33 Days of Truth: Day 25
And here we are once more, typing away at nearly midnight to fulfill my 33 Days of Truth intention: Write a blog post every day, for 33 days in a row, that shares something authentic and vulnerable about myself and my life.
Today I took the personal growth challenge off the page, so to speak, and brought it into my offline experience.
It is my last night on Maui. In a final celebration I met up with several dear girlfriends and we finally had the “girls night” we’ve been talking about doing for months. We had a lot of catching up to do, and spent quite a bit of the time just updating each other on the goings on of our lives.
It felt good to be together, looking back and cherishing the growth of our friendship, and seeing this moment from away the future, knowing that the next time we meet many changes will have transpired; and we will look back, from a new place and perspective, to today; the end of an era.
Later on in the evening, as our fun, heartfelt conversation continued, I began to have an uncomfortable sense that I needed to share something I’d been keeping private to myself for a long time. I thought about my personal growth challenge to tell the truth, and saw an opportunity to do that.
I had dismissed it as being unnecessary to express up to that point; as merely an internal affair I had already processed and released; it was bygones. Nobody else needed to be involved. And yet they were involved.
I’m being a little cryptic for the reason that other people are involved, but will say it had to do with a love triangle (in my mind, not real life) between a friend and someone she dated. Feelings I had for her partner and never revealed. I put friendship over my truth, treating it as something that was on a need-to-know basis, and feeling that nobody needed to know.
But the fact that it remained unspoken seemed to hover like a shadow over my intention to be more real, authentic, and honest.
With a slight tingling of nervousness I let it out. It felt a little awkward to release it, to talk about the past events and what I had been feeling months earlier. The whole thing was a relative nonissue, except that I just hadn’t said anything about it before. I was late to the honesty party. I felt a bit silly and exposed. And a little afraid of how it would be received. Wondering if I was even doing right by saying anything at all.
I have a history of not being open. Of holding back my real feelings. Of not sharing them, of keeping them to myself. I find I like to fly under the radar. To not have eyes on my actions, eyes that could judge or criticize, misunderstand, misinterpret, or god forbid, see me fully.
Consequently, I often don’t insert myself into the equation when it comes to other people. Maybe I’m afraid of complicating matters by sharing my emotions and private inner experience. I prefer to deal with stuff on my own because it keeps things simpler. Nobody gets involved, nobody is hurt.
But that’s the thing about vulnerability. It is a risk. The place where we can get hurt is exactly the place where we can be the most seen, heard, known and loved. And where we are the most true.
Of course, there is a time and place to share truth, and obviously not everything needs to be said at all times or at every opportunity. It is ok to keep some things to ourselves. I’m realizing though that my personal growth is capped at the point where I end and others begin, if I continue compartmentalize and separate myself, and don’t integrate my own experience with those of the people I care about.
I’m seeing more clearly how I’ve operated under the assumption that my personal and private experiences are not really relevant in the scheme of things, either to others, or in the world, in life. That it’s easier to keep truth hidden. That, by staying out of situations and leaving my emotions unexpressed, it will somehow allow me passage through it all unscathed.
But, as Helen Keller expressed, “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.”
I’ve done the avoiding, when it comes to matters of the heart. It’s high time I try outright exposure. Thus, 33 Days. 😉
I’m finding that great freedom and relief can come from being up front in the moment… even if that moment is a good while coming.
The challenge is to honor our own truth at the same time as honoring others. It can be a delicate dance. It is a process, but I am learning how to better navigate these waters. Honesty, as they say, is the best policy.