The Whole Truth
For someone with honesty on their short list of core values, it pisses me off when I realize I’m lying. Especially to myself. It might not be so bad if I could just skip off after, warm and cozy in my delusions. Ignorance is bliss, right? But all this damned self-reflection and mindfulness puts a damper on the ignorance thing. I shouldn’t complain, I guess. I’m getting what I asked for. And paid for, with all those years of therapy. But sometimes a girl just want’s easy, you know?
Anyway, here’s what happened…
I recently caught up with some fellow planner buddies. Being in business alone is, forgive me, a lonely business, so I love that we’ve maintained this connection since we all launched our firms. It’s as much a social and support group as it is study group, especially in the summer when our meetings are less frequent and more casual.
We start with a round robin, where we all give a little update on life and where we’re at with our businesses. When it was my turn, I was happy to celebrate some recent wins – kids graduations, a few new clients, an uptick in the time I’m able to spend with my long distance lover. Feeling balanced, I said, all good.
Except that immediately after the call, I began to feel kind of icky. I was reminded of some things I’m struggling with. Seeing my kids less. Juggling a life and a business across multiple states. The constant feeling of swimming upstream as I try to build a heart-centered business in a dog-eat-dog world. The fear that it all may not work, despite my best efforts. The even bigger fear that my best efforts are, simply put, not good enough. That maybe, deep down, I’m not good enough. Ah. Jackpot.
Sharing only the good news with group, I felt like I had lied to my friends. Alone, and focused on the struggles as if there was nothing to celebrate, I realized I was lying to myself. Why?
In the book Self-Compassion, Kristin Neff Ph.D. says “we vacillate between self-serving distortions and ruthless self-criticism…because we want to be safe”. Our development, she says, is “predicated on basic survival instincts”. We show our best selves to our tribe, so that we won’t be outcast. Privately, we hyper-focus on our faults, since “those who accept their subordinate status also have a secure place in the social order”.
This pattern of behavior, although it may have served to keep the species going for millennia, seems to be backfiring. Instead of keeping us together, it is driving us apart. It prevents us from showing up fully, interferes with our ability to connect, and promotes shame.
According to Brené Brown, “courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen”. That means the whole us. And our whole truth.
I craved a do-over. An opportunity to say to my group - it’s true, I am celebrating. And I’m also struggling. I love this business. And sometimes I hate it. I refuse to give up. And a part of me wants to.
If I had, I know what would have happened. I would have seen nods. I would have heard a chorus of “me too”. I would have felt less alone.
In fact, by writing this, I already do. I hope you do too.
image lifted from www.thoughtco.com