The Unedited TruthAug 04, 2019
Photograph by Stacy Kaufman, Show & Tell Photography
Feelings, unlike letters, can’t be edited. How trying to ‘un-edit’ your next confrontation can be a powerful game-changer.
Are you being true to yourself?
We spend a lot of time trying to make things ‘better’. We edit our photos with filters, only post the pretty ones — and in essence put forth a half-truth, part of the story. This version of ‘better’ is in a way something that we mold to conform to how we think others want us to show up. In essence, we perfect imperfection (or so we think).
But I’ve been contemplating this notion that not everything should be edited — like feelings. It’s always been hard for me to express myself — and something tells me I’m not alone. We have to feel safe to say what we mean, but instead, many of us feel like the rug will be pulled from beneath us, people will abandon us, things will fall apart.
Let’s face it…if that’s the case…they probably should.
I’m working so hard on this. As I’ve traveled through my own emotional healing process I’ve finally begun to realize that feelings aren’t grammatically correct or Instagram-ready. Instead, they are raw, vulnerable, ugly-cry-face real.
Up until just recently, I would run through a whole process when I felt confronted and needed to express something. In essence, my response would be thought out, written, edited, polished, sprinkled with sugar, run past a friend or two…and pretty watered down from where I started.
Sure, we want to think before we speak and not let every thought fall from our lips, but there is an ocean between point A and point B (at least in my experience).
But when we go through that ‘editing’ process, we abandon some part of ourselves. When we are more worried about polishing our feelings than feeling them — they speak partially to our emotions, they abandon self.
It’s why we wake up in the middle of the night after tossing and turning. It’s why we hold onto resentment and bitterness. It’s why we have to learn to do it differently.
I was reminded of this in the middle of the night recently when I awoke with a heavy heart and a racing mind. Honestly, I was mad; probably mad at not only a certain individual, but myself too. After many attempts to convey my needs, after ‘playing nice’, sweetening my communication in an effort to not hurt another’s feelings — I realized I simply wasn’t protecting my own and nothing was getting resolved. It became a vicious circle.
So I did something I never have before. I got up from my bed in the middle of the night and began to write a letter. I purged my raw feelings.
It wasn’t prose or spell-check approved. It wasn’t long and overdrawn. It wasn’t sugar-coated to soften the blow or make anyone feel better. It was pure expression…and it felt incredibly empowering.
But what was even more empowering is that I sent it off…just as is, unfinished, unedited, unrefined…because the things that emerged on that paper were things that needed to be said. They were my feelings and an expression of my needs.
It was a huge deal for me. It made me think how much time is spent circumnavigating the truth. And though this particular incident was a highly charged issue with many layers — the same applies to even the seemingly most mundane encounters.
We could spare ourselves a lot of energy if we practiced telling the truth, if we refrained from all the editing and harboring — and just learned to say what we mean. Truth is compassionate and kind.
Maybe this is why I named my daughter ‘True’ — she is certainly lightyears ahead of me in this department. I’m learning much about speaking my truth from her. Aaaah, out of the mouths of babes.
Don’t be afraid to speak yours.
There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask, "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?
~ Erin Hanson