Living with Children,  Parenting

Does the Truth Really Hurt?

Dear Children,

Speak your truth. Say it boldly. Say it with your eyes, your demeanor, and your inside voice, if necessary, but say it. Do not shrink or dull yourself because someone else feels uncomfortable in your light. That is on them. Either they need to put on sunglasses or find another spot to inhabit. This world is full of half-truths and placating relationships, neither support the optimal development of those involved.

While I encourage you to interact with others using your best judgment, which includes knowing when to talk and when to listen, when to step up and when to back down, whatever you choose, do so with your truest self.

I know you are still learning and growing. As we have discussed many times before, your brain has not even fully developed yet. You will continue to make choices and mistakes. You will inevitably look back on some of them and feel embarrassed. I am quite sure I am not done hearing, “Mom, why did you let me do that?” yet. And my answer will continue to be, you were just doing what felt true to you then.

Which leads me to this point: Truth is not some state that never changes. What may hold true for you right now will differ as you have more experiences, as you live your life and interact with the world and others. “Truth” is embedded in your emotional state and may fluctuate depending on the cirumstances. While I do believe you will formalize foundational truths in relation to your spiritual convictions, your political leanings, your career choices, and the qualities you admire in people, I do want to encourage you to go easy on yourself and others when a truth, you felt so absolutely sure of, shifts. I also want to remind you not to beat up your former self up too badly for making a decision that you now (with more life experience) think is terrible.

Hindsight may be 20-20, but foresight is practically 0-0.

As your parent, I aim to be truthful to you. Sometimes this means the truth will come with varying degrees of pain. Like when you asked me if Santa Claus was real and requested an honest answer, so I told you. Or when I talked to you about your uncle’s suicide and you moaned and wondered how someone can do that. Or like the day I looked into your curiously worried eyes to confirm your deepest knowing about your precious grandmother, “Momo died.”

So, does the truth really hurt? Yes. Sometimes it really does. Sometimes it hurts so deeply that you don’t feel like you can breathe or that you may never feel joy again. There is no avoiding this reality. But there is an upside—there is almost always an upside:

The sun is brightest after a storm.

Ride the storms of life with a confident knowing that the sun will be bright again. And also know that a path paved in YOUR truths will absolutely lead to joy and contentment again and again.

Love, Mom

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