Shhh #nofilter Do I dare tell the truth?

Usually I post a blog when inspiration strikes which has been happening about once a week for several months now. Ideas flow, words come, and a somewhat cohesive piece of writing materializes.

This week arrived.

I waited. Fished around in my subconscious. Looked at old notes jotted on random scraps of paper. Pulled tarot cards…

The cards had plenty to say, but the messages were personal, nothing anyone else would find interesting.

Today, still at a loss, I took time to reflect on the weeks leading up to 2020. What thoughts circled as I approached my 70th birthday? What questions followed me to Italy? What conflicts arose? What has resolved? What’s still bubbling in the stew-pot?

Relationships. It’s been all about relationships.

I’m a listener, non-confrontational, looking out for the emotional needs of others, rarely revealing my own. My mother’s instructions have dictated my behavior for sixty-nine years: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. And this one: If you listen, Sherry, you’ll always have friends. People aren’t really interested in what you have to say.

Double whammy. Ouch! Ouch!

Mom was a product of her upbringing and raised ‘Minnesota Nice’ daughters. I don’t fault her. But approaching the seventh decade of my life, all that listening began to feel like really old news. There was something deceptive about it and the more I watched myself in that role the more disgusted I became.

In my fifties I did a fourteen-month course in grounding meditation. During a one-on-one session with the leader she asked me, What do you want more than nice? I answered, Truth, then went on my merry way being nice.

That element of my identity was obsolete. It needed to be let go and mercifully allowed to die.

Facing the momentous birthday looming ahead, self-loathing bubbled within. Why hadn’t I changed? Why was I still being The Insipid Ms. Nice? What part of myself didn’t I want others to see? Nothing seemed to have more urgency and importance than transparency and honest communication. I craved it with every cell in my body.

I told my daughters I loved them but I was on a truth-telling rampage and I hoped they wouldn’t hate me forever if I actually spoke what I was thinking at times. During a conversation with my youngest a few days later, I was clicking along the old track asking questions, hiding in the shadows, when all at once she said, Mom, stop. Tell me about you.

With her words a layer of my psyche that feared rejection, confronted me.

I saw in a flash that I couldn’t just snap my fingers and, presto change-o, the authentic and honest-to-a-fault Sherry would show up. I committed to doing the work, whatever it took, to stop playing safe and get my skin in the game.

The Universe took note and brought me face-to-face with people who challenged my intentions in the most unique and unexpected ways. There are methods for handling honesty with diplomacy and grace, but like a toddler taking her first wobbly steps, it was a skill-set I hadn’t mastered. And yet, the feeling of embodying my whole self for perhaps the first time ever, helped me see beyond the collateral damages of those first disappointing attempts.

Then I left for Italy.

If ever there was a culture of direct, honest communicators, Italians epitomize it. They’re open about their emotions, state their points clearly, and expect the same in return. What that accomplishes is an atmosphere of relaxed acceptance. You know where you stand and what you say is taken at face value. My visit there couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. I had exceptional role models for exactly the kind of transparent person I hoped to become.

As I returned to Bali, COVID hit hard. That was five months ago. The pandemic hasn’t let up and as physical masks go on, psychological masks come off. People are ground down to their essence. Everyone is living closer to the bone than ever before. It’s bringing out the worst and the best in us but rarely anything lukewarm. Truth is raw and exposed. We’re learning what’s important and who our friends are.

But here’s the thought I want to leave with you.

This is not just a random difficult time. It’s a destined milestone along our soul path. In relationships the other person is not the point. If we’re triggered by them, they’ve poked at a wound and it’s time that wound was opened, scraped clean, and healed. We’ve been given a rare, once-in-a-millennium opportunity to recognize how human we are, to see our warts laid bare, and tend to the business of emotional accountability.

It’s time for truth-telling – especially to ourselves.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gr8ful_collette
    Jul 31, 2020 @ 23:41:45

    What a brave journey you are on. Breaking free of those deeply conditioned thoughts and speech patterns. It’s inspiring. Thank you for sharing. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. stevecastley
    Aug 01, 2020 @ 01:11:16

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Anne Young
    Aug 01, 2020 @ 10:04:00

    As difficult as this virus has been, I think it is bringing about changes in each of and us in the world as a whole. It has lifted up a mirror to us so we can see more clearly. Yes, as you said, We are living closer to the bone, raw and exposed. Growth is being facilitated -Uncomfortable and often painful. But needed in order to progress personally and globally. Thank you for this thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Aug 01, 2020 @ 11:51:52

      Exactly, Anne, discomfort and pain brings about change. The suffering of so many is inconceivable to me. As of today there’s been a world death toll of 682,998. And those are just the ones counted. Besides death, there are people stranded all over the world who cannot get home. Loved ones are separated, jobs lost, businesses bankrupt…the world will never be the same, and neither will we.

      Like

      Reply

  4. Ellen
    Aug 01, 2020 @ 13:24:27

    Being brave enough to confront people whose actions or words offend you is the only way to have peace within yourself. Confrontation does not have to be argumentative though – it is simply you, honestly stating your thoughts. I have found it strengthens most relationships …..and yes, it ends a few!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Aug 01, 2020 @ 14:53:59

      There is that element, Ellen, of confrontation, but more often than not it’s just being willing to say, “I’m having a hard time today.” I was told so often how self-sufficient I was, strong, capable, mature. All of those things, for me, equaled a persona that could never relax. I was the strong one, the capable one – the world would collapse around me if I wavered from that story. It’s letting the world see a normal, fallible, less-than-ideal human that I struggle with! That’s why these blog posts are so important – I’m letting the more real version of myself be seen.

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      Reply

  5. Anonymous
    Aug 01, 2020 @ 15:02:19

    It’s a lovely version 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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