If I had a dollar for every time I said that I was fine when I was falling apart I would be rich. I am like the queen at saying I am fine. And that is a hard thing to admit. People ask how I am doing or how things are going, and my response is almost automatic. I’m fine. Things are fine. Saying that things are fine when you are falling apart is easy.
“Lie number one, You’re supposed to have it all together, And when they ask how you’re doing, Just smile and tell them “Never Better”, Lie number two everybody’s life is perfect except yours, So keep your messes and your wounds behind closed doors, truth be told, the truth is rarely told”
-Truth Be Told by Matthew West
Lie Number One
One Sunday morning, one of the pastors at my church played this song for our congregation and I froze. I felt like this song was directed at me. Funny how music has that effect on us.
Like I said, I have the hardest time with lie number one. I have lived through a lot of childhood trauma and it was just easier for me to pretend like I had everything together. It was easier to give a superficial answer than be honest. Saying you are fine when you are falling apart is easy.
But now that I am out of that trauma the habit has followed me, and it is one of the hardest ones I have had to break. Even harder than stopping my addiction to self-harm.
Breaking the habit of lie number one.
What is easier? Being honest when someone asks how you are doing when you are falling apart or putting a smile on your face and saying that you’re fine? Saying that you’re fine is easy. Easier than being vulnerable. Now, I am not saying you need to open up to a random stranger in the middle of the street about why you are falling apart. But how much of the time are we as guarded with our closest friends and family as we would be with that stranger in the middle of the street?
Breaking the habit of lie number one requires vulnerability and honesty. When someone you are close to asks you how you are doing, tell the truth. If you are struggling, tell them. This takes intentionality. It takes practice.
Lie Number Two
Lie number two is a hard one. Especially if you’re a mom in my opinion. At least I find this to be true in my life. I see other moms doing things that I don’t do or see them doing things better than I do it or see moms that haven’t dealt with Postpartum Depression or mental illnesses. I have a tendency to think to myself that they don’t want to hear about my struggles, or they would judge me because of the ones that I do face. Sometimes I struggle with telling the truth about what I am going through.
Breaking the habit of lie number two.
Breaking the habit of lie number two is very similar to breaking the habit of lie number one. Vulnerability. Vulnerability alone can sometimes make you want to hide under the covers and never come out. Add that feeling on top of when you are sitting in front of the friend that you are comparing yourself to and you are talking to them about the thing that you are most insecure about. AHH!! Right?!
But let me be honest with you. The feeling that comes after the initial AHH moment-if your friend empathizes with you even if they haven’t been through what you have-feels good. You feel more connected to that friend. Telling the truth is freeing.
Easier said than done
Believe me, this is hard work. This is a huge work in progress for me. There are times that I slip and say that I am fine and not talk about my messes and wounds. I have to then go back and admit that I am not. Vulnerability is not easy.
“And when it’s out of control I say it’s under control but it’s not, And you know it, I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit it, When being honest is the only way to fix it”
-Truth Be Told by Matthew West
This life we live is not always easy. We are not supposed to do it alone and we are supposed to be vulnerable. We are supposed to be honest and we are supposed to be connected with others. Even though it is hard to be. Honesty, and vulnerability is the way to healing.
I write about this in one of my other blog posts, Loved Ones in the Arena. Without vulnerability, we cannot heal. I have lived that truth. For the longest time, I kept things bottled up. I didn’t tell my loved ones how bad things were. I would pretend that I was fine. They could tell.
One day, it clicked for me. This is what my mom was telling me for so long. This was what she and my husband were needing for so long. To be vulnerable and honest and actually share what was going on.
This changed everything. I struggle with this still but being able to share with and have them there with me when I am struggling instead of trying to do it on my own has been a big contributor to my growth.
I will say this over and over again. Vulnerability. The hope is that we as a community can be better about being honest and vulnerable. To stop saying that you’re fine when you are falling apart. Or even just having a rough day. In my life, I know that the people I am vulnerable and honest with, when they are vulnerable and honest with me makes me feel more secure and connected in the relationship. Let’s let the truth be told.