Authenticity

Inspired by (letter to a friend who suggests i am sick because i want to be)

How many times a day do you get asked, “how are you?”, “how are you doing?” etc.?  Probably a couple, depending on how much you get out.  Now, how many of those people want a truthful answer?  Are they looking to really know how you feel?  Do they want to know how much pain you are in?  Do they want to know the truth?  There are a good many days that go by when my truthful answer to that question is, “I feel horrible.  I am in pain.  I am tired all the time.  I have no energy to get things done that need to be done.  I am angry, frustrated, scared and downright pissed off.”   When I told a doctor a couple weeks ago that I was scared because they didn’t know yet what was wrong with me and the possibilities left on the “list” were not great options, her response was “be positive.”  And I cannot be positive all the time, and when I am sitting at the doctor with horrible diagnoses staring me in the face, its nearly impossible to “be positive”.  But it seems that everyone wants you to be positive.  Half of the images that many people post on FB tell you to “be positive” in one way or another.  But what if you can’t be positive, what if your brain chemistry and your life situation are leaving you feeling negative?  I say, that is OK!

I think more than anything else, being authentic, your true self, being positive when you feel positive, but also owning anger and frustration when you feel those things, is really empowering. For years and years, I tried to follow the “God doesn’t give me more than I can handle” and “I need to look on the positive side of things” or “if I can just do/be/have this everything will be ok or “if I pray enough, or believe enough things will get better”. When, in reality, none of these things is true. Illness is illness, disease is disease, sometimes you cannot, you just cannot.   No matter how much I may want to right now I cannot tie my shoes, I cannot tie my daughter’s shoes, and that makes me angry, it makes me frustrated.

When you act positive even though you don’t feel positive, simply isn’t authentic, it is a LIE, and when you LIE to yourself, you hurt yourself. And I just cannot do that anymore. The people around me may not like it, but its the truth, and as it has been said some people either are not ready for or cannot handle or do not want to see the truth. But that is their problem, not mine.  So be prepared, because if you ask me the question, “how are you today?” and you are looking for a positive answer, you may not get what you are looking for, you might get a negative answer, and that is authenticity.  Do you really want a lie?

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