Words can be terrifying
Yesterday I asked for some inspiration. It’s been a little while since I’ve written a post, and I’m really committed to staying consistent with this. I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask for a little help and you, wonderful humans, came through for me.
I am still processing the amazing, insightful comments and messages I received. So many wonderful ideas were offered, and I will certainly not be lacking for topics in the coming weeks.
Funny thing is, this post isn’t about any of them.
As the suggestions came in, I started to realize something. The things I was being asked to write about were DEEP. We’re talking about things like discovering one’s life purpose, life experiences that were most impactful for me personally, how to give fully without losing yourself...Holy crap! You all were not messing around!
As I reflected on all of this, I started getting scared. I could feel these little tendrils of doubt creating up from the base of my brain, trying to take root in my consciousness.
A question formed:
“Who am I to be speaking about these things?”
What in the world qualifies me to talk about life, and purpose, and breaking through the barriers that separate us from each other? I don’t know what I’m doing any more than the rest of you.
This whole thing just got heavy, and I’m feeling like maybe I need to go find a cave to hide in and read a good book written by someone smarter than me.
You see, putting words out there is one thing. The scary thing, the thing that sends me sideways, is the thought that maybe someone will actually listen to them. And even more terrifying, they might even take action on what I said.
That is a responsibility I do not take lightly.
Now I’m perfectly aware that what I have to say is not that big of a deal in the greater scheme of things. People tell us stuff all of the time, and most of it has no real lasting impact.
And yet we’ve all had that one thing hit us just right and change everything. Maybe it came from a book, or a song, or a friend. Maybe it was just said in passing. Maybe it was a very wise, intentioned, and heartfelt insight shared at just the right time.
However it arrives, it’s like a bomb detonating in our heads, and it resonates for years, possibly for the rest of our lives. Ever have someone say “I remember it like it was yesterday....”. What follows is something that dove deep into those places where our true self lives, and it shook things up in some profound, foundational way.
I kept thinking about the trust that was being placed in my hands. What if I say something with the best of intentions, and in my ignorance, cause harm? I don’t know what I don’t know, and there is A LOT stacked up in my I Don’t Know category.
Yet here I am writing this, so it is safe for you to assume that I resolved this well enough to carry on.
As my strange brain manufactured various characters to ponder and debate with each other, and various feeling rose up and did battle in an attempt to a establish dominance, a thought bubbled up from the chaos:
It’s about trust in all directions. Huh.
I started banging the gavel in in my head and calling for order so that I could chase this thought around. Here’s what was revealed:
First, I have to trust myself. I have to trust that I’m speaking my truth as best I can for the right reasons. I do need to make sure that I leave space for the fact that I have ignorance, and blind spots, and that I am basing my understanding on incomplete information. I also have to trust the fact that I have earned a level of wisdom through discipline, study, introspection, objective observation, and experience.
Second, I have to trust the process of learning, applying, receiving feedback, recalibrating, and repeating. As long as the process of learning and sharing continues to be exactly that...a process...I should be ok sharing what I’ve learned and the insights that have been won over time.
Third, and most important, I trust you. I trust you to know your own process. I trust you to ask questions, and have a healthy skepticism, while also remaining open to new ways of thinking. I also trust that if what I say conflicts with your current view of your reality, you’ll just filter it out. It won’t get in.
Ever read a book, and then read it again years later and it’s like a completely different book? The book didn’t change. You did. Your view, your filters, and your life let different things in.
In the end, I think it’s important that we responsibly, and respectfully, share our truth.
I know I’m really interested in what you have to say. If I’m not ready to hear it, or disagree, that’s on me. Please try not to take it personally. Think of it like ice cream. We all have different favorite flavors. There’s something for everyone, and also a whole lot of difference in opinion. Incredibly, there are even people who just don’t like ice cream at all. That’s ok.
My dream for you today is that you share your voice in a mindful way. That you find the bravery to put yourself out there knowing that you will be challenged, and that you may be wrong.
May you build trust brick by brick by being open, and curious, and kind even when it is so very difficult to do so. May you find a tribe that cares enough about you that they will ask you genuine questions, and listen to your answers. May you then do the same in return, creating an upward communication spiral that leads to enthusiastic debate and breakthroughs in understanding and perspective.
We all have a song to sing, and not everyone will like our lyrics or the way our voice sounds. Sing anyway. The song is less important than the act of singing. The world always has room for more music.
I think we also might want to consider where our song is coming from. Is your song coming from a place of anger, and fear, and hate? If you flip that coin over, what’s the song on the other side? What does your song look like when it flows from love, and faith, and hope?
I am so grateful for your support and trust. It means the world to me.
I’m going to keep writing, even when it gets hard.
You’re worth it :)