I don’t think I’m the only person who sometimes finds a recurring theme, thought, idea, or word arise in my life. I find it interesting that whenever recurring words come forward, I’m reminded at the same time of those points at which I’ve written about them before, only the difference is that with each progressive pass, further depths are revealed. So rather than staying at the surface of perhaps 3 feet of depth, I went to 30, and now I feel I’m somewhere closer to 30,000 feet deep on this one particular idea:
Thinking on braving rejection coupled with the beautiful lies we tell to the world, it’s essential that we honestly embrace but not judge ourselves for the fact that at times our choices put us in places or with people that are not where we are meant to be or who we are meant to be with, yet if we choose we may be brave enough to change where we are, who we are with, and, truthfully, who we are.
I’ve said so many times that I would rather have an ugly truth than a beautiful lie that my friends refer to it as one of my Gwenisms. Beautiful lies are the tapestries we weave with the threads of our lives to paint a picture of perfection for the world to see. We all like to think that we are just putting our best foot forward, but there’s a difference between making sure your teeth are brushed, your face is clean, you’re wearing clean and tidy clothing, and you have a smile on your face when you leave the house (best foot forward) and projecting an inaccurate and carefully edited version of your life to the world ~
That inaccurate and carefully edited picture you put up may be beautiful, but it is a lie.
Certainly there are people who will look at the carefully airbrushed version of your life and will accept it at its face value. We are socially conditioned ~ in a way that is counter to our instinctual selves ~ to want to see the best in others and in the world. It is easier for us to pass judgments on simple and straightforward situations than it is for us to muck about in the dirt and grime of reality. Why would we want to know about something unhappy or unhealthy happening behind closed doors if we don’t have to? If it doesn’t enrich us and doesn’t help us to be happy, we accept the airbrushed versions of the lives of those around us.
When people we know seemingly suddenly get divorced, we can be happy to blame one party or the other while claiming to never have seen it coming because they were the perfect couple or had the perfect family.
When someone commits suicide, we can so much more easily shirk responsibility for caring for our fellow man by saying that they never called us and that we had no way of knowing how bad things really were because they always seemed so happy and like they were coping well.
When some horrible news hits about a murder-suicide, we can shake our heads sadly at the tragic loss of life, saying no one knew, and we can conveniently blame the victims for not getting out of that situation because it is easier to blame the victim for staying in such a deplorable place than to open our eyes to the truth and help them to get free.
These are all horribly tragic examples, but the tragedy of living a beautiful lie isn’t limited to just these bigger things and there are people who see the truth of us despite all our attempts to hide it.
Those who see past the airbrushing see through our convincing lies. They see it because they’ve lived it personally or walked with someone who has, they see it in your eyes, they see it because they recognize the feelings you’re wrestling with as they themselves try to decide whether to take that leap of faith too. They see through all the glamor you throw up to the truth behind your words and all the strength and perfection you try to portray rather than letting your vulnerability show because they too yearn to take that chance and brave the rejection of those around them for speaking their truth.
The tragedy of living a beautiful lie is that you never fulfill your purpose, reach your full potential, or find yourself coupled with the person for whom your soul yearns.
Within that beautiful lie ~
That relationship that is a toxic cocktail with someone you do not love, even if you once did,
That abusive situation, whether it is at home or at work,
That perfectly successful career that you feel destroys your spirit bit by bit,
That unfulfilled dream ~
It is easier to accept what is broken and continue to live in that lie than it is to brave the rejection of those around you
~ friends, family, spouse, children, coworkers, mentors, peers ~
when you show them the ugly, unrepentant, unhealthy, unhappy truth of where you really are.
As human beings, we seek to fulfill a paradigm that exudes strength and perfection. Anything that breaks apart the picture of strength or perfection is that which we naturally avoid and that which we seek to gloss over and airbrush within the beautiful lie we present to the world. It doesn’t matter what the source is, when we feel that our strength is being called into question or our imperfection is showing, we become versions of ourselves that aside from being inauthentic are unhealthy for ourselves but also for those we are in relationships with and for the situations we are in. That vulnerability we feel in being less than strong and less than perfect and our feeble attempts to hide it together breed toxicity that at some point will become more than what we are able to overcome within a relationship or situation and more than what we are able to hide from the world.
Not to put to fine a Jedi point on this, but when we are afraid to let our vulnerabilities show, our imperfect strength, and when we choose to only let the world see our beautiful lies, we are on the path to the dark side:
Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to suffering.
When we cross each of these thresholds, we go further and further from where we really want to be as human beings. We get farther from happiness, peace, and joy. Our health suffers whether or not that becomes painfully visible. Our relationships suffer and die, even with those we once loved. We lose those we care for and we find ourselves unable to find happiness in our day to day living.
So what do we do when we find ourselves heading down that path?
Most of us continue to airbrush the imperfections away from what we are projecting outward so that when tragedy strikes everyone will be able to say they never saw it coming.
We must, for our own health and well-being, learn to live with empathy for others and most especially for ourselves when we discover that our choices, our relationships, and our situations do not make us appear strong or perfect.
We must learn to be honest with ourselves, if no one else, about where we are in our lives so that we can choose to make a change from that which is toxic to our health, our humanity, our spirits, and our longevity:
If a relationship or situation can be redeemed through your honest effort and the efforts of Others within it, let it be redeemed.
But if it cannot be redeemed or if the Others are unwilling or unable to make positive change to bring things back to healthy balance and out of toxicity, let it go. Stop holding up the facade of the beautiful lie.
When you finally let it go, you will finally be free to pursue that for which your soul burns.
Originally published 19 August 2018.