They say that “honesty is the best policy” but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Being a transparent person is not the easiest road to take but it does afford you much peace of mind. I know this because I am trying to travel this path myself and trust me… it’s a journey. Writing this blog has become a big part of my journey. You see, I have always been a very private person, especially when it comes to my “dirt”. I’m not big on sharing my shortcomings or showing my weaknesses to people and this is not a good thing. Like most human beings, there were and are things in my life that I’m not exactly comfortable putting in the “Christmas newsletter”. I also got tired of being known for my “mess ups”, so I shut down.
So, I became very good at telling select portions of stories, the “sanitized for my protection” versions. I was able to sense who I thought could handle the truth and who would not be as understanding. It was exhausting, quite frankly. Not to mention that the more “private” I was, the more closed off I was to my friends, family, and God.
So what brought me out of my self imposed bad news blackout? I was fortunate to meet a woman who showed me from Day One what it was like to live as an open book. We hadn’t formally met yet but this person and I had been acquainted through social media, mutual friends, and by virtue of living in small town. I found her uncensored style to be very refreshing and her spirituality inspiring. I honestly never thought we would be friends because she just seemed so much more together than me. Why would she want to hang out with me?
To say that God’s ways are mysterious but right on is an understatement. When we finally sat down, I was at the lowest of lows. Things were unraveling in my life at a rapid pace. I was in the aftermath of destructive relationship, my career was on hold and I was on the verge of moving. One morning, a devotional she posted seemed to be tailor-written for just me and I decided to reach out and simply say “thank you”. I was pleasantly surprised when she responded so warmly. Before I knew it, I was sitting across the table from this person I had been admiring from afar for so long. I immediately went into damage control mode. I began to tell the cliff’s notes versions of my life’s issues.
Looking back, I know she knew I was full of it because the seriousness of what I was going through and my tales didn’t add up…and I’m not a very good liar. My poker face is pretty nonexistent. Anyway, she let me finish and began to tell me her testimony. My mind was blown by how freely she told me her truth. There was no filter on, it was truth concentrate. I began to feel badly about lying and began to let the real roll off my tongue. Some of these things I was saying out loud for the first time ever. I hardly knew the person and yet here I was, in Barnes & Nobles, spilling my heart out. She sat patiently and listened. There was no judgment, no scarlet letters being handed out, and no running and screaming from the table. I was instead greeted with much understanding and a little side-eye for not being honest in the first place.
What was supposed to be a short conversation over coffee turned into a six-hour crying and laughing session that ended with a hug in the parking lot. This moment set the stage for how I went forward. I realized that the truth truly does set you free and the only way you can overcome shame is by facing it head on. Ironically, telling the truth about what I was most ashamed of got me out of my career woes and sent my life into positive direction.
I am now very blessed to call this person not just a friend, but family. She’s a fixture in the life of my husband, daughter, and I and continues to teach me new things about friendship and honesty. If you are living in fear of your mistakes of what you perceive to be your truths, I encourage you to find someone who has shown you that they can handle it; someone whose love for you and God is bigger than their need to judge. I also encourage you to take a look at yourself and see if you are the type of friend/family who your loved ones feel comfortable being themselves around, good, bad, or ugly.
Can people trust you to offer honesty with equal parts love? If not, let that become your truth…