When Roses are not enough, the Truth will set you Free
Valentine's Day Special; for all the loved ones; friends, family, colleagues, not just lovers
“Honesty is reached through the doorway of grief and loss. Where we cannot go in our mind, our memory, or our body, is where we cannot be straight with another, with the world, or with our self. The fear of loss, in one form or another is the motivator behind all conscious and unconscious dishonesties…” Is how the poem titled Honesty starts, and thus I found myself lost for hours in this book that I received as Christmas present from Erin; Consolations The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte.
“Honesty is reached through the doorway of grief and loss” this raw, vulnerable statement sank into my bones and resonated with me so much that I found myself sitting under my Christmas tree staring the pages with tears in my eyes. It was not tears of sorrow. These were tears of joy, from the discovery that I am not alone. I am not alone to feel that honesty is difficult but must be done. For genuine relationships, we must always be willing to speak the truth even if it is hard.
In my twenties, I was so insecure in my skin, I had so many doubts in my mind, and I wanted to much to belong, I harbored many untruths just to hold on to something, this something was mostly a fabricated image of me... Now in my mid-forties, with more life experience, and comfort in my skin, I know the necessity of truth. Without truth, nothing can exist. Relationships are empty, jobs lose meaning, even our identity is nothing but a protective barrier.
We may lose a fair number of people from our life when we speak the truth and request clarity. Ironically this vulnerable time of honesty and transparency is also the only road to stable, meaningful and healthy relationships.
If we are not willing to step into fear, loss, and discomfort and hold back the truth, the truth has a horrible way of exploding out that is way messier. When truth explodes, people generally run for cover, hide, use any means necessary to protect from fear and loss. Though at this point, for most of us, the protection is not for fear of losing connections because that is most likely lost already, but solely to shield the ego from having to admit fragility.
And this is the source of sorrow and suffering in so many relationships. We hold back the truth, sometimes for noble reasons, and sometimes out of fear. Sometimes because we think it will "protect" the loved one, and sometimes because we are afraid to be seen less than perfect. But whatever is the cause, we often hold back the truth to avoid discomfort.
We chose to pretend, go on, we muster stories on how this is the right path. But no, it is just fear, and on this isolated path of avoidance, there can be no healing because healing is communication, and that is scary, swampy, and the outcomes are unknown. We don’t like to not know, we don’t like to be vulnerable. So we keep pretending to stay in control. But on this road of control, the only choice is more avoidance and more lies, and thus the road gets more and more uncomfortable and lonely.
The truth cannot be avoided, it can only be delayed, whether it was a mistake, a misstep, true feelings or lack of feelings. Little white lies, big breaches of trust, it ain’t no matter, avoidance is like a fertilizer to all untruths, it makes them grow, it makes it scarier till it explodes. The truth will come out. Discomfort will be there, the question is, are you humble and brave enough to face it with humility and love?
All of us are vulnerable, fragile, and afraid.
This Valentine's day give the gift of clarity and honesty to your friends and loved ones. Bring yourself along with those roses. Roses are frail, the petals fall and brown, but we love them anyway. Maybe we love them so because they are so fragile. And so are you, to be loved is to accept all your errors and mistakes. Most of us will be hurt but forgive when the truth is declared in full clarity, sincerity and humility. Most of us will not attack but rather see the power in the willingness to be vulnerable. When we cannot hold somebody else’s vulnerability, that is because we cannot bear the fear of looking inside us.
In such a way, the truth brings clarity to a relationship. It will filter away unsupportive connections and deepen healthy bonds. “The truth will set you free” literally; it will free you from the bondage of fear of loss as it breaks down the walls of protection we built to feel powerful, but in reality, these protective walls do nothing else but separate us from being truly loved and accepted. The power and strength that we feel are not real, they are simply fear disguised.
True strength is the willingness to stand in vulnerability knowing we are not perfect.
· So I think back to people in my life from my twenties, and I say; I am sorry. Sorry for pretending to be perfect. Sorry to be afraid to show who I was, sorry for the lies this made me weave.
· I smile at my friends and loved ones in my forties and say thank you for loving me for who I am, for accepting me, even if I am imperfect. I hope I can hold the same love for all of you.
· And as I gaze ahead into my fifties and sixties with wonder and curiosity, what else to be learned, I know one thing…that I will never know it all…
So go, be brave, bring those roses, bring your heart, bring your mistakes, bring clarity.
Be brave, beautiful, and imperfect!
Happy Valentine’s Day