[Note: Today is day 5 of 10 in our annual Guest Blogger Series. Please remember: the Intramuralist may or may not agree with the opinion(s) expressed. The goal is respectful articulation.]
I want the truth. But … do I … really? Sometimes I feel just like the recipient of the infamous line from A Few Good Men, who was told, “You can’t handle the truth!”
Hearing hard things makes me wilt a bit inside, even when I purposely place myself in a setting where everyone is encouraged to speak the truth. Over five years ago I joined a group of five women who meet every other week to share life stories, encourage one another, and challenge certain bad habit patterns and distorted thinking.
I like to call our time together “stepping on the Truth Box.” But we really call it PDP, which stands for Personal Development Plan. The group was formed to teach some assessment tools for life coaching, but as we began to share life stories and get motivating, growth-oriented feedback, our meetings became like dope. By the time the reminder for our next gathering pops up on my calendar, I’m usually emotionally dragging a bit, in need of my PDP fix.
Someone always cries. Last time it was me. I was gently challenged to check my victim mentality when it comes to my chronic illness. Initially I found the words tough to hear, but so often I do need another voice spoken into my life to clearly see the truth. That day I needed a leg-up to get on my Truth Box.
When communication directed at one of my many vulnerabilities hits the “ouch spot,” I have to examine why the sting. If the words are true, why do they sometimes hurt? Maybe it has to do with a skewed self-image or a false reality. If I maintained a realistic view of myself, knowing I had flaws, dropped stitches, and natural shortcomings, wouldn’t it be easier to hear truth?
In order to avoid emotional pain, some might suggest adapting a thicker skin approach to life but perhaps more permeable skin would serve me better. The callousness of thick skin doesn’t allow for the flow of truth and grace. And maybe that’s the missing component, a dose of grace mixed with the truth. I like Webster’s definition, “a disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy or clemency.” Truth always tastes better delivered with kindness.
The other day when I received truth from my PDP sisters, it came with plenty of grace. 🙂
Receiving hard stuff takes practice. The steadier the diet of truth, the easier it is to digest. My self-awareness learning curve keeps climbing thanks to caring people in my life willing to say the tough stuff.
I like living in the emotional place where I can unabashedly articulate my strengths AND my weaknesses. If you have a criticism of me, it may bruise my ego a bit to hear it, but if I want to move forward in life then, “bring it on.” Just please don’t forget the measure of grace.
[Intramuralist Note: Caroline is wise woman. I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again; I appreciate both her fondness and knowledge of baseball, the bible, and good beer.]