If something is to empower us, or lead toward our empowerment, it has to be honest. And by honest I don’t mean passive-aggressive or downright nasty; if someone snarls at you, “do you know what your problem is? You can’t take the truth!” they don’t have your greater good at heart. Genuine, well-meant honesty definitely has the power to sting, and it can be delivered in a very firm and direct way – but it isn’t the same as a spiteful rhetoric designed to put you down or put you in your place. If you receive, but did not request, an unsolicited ‘honest’ appraisal or opinion, you obviously have the right to express your annoyance about what is basically an uninvited intrusion… and if your intruder throws it back at you, their intention definitely wasn’t to help you but to hurt you.
If, however, you really want to be more empowered in your life, and you feel that you need input from an outside source… would you actually be open to whatever is delivered, or would you be more likely to experience an overwhelming desire to protect yourself? ‘The Truth’ is something we all fear and dread… when it comes to ourselves, that is! Even delivering it is too scary for a lot of people, preferring to avoid confrontation and the risk of offending others, at all costs. We can avoid being honest with another because we genuinely don’t want to hurt their feelings – or, because we are afraid that they will react badly toward us. I don’t know about you but I would hate to think that my family or friends would be too scared to discuss with me something that I clearly need to be made aware of!
I had forgotten about this, a story from my long-distant past, until just now: I had been working as an intuitive consultant for about 18 months when I accepted a booking from a group of 4 women, to be conducted in my home. One of them appeared to be a bit highly-strung, but still, I thought all had gone relatively well… until one of her friends phoned me, telling me that she’d been utterly distressed by the consultation and had fallen to pieces as a result. I was mortified, not to mention baffled. I recalled that we had discussed that she and her husband were having some pretty serious problems, and that her children were struggling to cope with what was going on – but she hadn’t complained or shown any signs of distress before leaving my home. Her friend said that the only thing that would appease her would be for me to return her payment, and that she would collect it on her behalf. I was struggling with my own life, and very short of cash, but I wasn’t yet confident enough in my skills to say, “No way!” – and so I agreed to refund the money. As it happened, two of the four women called to pick up their unhappy friend’s fee… and they confided that her relationship was absolutely poisonous, to such a degree that her kids clung to anyone who showed them even a modicum of kindness – and that she had done this to several other readers. “But”, they said, “it’ll make things easier if you just return her money!” Nowadays, I would simply show them the door and advise them to stop enabling their ‘friend’s’ psychotic behaviour, but instead I felt wretched, useless, and frustrated… not to mention skint!
The question is, what was all of that really about? Were their actions those of genuine, caring friends? Was she actually being a friend to them? I honestly cannot answer those questions. How would she have felt if she had known that her ‘henchwomen’ had actually revealed the truth about her (somewhere within them they obviously felt some degree of shame)? There was nothing empowering for anyone involved in the whole sorry mess… and I now wonder how it all ended for them. Are they still friends? Is she still sending others to do her dirty work? Have they been banned by every intuitive reader in North Wales? We’ll never know.
Would you prefer a lovingly honest friend, or one who is willing to allow you to continue with self-destructive or unreasonable behaviour without at least attempting to address the subject?
Would you rather have a fair and honest work appraisal, or one that merely goes through the motions, providing little or no genuine feedback? Or worse – no appraisal at all, ever?
Would you be happy to spend your money with the therapist, adviser, or consultant who doesn’t encourage you to challenge yourself… to work toward growth and development – or, do you prefer to remain comfortably validated and unquestioned?
There are no right or wrong answers – unless becoming more and more whole as a person is important to you; unless growing into the best, most informed version of yourself matters to you; unless you want to thrive, rather than just survive; unless you have a desire to be brave enough to face yourself – even when it hurts and embarrasses you (and it will) – and take personal responsibility for the way in which you operate in this world.
I was awake at 6 am this morning, got up, fed the cats, made a cup of tea, and went back to bed. I watched a Jordan Peterson video on YouTube, followed by something from Dr Joe Dispenza… and I felt genuinely empowered by what I heard. The peace I was in the process of making with regard to a decision I recently came to was reinforced; it hurt me in one way but liberated me in another, at a much deeper level. And I really thought about the ways in which we become more empowered, and the things we have to face as a part of the process… and I remembered that I never want to stay put, to be too afraid to face my own lack of knowledge about anything I need to know about (even my own behaviour!), or to be too proud to learn from every experience, even if I hate it (especially if I hate it!).
Of course, honesty is not always the best policy – a white lie… or even silence… is sometimes the most loving response to a situation. Telling your friend that the dress that makes her feel like a million dollars is too tight is not necessary – if she believes that she looks like a goddess she will feel like one – and who would deprive her of that? Someone recently asked me to tell another person not to wear his favourite trousers because they look so awful… and I absolutely refused, warning them to keep their own mouth shut! I know how upset and offended the said trouser-wearer would be, and anyway, I don’t think the pants are that bad! Even if they were it still wouldn’t matter enough to justify hurting an already self-conscious soul. I remember my stepmother announcing (when my father wasn’t around) that she’d informed my new school that I wasn’t her daughter – and I knew it was a ‘truth’ designed to hurt an already damaged 12 year old – a deliberate form of rejection. However, what I am really talking about here is very different. It is the kind of honesty that allows us to reassess where we are at, and where we could possibly be going wrong – in line with what we ideally hope to experience and achieve, and who we have the potential of developing into. Do you want to be brave and open to life, to keep on learning and growing? Are you willing to at least consider whether there is any value to be found in the nuggets of wisdom that are bound to come your way? Can you admit that you could use some neutral insight into a situation that has left you struggling to see the wood from the trees – and be stoic enough to receive what is delivered with good grace and open-mindedness? Of course you can! If you couldn’t (or didn’t want to), you probably wouldn’t have bothered reading this blog in the first place…