Monday, July 28, 2014

The Truth

My mom read Debbie Macomber's series that is now a TV series, Cedar Cove. I watch this show with her. Last night we watched the second episode of the second season. Olivia gives her daughter, Justine, this advice: I have found that no matter what the situation, the truth always waits at the end.

Justine was swept away in what her boyfriend wanted for their lives (or thought he wanted) and she was going along to make him happy. By the end of last night's episode she had to confess the truth. She didn't want that future he was so intent on pursuing. And it turned out that he didn't really want it either when he looked deeply enough into his own heart. Truths can be hard to accept. It is so easy to get caught up in what someone else wants (truly or mistakenly). Their desire for that future can feel like a riptide that pulls you under... and it is just too much work to break free.

However, in the end the truth awaits.

I thought about my own life and how I allowed the desires of other people to pull me into things, situations, even life-altering changes that I didn't truly want. I thought about how unwilling I was to face this truth that was waiting for me in the end. I didn't want to face it so much that I LITERALLY made myself sick in order to avoid it. How much sickness is actually just stress over truths we don't want to face that manifest into very real physical illness????

I have spent the last year, with the help of a truly wonderful therapist, facing each one of these truths one at a time. It is painful and freeing to see the truth for what it was. And is. It is a terrible thing to know about yourself that you desire the happiness of others over your own. That, my friends, is codependency at its most unhealthy. It is freeing to understand it because it doesn't have to be part of your life ever again. The truth is always waiting for you at the end.

I told you that horrible first date story a few weeks ago. There was a time when I would have marginalized how bad it was and/or decided that this person TRULY needed my help. Oh, the crazy thinking there. One of my hard truths is that we can't save anyone but ourselves. Anyone but ourselves. So, when this person practically begged me for the save I said, "No." I learned that hard truth and refused to be pulled into his riptide.

I am currently facing another situation where I feel like there is a truth just waiting for me. I am not sure yet what that truth will be because I don't have enough information yet. But, the challenge is this: When I uncover that truth, whatever it is, will I act on it? Will I tackle it right away? I hope that the answer is "Yes," because I know the Bigger Truth. It will remain the truth right up until the end. I can face it now or I can face it ten years from now, but the truth is unwavering.

Understanding that Bigger Truth is an imperative for me. If I don't want to hurt someone else by acting on my own truth I am not saving them anything. That truth will demand to be heard at some point. It will hurt less earlier than later, for the person saying it and the person hearing it.

Can you think of a time when the truth was waiting for you at the end, so you sidestepped, took a right turn, or even doubled back just to avoid running smack into it? How did those maneuvers change the truth? How did they change you?


  1. Life is full of things for us to discover about ourselves, if we want to. But, it's hard to be objective. I discovered that I needed to look after me instead of a person who wanted me to be controlled by his wants and goals (an ex), which led to a divorce, and a much better path. When someone starts telling me how I 'should' think, then it's time for me to exit stage left. I learned this lesson early on in my twenties when I tried to define what made me like my life and what didn't. An eye-opener.

  2. The truth sets us free, but only if we choose to believe it. I hope you are able to recognize and accept yours when it comes.
    And when I look at what is happening in the world today, that first saying comes to mind...

  3. I'm still swimming in someone's riptide. I can't seem to find a way out. My own riptide is swirling around faster and faster as well. Life is never dull, is it? I watch Cedar Cove too. Or I did watch the first season. I liked it ok, but sometimes a couple of characters got on my nerves. LOL

  4. D.G. ~ Sounds like you had some experiences early on that made you stop and look at that Bigger Truth. Good that you now recognize that feeling right away... I suppose we could call those Red Flags. After all, my therapist would...

    Alex ~ Yes, I think I am getting there. One of my hurdles has been speaking my truth when I know it. I like to think I am gaining ground with that one.

    Pam ~ Swimming in another person's riptide is no fun. Of course, drowning in your own is not good either. I hope that you pull yourself clear soon!

  5. I think many of us females are people pleasers. We try hard to be perfect and have everyone like us. We excuse others' bad behavior by trying to be "understanding" and "compassionate," thinking that makes us a "good" person. It takes time and experience to realize getting taken advantage of isn't being a good person. I lost a lot, materially and emotionally, for a long time. By the time I hit my mid-forties, I finally got it and became a better judge of people and started looking out for number one. Hang in there, Robin. You've come a long way and are doing great!

