I’ve been thinking about something I’ve noticed in myself over the past few years. I think it might be something that’s true pretty much across the board for people. I’ve noticed that when someone says something (or writes something, or posts something) that makes me feel defensive it’s a very clear sign that I need to examine WHY I feel this way.
Oftentimes, whatever it is they’ve said is a truth within myself that I don’t want to acknowledge. It’s a part of me that maybe doesn’t make me feel the best about myself. For example, there’s a woman who writes a blog who’s a single mom who is really down on divorced moms who receive alimony and child support. (To be fair, she’s also really down on divorced dads who don’t share equal residential time with their kids.) Now, when I first started reading this woman’s blog, I got SUPER defensive and annoyed at her assertions. I mean, who the hell is SHE to make these blanket statements about divorced families and how they choose to do things? What the hell does SHE know about what my family went through? Who the hell does she think she is? I could go on and on about how pissed her ideas were making me.
But then I stopped myself midway through my mental outrage. WHY was this bugging me so much? WHY was I feeling so defensive and personally attacked? I mean, it’s a chick on the internet with her own ideas and assertions, presumably pretty much based on HER experiences. So I took a few deep breaths and allowed myself to feel uncomfortable. I allowed myself to wonder about it for a few minutes. I allowed myself to feel personally attacked. And then I asked myself if it was because what she was saying might be a little bit true.
Could it be? Could it be this woman had actually just hit a nerve with me because what she was saying was – gasp! – TRUE?! Ah, and there’s the rub. Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes the truth is the thing that makes you the most uncomfortable. Sometimes the truth is the thing that forces you to take a good, long look in the mirror and admit that maybe you need to make some changes. The truth is a little bitch like that. She hangs out in the corner of your mind until someone shines a light over there, illuminating her, and then she’s all like, “Hey, girl. It’s about time you saw me over here. What up?”
And once you’ve seen the truth, you can’t ignore her. Well, I guess you CAN, but you probably shouldn’t because she really doesn’t go anywhere until you’ve had a little chat with her and worked your shit out with her. It’s only then that she skips off outta there, making room for the next truth to take up residence.
My point here is that is if something rubs you the wrong way or makes you uncomfortable or defensive, I think that’s a pretty good sign that somewhere inside a little dark corner, your truth is waiting to be discovered. It’s not always pretty, it’s not always easy, but you know the old adage:
The truth, my dears, will set you free.