“The depth of the feeling continued to surprise and threaten me, but each time it hit again and I bore it…I would discover that it hadn’t washed me away.” Anne Lamott
A constant theme throughout much of my life has been, in some way, running from myself. Hiding from my feelings. Even attempting to somehow change my perception of the truth and its effect on my life.
If I have learned anything in my 30 years, particularly in the last few years, it’s that feelings are indicators of truth and truth begs to be honored.
Suppressing feelings and ignoring them is so disrespectful to ourselves, and not sharing them with others is disrespectful to them too.
There’s the quote, “To thine own self be true.” It sounds just so simple. But in order to be true to ourselves, we must first know ourselves. In order to know ourselves, we have to first pay attention.
We have to pay the hell attention, you guys.
We have to tune in.
You can’t be true to yourself when you don’t respect yourself enough to pay attention to your feelings and what they’re telling you.
If you want other people to respect you, you have to first respect yourself.
This process is never-ending, but I’m learning that the beginning of it is just being who you are.
Inviting yourself to be fully yourself, with no apologies, no shame, and simply saying, “Here I am,” knowing that whoever that person is-with all the feelings and all the mistakes and all the experiences and all the pain-is good enough.
You don’t have to fix yourself first. You don’t have to get it figured out before you show up. You don’t have to figure it all out before you reveal your heart and your face to the world. You don’t have to siphon out the feelings or think your way into something that makes sense.
But we do have to seek truth, in all areas, starting with what exists in our own souls.
When we aren’t true to ourselves, we do hurtful things. We re-injure ourselves when we don’t honor our wounds and the feelings birthed out of them. Those feelings are there for a very specific reason. Those feelings are there to heal us. To propel us into change. To love us into ourselves. To teach us how to honor and respect our own hearts.
When we own our truth and step into it with grace and love, it revolutionizes things. It puts the power back into our own hands. When we stop hiding from our own truth, it takes away the shame. It levels the playing field. It says, “Yeah, I see the same things you see, and I’m standing here anyway.”
So much beauty is found in that. The moments we admit that life is hard; not because we suck at it, but just because it’s hard. The moments we can stand, broken pieces and all, and say, “I’m a scared mess, but I’m here anyway. Stand with me.”
I feel so sad when I see people who think it all has to make sense and it all has to have been done “right” and planned out perfectly. When people hide behind their glass walls and their shame shrouded image of perfection, pretending to have it all together and adding to the world the idea that you can’t show up until you too have gotten it figured out, my heart breaks.
It’s so much easier to love people from a distance. When their mess isn’t right in front of our face. When nothing is actually required of us in order to really love them. Because the truth is, we are all so busy trying to deal with our own messes, often from a distance, that when we are faced with someone else’s, it feels like too much. So we shut down. We pull back. We hide. We judge. We throw stones.
We do things to try to make ourselves feel less messy.
When we do that, we hurt each other. When we do that, we aren’t honoring each other; and in that experience of dishonoring the truth, we create more wounding.
But part of the truth is that, this shit is hard.
All the learning and the growing and the truth telling. All the standing with our our arms opened wide as we choose to tell the truth, both to ourselves and to others. All the feelings.
They say the truth hurts.
I think what hurts worse is not being truthful with ourselves and not honoring our own experiences of life by hiding behind some false belief that in order to show up, we have to get it all figured out first. That in order to tell the truth, we have to fix it first.
We don’t have to do it that way.
We just have to show up. Scared and messy and broken. Confused and lost and devastated.
We just have to say, “Here I am,” and then walk the life God has laid before us, one messy step at a time.
We have to get to know ourselves. We have to learn to sit in our feelings, learning how to allow them to wash over us without washing us away.
We have to say no when our guts tell us to say no. We have to say yes when our souls scream for us to say yes. We have to choose relationships and opportunities that honor ourselves, rather than ones that please others.
We have to own our truth and allow it to set us free.
However that looks, whatever it means– we have to honor the messy truth.
What truth do you need to honor today?