There’s a story about a woman who found a snake frozen in the snow and, feeling sorry for the snake, she placed it in her bra for warmth.Well, when the snake thawed, it bit her. Shocked she said, “I gave you warmth when you were cold!?” to which the snake replied, “You knew I was snake in the beginning.”
While I start this post about being more truthful with a story about a snake, I’m in no way implying that everyone is a snake. I would, however, like you to see the snake in the story as a symbol of strength. When he was frozen, he was vulnerable, weak. He had taken more than a few blows from life and it looked like he was down for the count. However, given some time to recuperate, he returned to his original form…one of strength.
Many times we aren’t honest because we consider all that the other person has been through already and, we determine, they can’t handle the truth. But they can. They’ve handled all that life has handed them thus far and they will handle it long after you and I are gone. We bounce back.
Though not intentional, it’s easy to try to build a permanent foundation on a temporary situation. Yes, your friend maybe going through a tough time but, if it’s been placed on your heart to tell them that they are in that situation as a result of their own actions, say it and hope they’d do the same for you. It’s the dose of cold water in the face we all need at times. The setback is temporary, our strength is permanent.
Many years ago, one of my best friends said, “Well, either you’re going to deal with it or you’re not” in reference to a relationship she’d heard me complain about for years. She was as emotionless as you can imagine and I just about fell out of my chair.
For a few seconds, I thought. “Doesn’t she know how hard it is to go through a divorce?” “Doesn’t she understand how heartbroken I am?” “EVERYONE says that dealing with a divorce is like dealing with a death.”
Oh, I wanted to justify and excuse and complain some more. But I didn’t. Me and my bruised ego politely wrapped up that conversation and got off the phone. What I hadn’t taken into consideration is that she wasn’t dealing with something “like” death, she’d just buried her mom. So what kind of friend was I? And, while the wound felt fresh to me, because I kept picking at the scab, she’d probably heard five years of my griping and complaining.
In all honesty, it was pass time to show me a little tough love.
Had she said the same thing to me in the past, only nicer? Maybe. Sometimes honesty comes so watered down that you miss the point. Other times, however, it’s not gentle at all. Honesty can sound mean, like being a hater or no longer caring. There are times when relationships end as a result of honesty. Yet, I’d be willing to bet that many times, everyone’s better for it.
Think about it, if you’re on the phone or spending time with someone who you can’t be honest with, the relationship is primarily based on what has not been said. It’s not a real relationship. I’d think your time would be better spent creating new relationships or figuring out how best to start over on the current one. How long are you willing to trade in hours for a relationship that doesn’t truly represent you? How long do you keep pulling strings to keep someone in your life? Chances are, it hasn’t been a friendship in a long time.
For many years, I’ve frowned upon the thought of doctors that tell their patients that they have a terminal illness. I’m not sure who I’d rather the doctor dump the news on but the thought of hearing those words seemed like more than I could handle. So, for a long time, I’ve said that I wouldn’t want a doctor to tell me. In essence, I was saying I’m not strong enough. But, I am.
There’s power, choices and opportunity in knowing and telling the truth. If I choose to cry, scream, sulk, lick my wounds or not talk to you for a spell, I have that choice. So do you and those that you are honest with.
Today, I found myself thinking a lot about strength. Just because someone doesn’t seem strong, right now, doesn’t mean that they lack strength.
I’ve been in my own personal life class of how to tell the truth and how to hear the truth for a while now. I want to be a better giver and receiver in this area.
I know I will not get the tone, words and timing right every time but know that I will always try to be mindful of my deliverance. Even a thoughtful attempt is better than a boat load of unsaid.
Besides, when we get mad, it’s all coming out anyway and whether we blame it on alcohol, having a bad day or simply not being a real friend, one thing’s for sure, when it comes out, it’ll be the truth.