  6. I haven't heard or Cedar Cove. May have to check it out, although I try not to watch many regular series because there is never enough time. A long, long time ago, I spent some time sublimating my own desires for another, but I felt it pretty quickly and I moved on. Never regretted it either...even though I was good and lonely for a time afterwards.

  7. "It's funny how everybody considers honesty a virtue, yet no one wants to hear the truth."

    Hoo-Wee, that's a great line (and true, too!)

    I agree with what Alex wrote. Quoting The Bible, I have often said: "You will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free." But the Truth can do nothing for you at all... until you "know" it.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  8. You're very wise. I really appreciate your question that relates the truth (attempts to avoid it) to sickness. I think there's much to be said for that.

    As much as I've generally faced reality head-on throughout my life, I keep uncovering layers of the truth that I hadn't faced or realized. Writing helps me get there, actually. It's painful, but - of course - it's worth the risks and investment.

  9. I'm not sure what truths I might be avoiding, but I expect I might discover some truths about myself now that my full time job is to stay home and write.

    1. There is nothing like unlimited time with yourself to really get to know yourself!

  10. Lexa ~ It is so hard for people pleasers to just Stop. Stop trying to be all things to all people. Stop putting the needs of others over your own (always). Just stop. And speak those hard truths when they need to spoken. Well said. It can take a long time to get there. So glad you did!

    Liza ~ Yeah, saying "No" to painful relationship hurts for a while, but you are better off in the long haul.

    StMc~ I know. That is a great quote. We all say that we value honesty... but we don't really want to hear it, do we????

    Robyn ~ We all have different ways of getting there. The important thing is that you are... getting there, that is. I am so glad that writing has helped you sort it all out.

  11. That last quote is so very true and it's weird to think about how much we spend trying to please other people rather than just doing what makes us happy. I'm learning over time how to say no.

  12. I believe most women have been programmed to put their 'truths' on the back burner and put everyone's needs above their own.

  13. I've found myself to be a people pleaser, and I've also found myself having to back off a little so I can help myself. As they always say, you have to help yourself before you can help others. It's a delicate balance. Just don't let it get you on the opposite side of the fence. It's always sad to see when someone gets so jaded by pleasing others that they close themselves off completely (doesn't sound like that would ever be the case with you, though).

  14. I have struggled for years with the desire to save everyone, even when I know I can't This post is very thought-provoking for me :)

  15. J.L. ~ Shocking how hard it is to say "No" even when we really want to...

    Sandra ~ Yes, I think that is true. Although, there are some men who struggle with it, too.

    ABFTS ~ Oh, balance. How often have I pondered that word and its relationship to my own life. I think I am getting closer to finding the balance. It's been a long time coming!

    OE ~ When you want to save the world, it is a bitter pill to find out that the best you can do is save yourself. I hope you reconcile these ideas soon.

  16. I've always figured that whether we like it or not, the truth IS. Easier to accept it, since hiding from it does not buy us much.

    I do tend to avoid conflict, which often means avoiding telling the whole truth to the person the conflict is with...which still pretty much comes back to haunt me.

    In general, I think our society is terrified of the truth, so we have lots of lies we tell ourselves as a defense mechanism. Better to rise above that and face the Truth head on.

  17. We really can't save anyone else. We want to, and we can be a good influence, but that person has to make the decision to do it himself.

  18. Yes! I let a friend move in with me that I didn't really want to move in (many years ago). That person took advantage of me considerably, as I knew she would, but even though I'd said no several times, I felt powerless to stop myself from saying yes when her tears and desperate state came a knocking. I knew the truth and in the end it hurt her and me way more than it would have if I'd have stuck to no to begin with (we are no longer friends because I asked her to move out). I had forgotten all about that until you wrote this piece here.

    I'm glad you found a good therapist who really helps you. I'm sure that makes all the difference in the world! GL with your new truth challenge (I suppose we get them our whole lives, yes?). :)

  19. Mark Twain said, “I would rather tell seven lies than make one explanation.” I'm not sure I agree with Mr. Twain, but it's interesting that he'd write something like this, isn't it?

