We live in an odd culture. Sometimes I take a step back and look at the things we do and don't do and find acceptable and awkward and it seems so strange. I was talking to a friend yesterday and despite my prodding, she found it difficult to say anything nice about herself. Why? It just feels wrong to say something like, “I am a kind person.” It feels proud and slightly false because can one ever be truly kind? I have other friends who like to tease me (I am an easy mark for this, I will admit) and I know this joking and trading harmless insults and sparring banter is a sign of affection, but on the other hand, why can’t they just tell me, “I like you and value spending time with you?” Why is that so difficult to say? Why must we couch all our affections in these insulting words that we don’t mean and adopt faux modest behaviour that keeps us from acknowledging the truth about ourselves?
I am a fairly straightforward person, which can get me in trouble sometimes, but if I like someone, I try to tell them. I don’t “play” nice - I will not say something slightly untrue just to avoid hurting your feelings; I will not call you my friend easily, but when I do, you know I will back it up 100%; I will tell you what I see in you – the good things and those that might need a bit of work – and then offer to help you improve in those areas; and I am trying to work on telling the truth about myself as well. And let me define “the truth” here. It is what God says about a situation or a person, not just my or anyone else’s perception of what is going on. We all have our skewed view of life, especially since we have all had our sense of value screwed up by imperfect childhoods and bad experiences and rejection, but I am attempting to learn to see things as they really are. The value that God places on people and the characteristics that he looks for in people, myself included – those are the things I want to place a high priority on as well. And I want to be able to recognize the truth and speak it at all times. There is power is a truthful word, and all our socially acceptable avoidance of saying what we mean, our reluctance to say something that will make us or another person vulnerable, is a crippling impotency that I am not willing to live with.
To my best friend and confidant…I can hardly believe the profoundness of your love for me - you always exceed my expectations.
To my husband…I love you and need you in my life - you are a good friend and provider and protector of all things important.
To my immediate family…Thank you for your continued generosity and acceptance. I respect our differences and value our common affection for each other. We will always be family.
To my close friends…I like you because you have let me come close to you and in turn involved yourselves in my life and made me feel important and special. You are kind and funny and smart and present and most enjoyably different than I am. Thank you for accepting me and challenging me and not drifting away.
To myself…I am beautiful and have a big heart. I like to learn new things and go on adventures. I am spontaneous and thoughtful and sometimes naïve, but always want to do the right thing and will cry when I get it wrong. I will also sometimes cry when I get it right, so don’t be confused. I love deeply and am often afraid to show it, but I’m working on that, so help me God.
To you…go and tell the truth to someone you care about.