Do you ever get the feeling that everyone is walking around lying? Enhancing the truth about their finances, marriage, ambitions, emotional state, sexual orientation, political beliefs, etc. Why is everyone so afraid to be honest? To be real? Perhaps it’s rejection that makes people fib. We are afraid people won’t like us or want to be with us if we allow people into the dark corners of our lives. Social media is full of people pretending. Catching up with old friends has become a one-upping contest. Have we become so ashamed or embarrassed or fearful about our circumstances and beliefs that we have come to the point of lying to anyone who will listen just to make ourselves feel better? Instead of reaching out for love and/or support, we push people away with photos or memes that pretend everything is OK. We put on our “game faces” and smile like everything is just peachy when we’re really falling apart, worried, scared or fearful of offending.
Lies are essentially secrets and often, secrets are bad. That is of course unless someone is throwing you a surprise party or giving you jewelry. Secrets are difficult to keep and tend to snowball into deception from the people we love the most. We hide behind our secrets, burying our shame or disappointment somewhere deep within us. My most recent epiphany has lead me to believe that we need to stop hiding, face our fears…and meet life head on.
I have come to believe that all this lack of truth has more to do with avoiding reality than intentional deception. People have started to believe the lie that is their life. It’s easier to live in an altered state rather than face the truth. I’m not a psychologist but I am pretty sure this is not a good thing. People mess up. They lose jobs, end relationships, love the “wrong” people, struggle with addiction, are lazy, and support a candidate different from the norm. It’s OK. Own it. Learn from it. Don’t hide from it. Hiding behind the lie leads to more lies, more distrust, more shame and more complicated relationships. Everyone wants to bury their face in a pillow and hide when things don’t go the way we want them to. However, it’s when we embrace our true selves, warts and all, or an unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, that we can be free to be who we were intended to be. Free to learn from our mistakes, lend a hand to someone going through a difficult time (without judgement) because we have been in their shoes. Only with an honest accounting can we carry on, doing the best we can, in our most imperfect way. By facing our reality head on, without putting precious energy into lies, deceit and feelings of shame, we don’t allow our disappointments to define us. The more we accept things for what they are, the less we will succumb to the sadness. Acceptance makes us better able to deal. Deal with the pain that is relationship. Deal with the disappointment of our bank account balance. Deal with the frustration in our limitations as people. Deal with whatever hand we get dealt in this game of life.
Sounds good. However, many people, including myself, ask an important question. How? How do we smile when our heart is breaking? How do we trust when we are betrayed? How do we get out of bed when a situation is tapping every ounce of energy we have in our body? From what I’ve learned, you just do. Literally one foot in front of another. After we freak out and scream to the heavens “Why me?” a million times over, we need to get up and forge ahead. Giving up simply can’t be a solution. Hiding from our reality won’t fix anything. Meeting the situation head on is the only way to move forward.
I’ve been handed my share of shit to shovel. I cry. I scream. I try to hide. I am far from perfect when it comes to battling my circumstances. I’m the poster child for, “Why Me?” A recent situation has proved to be one of the worst. I found my self in a place straddling between my reality and my sanity for a happier place. Just when thoughts of I can’t do this… and It’s too much…started to twirl through my head, I was taught a lesson from a most unexpected person. A young lady, wiser than her years, has been dealt a shit hand. Despite the feces, she got up, kept going and manages to make it through the impossible without giving up. She’s eleven. This kiddo doesn’t ponder her situation to the point of becoming paralyzed, she just deals. She doesn’t wallow in “woe is me – I’m staying in bed today -It’s too hard – I can’t – Why me”. She simply accepts her situation for what it is and continues moving forward. It’s this ability to look at life clearly with no misconceptions and find a way to get through the toughest of times, that will be what allows her to survive. Despite all the crap sent her way, her resiliency to flourish using that poop as fertilizer instead; it leaves me awestruck.
Time will ultimately tell how well she has managed to deal with her situation. However, right now, in this moment, she simply does what needs to be done and makes her way through a relationship minefield. She looks at things plainly and honestly. Sometimes it makes me cringe because in my fairy tale she should be carefree and dreaming of rainbows, butterflies and unicorns. Instead she’s serious, prefers sloths and chases away the nightmares with an armor of reality. Seeing her resilience is how I know that I will be OK. If she can come out from under the covers and face her reality then I simply have no excuses. She has taught me that you can’t sugar coat shit, just hand over the damn shovel. So stop lying to everyone, but more importantly, stop lying to yourself. Life is better lived with a good grasp on reality instead of a fantasy world we create as a crutch. See things as they are and embrace whatever presents itself the best way you can. The postcard I recently received from my eleven year old inspiration (sans sugar coating) states “the kangaroos were very lazy and dirty”. And indeed, they are.