I used to be so courageous in life and in speaking my mind. I stood up to the school system, crooked sales associates and I stood up to a major international corporation. I was never afraid of anything in those days. Instead, I reveled in the challenge. It was as natural as breathing to say no, this isn’t right or this doesn’t work for me. I welcomed the consequences even when they were painful.
It is interesting how we can be so strong in one area and so weak in others. I’ve never been good at speaking the truth if it hurts someone else unless it crosses a moral line. At some point along the path of life, I began to hold my tongue and my feelings hoping to keep the peace and make others happy. In the beginning, it felt better not to encounter the discomfort that comes in telling someone that their behavior is hurting you, or telling a customer that we aren’t issuing credit or an employee that their behavior needs to change. It felt like a major relief and then it didn’t.
As time went on, I began to realize that the conflict and discomfort had not really gone away. It had just moved to a different place. Its home was no longer outside of me but inside of me. I didn’t truly recognize how destructive that path can be until I faced a situation where someone I loved had gotten hooked on pain medication drugs. They didn’t see that their behavior was spilling over onto me. They were just trying to escape the pain of life and survive. As I watched this person, I saw that their problem was they had lived an entire life pleasing others. Their kindness always making them unable to say no. Selflessly being the doormat and smiling through it all it had finally caught up, and they were teetering on a dangerous cliff.
Looking at them, I saw myself. I saw how easily I had begun to swallow my pain and realized how unhealthy it was. I have never been a drinker or one for drugs, but I could easily see how holding it all in was creating a lot of anxiety and depression for me. I am usually filled with light but the clouds of life had become overwhelming. I could do my life thing all day long. It was the dealing with others life thing that had me paralyzed and stuck.
It took a lot of courage for me to step up and speak the truth. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but for one of the few times in my life, I recognized that if I didn’t, I would be going off that cliff too. I knew because I know that I cannot separate myself from those that I love. If they are hurting I want to do whatever I can to take their pain away. I would walk through hell and burn myself to a crisp if I thought it might save another and do it doubly for someone in my closest circle.
Life would be much easier if we only had ourselves to deal with. It would be a lot lonelier too. I’m still trying hard to find the balance. I’m still unsteady and feel selfish when I think of me when someone else is in suffering. I am learning that even when there is discomfort I have to speak the truth for me, knowing that I’m just a part of the puzzle as there is always a bigger picture.
Maybe God puts us in the life of others to say things that wake them up. I don’t know. I do know that my speaking up got the attention of the person who was self-destructing and thankfully life has turned around for them. That makes my uneasiness easier.
The photo above is a mama dolphin training her baby to feed. I took it back in the fall. Neither of them seemed the least bit afraid. Instead, it almost looks like the baby (on the left) is smiling. I will continue to take my own baby steps back to the Kim that isn’t afraid of life or truth. And when I am filled with the fear that life often brings, I will think of the beautiful Bottlenose Dolphins above and like them, I will summon my courage, smile, and breathe.
Life gets easier when we smile and breathe. Just breathe!
Light and Love Always!