Pretty harsh reality, but it’s the truth. I just now realized in all of my thirty (cough-cough) years how refreshing the truth is.
I was at a family function this labor day weekend. We were all assigned a dish and/or a meat to put on the grill. I was supposed to bring chicken legs/wings. I must add, my family teases me often when it comes to cooking either by comparing it to my mother’s or out of fear that I have slipped tofu or something healthy but “weird” into the dish. There is a certain seasoning mixture that I always use but for some reason I decided to deviate from it, to try something new.
As I was preparing the chicken the aroma of all of the seasonings smelled great and I couldn’t wait to present my new recipe to the group. I included my marinated chicken in the rotation of things to be grilled and went about eating and mingling. I kept asking, “Has he grilled mine yet? I want to taste it first.” Not tasting a dish before serving was something I rarely did unless it was a recipe I was pretty confident in.
When he finally grilled my chicken I (doe-eyed and all) asked what he thought. He paused and said, “I can taste the seasonings but there was no flavor”, and continued to grill. I didn’t know what to say. His delivery was kind and not meant to insult me. In fact, it didn’t insult me.
Let me elaborate or this story may seem petty. After the initial shock of failing on a dish (I tasted it and it was pretty bland), there was a sense of freedom that came with my uncle’s honesty. I am the kind of person who doesn’t always tell the truth. This was hard to admit until now. If someone wronged me, I usually shook it off…too often…and then stuffed it. If someone asked my opinion about something I danced around the truth because of FEAR. Fear of hurting someone’s feelings, fear of them not liking me, fear of a confrontation, fear of their reaction or rejection.
I have some friendships that are superficial and shallow because we do not tell each other the truth. The hard truths. We may say if an outfit is not the most flattering but we would never say, “Your attitude really stinks and I don’t want to be around you.” We just disappear leaving the other person wondering what happened. I have family members who I love but whose lifestyles aren’t healthy and I fear for the phone to ring in the middle of the night. I don’t tell them this because of fear.
When I do not tell the truth I am not being authentic. I am not allowing people to know the real me, my real thoughts, what is going on in my heart. That’s not okay. Not only is that bad for relationships, but emotional and health wise it’s pretty toxic. My body is often tense, with fists clenched, jaws clamped and stomach churning.
Many psychologist and therapists say that depression (sometimes) is the caused by suppressing your emotions. It is no surprise that I struggle with depression every once in a while. It’s not something I am proud of but it’s the truth. I push my true feelings down, bite my tongue, hold my peace and lie so much that it eventually explodes. Unfortunately the explosion may be towards my husband, my kids or myself.
I believe there is a right way to be honest, with tact and grace. I can’t be responsible for everyone’s feelings anymore. I have to start owning mine. I also want to show my children that it is okay to speak the truth (in love). I am on a path to be more authentic, to free my soul and have true(r) relationships.
What about you? Do you find it hard to speak the truth? Sometimes or to certain people?