Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul. ~ C.S. Lewis
Sometimes I forget how much people dislike the truth, especially when it pertains to their own selves. We say we want to hear the truth, but when we do hear it our reaction is to stuff our fingers in our ears and yell “Ah, Blah, Blah, Blah! I Can’t Hear You!”. Or worse, our reaction turns bitter and spiteful. But when something stings so much, isn’t it better to examine WHY it stings so much — isn’t it usually true that the only reason it stings is because it may, in fact, be true? And if so, and it hurts so badly, shouldn’t we try to address that problem – the truth hurting – so that we can move forward? So that we can maybe make that change, or at least acknowledge it enough to even be able to laugh about it? Instead, we often allow the problem to grow, fester and perhaps even sink us deeper in the mud. Why not address the truth head on?
Maybe we want to stay stuck. We like spinning in the same circle just the same as the sun sets every evening and rises again in the morning. Being stuck feels safe, natural, normal, and maybe the only way we know. Or maybe trying to break out of it is just too difficult. We bury our heads in our work, our families, our friends, our drinks, and forget that the truth hurts. After all, who wants to face pain?
Yoga teaches us that pain and pleasure are one and the same. I say yoga, but there are plenty of other examples in this life that teach us that pleasure and pain are the same. Most religions make reference, for example:
Hebrews 12:11: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields other peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
People who have learnt to play the guitar know what I’m talking about, or their calloused fingers do. Anyone who does any physical activity knows pain and pleasure go hand in hand. No pain, no gain, right? And, of course, that life force that urges us forward to experience bliss and pain and heartache and happiness sometimes all at the same time is a prime example: sex.
We know we must endure pain sometimes to feel pleasure – it is a universal truth – that pains build character, makes us stronger. Yet we protect ourselves, are so guarding of keeping out bad feelings and having our ego slightly reduced that we go to great measures to prevent the pain/truth from entering our consciousness. We turn away from bad news, we ignore the beggar in the street, we insult the person trying to convey truth rather than try to actually hear what she is trying to say. We hide in our bubble and pretend that we’re OK. We do all kinds of crazy shit to convince ourselves that we’re fine, that we’re good people, that people like us, that we’re needed in the world. And we are, of course. But where’s the challenge? The real challenges that make us not just nice people, but the best people we can possibly be?
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. Doesn’t anyone believe that?
Not only do we hide from having to hear the truth, we also hide from having to say it. Even when we think someone needs to hear it, we refrain. We don’t want to hurt peoples’ feelings, cause riffs, unnecessary drama. Why should we be the ones to speak the truth – shouldn’t the person that needs to hear it be able to figure it out for herself? Most of the time it is better to mind your own business. So we are not only in a bubble to keep truth from entering our bubble, but also to keep truth from escaping. But what if someone asks to know what you think about a certain subject and, for whatever reason, you feel ambivalent in offering your true opinion? What if, during the course of conversation, a sticky subject comes up and you have the opportunity to express your true feelings? What do you say if you really feel the person you are speaking with should know the truth, even it might hurt his feelings? Will you tell the truth then? If someone wants to know the truth, begs for a sense of reality and you still hold back on it — is that right? I don’t think so, but I guess it depends on the circumstance. I forget sometimes that most people don’t want to know the truth, because I would think that I would want to know the truth if I were them. But maybe not.
An eloquent tongue is a treasured tool. Unfortunately, I am always misplacing mine.
Maybe you’re wondering why I’m saying all of this.
The truth is … I have a lot of things I want to say right now. And I’m not saying them and I’m not sure why. I haven’t written in this blog for months. Maybe I should have been more anonymous with it, perhaps I am afraid of what people think of me. I want people to see me in a certain light and writing in here might dim that light or at least point it in strange directions. Maybe I am afraid of pissing people off or don’t feel like dealing with people who have negative comments about what I have to say. Maybe I’m scared of the truth and that what I publish will make everything I say a permanent fixture rather than a continual thought process.
But it’s not just the blog, I want to tell people (in real life) how I feel, what I see in them and what I think they should hear, what I think would help them. But I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, crush their egos or step out of my bounds. So until my tongue feels more gentle and can offer words of encouragement and comfort while still speaking the truth, I’ll just keep my lips sealed and hope the truth is conveyed before them by a greater power. And use this blog as my outlet!
I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to ask you to do a little homework (and I will do the same). The next time someone is saying something and you feel a little cringe come over you — maybe you don’t want to hear what they’re saying and you stop listening or your heartbeat starts to raise a little or impatience builds in your chest — just do me a little favor: Ask yourself why. Why don’t you want to hear what they’re saying?