically. This particular discussion started around issues raised in a family meeting and found its way to a far more important conversation. One that was extremely painful for me.
I felt like an alcoholic at her first AA meeting. Sober, but in desperate need of a drink to numb the hurt. The pain of accepting that my approach has been, unwittingly, more ‘this is how you do it. Look at me, my life is better than yours’ rather than; ‘trust me, I’ve been where you are and this is how I pulled myself out. You can do it too’. The truth is rough!
When a woman asks: “Does my bum look big in these jeans?”, she already knows that it does. But it’s the only pair that fits right now or is the skinny-type that everyone is wearing, so she wants to ‘fit in’. She’s not looking for the truth. She wants validation that, even though she’s a size 38 and not the 32 she’s been dieting all her life to attain, she’s still beautiful/sexy/desirable/worthy/whatever.
The first sign of a commitment-phobe is an inability to act decisively.
I now have to face the reality that sharing my personal experiences; how some have helped me overcome challenging moments; what I think of a particular situation and so on, have to be shared, if at all, through a filter which ‘softens it’. So, when a single friend shares that she’s met a man who still has a wife living on another continent, is legally married, though separated and living apart; I should rather say something along these lines, “I’m sure things will change, he’ll get a divorce. You just need to be patient and things will work out. He’s clearly besotted with you”. Rather than, “Don’t even entertain him. He must sort out his life first before engaging with you. You’re worth more than that”. See, that’s what experience has taught me. The first sign of a commitment-phobe is an inability to act decisively. Get out of there! Run, my sister.
One of the things I’ve always said, once I was able to get to a space where I could quite confidently define what I wanted in a relationship and stand my ground, was that I wished that I had had someone who could have shared some truths with me along my journey. Wishful thinking? Would I have even followed the advice?
I grew up knowing that if you didn’t want to hear the truth, then best you stayed away from Flo. My Mum was not going to mince her words to make you feel better. If she didn’t like what you’d done or if she thought you had, or were going to, make a mistake, she was going to let you know. Simple. The strange thing is that there was never a shortage of family and friends who would put themselves through her gruelling paces. See, they knew deep down that she always had their interests at heart. That it was never an issue of intentionally hurting them, but rather a way to help them along and in so doing, ease their pain.
Did I inherit this from her? Or am I still angry that, since she died when I was 17 years old, I did not have her around to help me through some of my darkest moments? Mr T always knows how to ask the strong questions. I was stumped; had never thought of that. I now have to wade through the emotional trauma of unearthing that urge to ‘make it right’. Am I ready to strip myself bare again? I guess I need to.
For now, I’m going to retreat a little. A good start is to learn to listen. Highly recommended. It’s sometimes all a person really needs. Torture for me though! It’s the equivalent of knowing there’s chocolate in the pantry but you can’t have it. As I continue my journey, I have to appreciate that everyone has to find their own path, even though I’d like to ‘spare them the pain’.
Let’s own up to our truths.