The Courage To Be Real

“My belief is that when you’re telling the truth, you’re close to God. If you say to God, I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don’t like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You”, that might be the most honest thing you’ve ever said. If you told me you had said to God, “It is all hopeless, and I don’t have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand”, it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real–really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.”  ~Anne Lamott

I think it takes tremendous courage to get real–really real. 

The kind of really real where you allow others to know you’re not ‘crushing it’ in life right now; in fact, you’re struggling, and maybe even questioning who you are, or what you’re doing at this stage of the game.

You know, the really real where you admit: it’s hard down here. 

I think it’s especially difficult to admit this because we’ve been trained to put on a happy face, act as though we know what we’re doing, and project that we’re a big success. (Can you say, gag me with a fork?) 

Life is demanding and sometimes, it takes the stuffing out of us (and, as my chipper self likes to say, then you die).

To have the courage to admit we’ve lost our way, are questioning our faith, or that we need help, is actually one of the bravest steps we can ever take.

It’s also one of the most freeing.

I’ll never forget the therapist I was seeing back in the early 90’s who one day, looked at me and said “Annie, tell yourself the truth”. That might sound ridiculously obvious to you but it landed in me like pure wisdom that day. I’d been dodging and dismissing what I was feeling because it was too painful to say out loud “I am totally depressed–and I hate my life right now.”

But when I did, it was like releasing the valve on a pressure cooker. I no longer felt burdened to try to look and act as though I had it all together.  It was at that point, with her help, that I started to piece my life together.

Admitting our struggles to another human being (to a trusted source, I mean, not the people in line at the grocery store), isn’t an easy thing to do. Yet, it’s exactly the step that leads to our healing. 

It’s also one of the greatest gifts we can give other people.

When we are real and truthful about what’s going on, we give others permission to be real and truthful, too. 

I don’t know about you, but those are the people I want to sit next to at the dinner table. 

What’s your relationship with being really real? Where in your life would being real help you feel more free?  What’s one small step you can take to make that happen?