  20. Truth can be a tricky thing, especially when we are rarely honest with ourselves. I always aim for be the same person at home as I am in public. I've found that being myself and trying to be truthful is so much easier. It's hard to keep lies straight.

  21. A very thought-provoking post. I'm less a people-pleaser than I once was. It's easier for me to say no and not worry about it now. But there are times I still feel guilty when I put my own needs over someone else's. The most difficult times are when there are multiple truths - one for each person involved.

  22. I watched a few episodes of Cedar Cove in its first season, but then had trouble keeping on top of them.

    I think there are some truths I might be avoiding. The truth can hurt, us and other people, but the truth can also be healing and cleansing. We need truth in our lives to grow and move forward.

  23. Ah, this is a great post. Of course you know that I have spent some time of my own being a people pleaser and trying to rescue some others. Total waste of time and energy. It's funny, but it's so true that when you are truthful things go a whole lot better. The friend I have always been honest with, even when it wasn't easy, is my longest and easiest friendship.
    There are certainly some people who it has been super hard to be totally truthful with- like relatives and people I really cared for that just wouldn't stop blowing up their lives. I got tired of being hit with the shrapnel and finally accepted that some people don't actually want anything out of their lives, no matter how badly I want it for them. And no matter how much I love them. Truly, it sucks having to accept that principle. However, it sucks way more to go down the rabbit hole with them and then have to dig your way back out. I'd rather just take the initial sting and move on. It still stings though. ;)

  24. You are a very good person who always tries to do the right thing. I hope that you find your truth, and it helps to lighten your load.


  25. LC ~ So many truths sound flat-out mean. Judgmental. Criticizing. I try to remind myself that they are not. I am doing the very important work of setting up boundaries and standards for what is acceptable in my life. And that means in the people who want to be close to me. The more I blur that line because it is too big a leap for them BUT I still want them in my life... Well, that is just backpedaling into the same unhealthy behavior I exhibited before and will very likely produce the same result: migraines. Not because of their behavior but because I lowered my standards and allowed it to get close to me. And yet... it still sounds terrible when you have to say to someone, "No we can't be closer because...." It always sounds like you are judging them and their behavior rather than making a choice (and sticking to it) about what you want for yourself. Bah.

    Diane ~ That really should be obvious, no?

    Rosey ~ Excellent example of what will happen when you don't listen to your gut instincts. That truth was the truth and it was always there waiting. Your gut knew it. You knew it. But...

    Lee ~ Wouldn't we all rather do that???? We would rather say things that are kinda sort true (but not the REAL truth) rather than explain our real truth to another person. I get it!

    Elizabeth ~ When you decide on your boundaries and borders it is definitely much easier to stick with them all of the time. When it is a "sometimes" proposition it will lead to trouble.

    Carol ~ I think a people pleaser will always struggle with it, but it can be conquered!

    Chris ~ Absolutely. Once the shock of it wears off, there is value in it if we choose to see it.

    Sandra ~ :)

    Jasmine ~ How did I know that you would appreciate this one???? We have walked so many of the same roads. I struggle with total truthfulness. It sounds so unkind. I wish I knew a way to make the pill easier to swallow. Yes, I am FINALLY understanding that saying a painful truth when you know it is much easier than getting caught up in someone else's wake and the kicking yourself. Yeah, I saw the riptide. Yeah, I voluntarily walked into it. Yeah, it pulled me under (like I knew it would). Yeah, I know it was stupid. But I didn't want to hurt someone by telling them they were surrounded by a riptide, so I tried to yank them out instead. Egads.

    Julie ~ Always trying to do the right thing. That is a tricky statement. We equate that with doing the kind or nice thing... which isn't necessarily true. Sometimes doing the right thing means hurting someone's feelings in order to save you both a world of hurt. Or at leave save yourself a world of hurt.

  26. I guess, the sooner one realizes that they can't "fix" some people....and accepts that truth, the better off they're going to be.

    I liked the last quote on the virtue of truth, too!

  27. I love that you recognized you can't get involved in everyone else's drama. That was something I had to let go of awhile back too. Sometimes all you can do (and maybe the best thing you can do) is let people make their mistakes.

  28. I've been known to avoid the truth, for fear of hurting someone else's feelings, or for fear of the unknown, but avoiding the truth is like living a lie and sooner or later lies break down.


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