Welcome to my new, fancy, not quite how I want it blog. We’ll march onward anyway. I’ve ventured into the clearly superior WordPress world. Anyway, welcome. Welcome to 2018. Here we are. And I have some thoughts.
Look around you. Really look at the people around you. Your loved humans. Are they ok? Are they happy? Are they fully operational? Are they genuinely sharing with you about their life? Or are they faking it, and just barely making it?
I’m someone who is usually pretty readable. You can tell when I’m disappointed, when I’m frustrated, when I’m furious and the dragon that lives in my belly starts to huff and puff and eventually flies out and around Pittsburgh setting people on fire and eating them. She is feisty.
But I’ve been unsettled. I like many aspects of my life, but I’ve felt unsettled and quietly disgruntled. And I’ve been brave enough to share a little bit of that with some of my favorite people. And others who have been there at the right place and time. And here’s what happens: when I tell the truth, believing in their care for me, their acceptance of my “stuff” and their kindness…they tell me the truth too. I believe we are all looking for some truth listening and some truth telling.
Some people, as the classic movie line goes “can’t handle the truth.” I’ve learned this the hard way, and those people get the “I’m good, how are you?” treatment. Rejecting someone’s struggle and shaming them back into ‘everything is fine” is a stinging poison that touches all of us and herds us into complacency and convincing ourselves that we are ok, our kids are ok, our relationships are ok our satisfaction with the life we’ve chosen is ok, our jobs are ok, our bodies are ok, our finances are ok, our church is ok, our mental health is ok, our spiritual journey is ok. It’s all ok! Right?? I’m ok, you’re ok. Don’t think about any of this stuff too much. Because if you do…it rocks the boat. It rocks other people’s expectations of you. It might require you to (gulp) change.
The question is, who do you want to be? A person who bravely tells the truth about what is imperfect inside you and your life, and who listens without judgment and embraces the struggle and disharmony of others…or the person who says that everything is great and accepts only a similar response in return.
Not everyone can be a truth teller, and no one can be a truth teller all the time. But my direction, for myself, is clear. I’m seeking out truth tellers and truth listeners. And I’m telling myself the truth, too. My word of the year is authenticity. And I’m embracing it with wild courage.
I don’t know how to fix much. But what I do know how to do is create safe space for real conversation. Come sit next to me, and let’s talk. Let’s be honest about how things are going. Let’s say the things out loud that we are scared to say. and trust that there is no judgment or future gossip. Let’s engage in authentic conversation where we don’t have to impress or convince or deny. So, come on over. I’m pretty much never more than ten feet away from coffee or a decent Malbec. Cheers to authenticity.