Protecting people from ourselves

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

"You are not going to break the world." A wise teacher told me this when I confessed that I hold back my truth in order to protect people.

Since hearing that, it echoes in my mind a lot. Even knowing it to be true, there are still moments where it feels too hard, where I pull back and decide, not today.

Last week, my babysitter saved one of my babies when he choked on a piece of fruit and started turning blue. She relayed it to me later and I thanked her, asking how they were both doing. But what I really wanted to say is that I do not know what my life would be without him and that it scares the crap out of me to think that it is even possible. I wanted to tell her that we will never be able to show our gratitude enough for the love and care she provides our kids. I could not bring myself to acknowledge the truth in that moment.

We hold back our truth out of fear. Fear of acknowledging it and the resulting flood of emotions in our body, and fear of how the person on the receiving end would feel.

How often do we do this - suck it up so we do not collapse into a puddle of emotion? Limit our truth for another person's feeling of safety? Dim our light so someone else does not feel like they are in our shadow? Re-arrange our facial expression to convey something inauthentic?

For instance, how often do you smile or laugh at something for someone else's sake? How often do you feel obligated to lie with your face?

For me, it was pretty fucking often when I started to notice it.

So then, I started to think, how can I be more transparent? How can I put my truth out there?

Is it just saying whatever is on my mind? At first, I thought maybe this was the answer. Like what if my brain had a ticker running across my forehead broadcasting my thoughts? How incredibly scary and liberating.

Or maybe saying whatever is on my mind not really my "truth"? Our mind can lie to us - it can rationalize, negotiate, compromise.

A couple of years ago, I was in a relationship with someone who spoiled me with endless expensive gifts and trips. He sent gorgeous roses to my work, booked long spa days, took me to NYC for the weekend for my birthday to see a Hunger Games exhibit, a Broadway show, and eat expensive amazing food. I felt incredibly special, and when he confessed a few months in to the relationship that he could not do monogamy, I was afraid of losing him. I offered to try doing it his way - being open. I tried to put parameters on it, such as wanting to be the "primary" and declaring holidays as my time. But polyamory was not the only issue - this dude was angry. He threw things, punched pillows, growled. I was consumed with the need to make it work. I felt like I was losing at the game, so I made myself smaller and smaller so as not to anger him. I would lay in bed, him sleeping soundly next to me, and I would worry. I would let the worries take over until that is all that existed inside of me. I was a shell.

I lost myself so completely that I could no longer feel my own truth. I could not feel the instincts telling me to walk away. We sunk further into a wasteland of my anxiety and his anger. One day, it all erupted. He cornered me against the bathroom door and his tone was menacing as he told me that I was the only woman he had never beaten. Thank goddess for my teacher training because I knew how to de-escalate him and that was the last time I ever saw him.

It took a long time for me to reconnect with myself. I tried to rationalize what he said about beating other women, but I did not know if it was a scare tactic or if it was true. I kept thinking about it, but it remained a big question. One day, after a few months of healing and self-care, I started to feel like myself again. I was walking along, listening to music in my earbuds, and it clicked. My body knew that he had definitely beaten other women.

If I had not closed myself off from listening to her, I would have known the truth before that moment by my bathroom door.

Emotions felt in the body are true and completely immune to compromise or rationalization.

Communicating this truth is inherently more vulnerable and risky.

So what is the risk? Being vulnerable is scary because you can be rejected and hurt, but you can also be the one who causes pain.

But what if we never had to be responsible for someone else's feelings? What if it was all some big fucking lie to control us, to oppress us? What if living our truth was the kindest thing to do? What if it inspired the people around us rather than made them feel small?

What if we set people free with our truth?

What if our truth is the biggest boldest thing we pass on to those around us and it leads to even greater connections and outcomes?

It is easy to ask these questions, but much harder to live this philosophy everyday.

Thus my challenge.

Free my face from the expectation of smiling and laughing. Be vulnerable. Share it all and trust the universe to make gold from it.

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