Wow, this hit me hard on my walk this morning. I was listening to Cheryl Strayed on the
“We Can Do Hard Things” podcast with Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach and Amanda
Doyle. If you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, please give it a try, they have
fascinating guests, know how to ask the hard questions, are filled with empathy and
love and are incredibly educational and entertaining.
Anyway, on this episode with Cheryl Strayed, she talks about her current TV show – Tiny Beautiful Things and how she became the writer for an advice column called “Dear Sugar”. (She’s written and published several best sellers, including Wild: From Lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough.)
Here’s Glennon on the podcast: “I will never forget your line from the book. The worst
thing for us is believing that a lie will keep us safe, and truth is where the danger lies.
We hide from acknowledging what we know is true, because we think if we stay on this
side of acknowledging it, we’re going to somehow be safe, but we’re never safe there.”
And here’s Cheryl’s response: “Absolutely. I know all of us have lived that, and also
lived on the other side to be like, I’m not going to say this thing or do this thing or make
this move, because it feels risky. It feels like I’ll be endangering myself. And then the
journey we all went on as we learned that that was the lie, that actually when you bring
things into the light, when you speak your truth, when you live out what you know is the
right way, that puts you in the safer zone, because then you’re aligned. The most painful
thing is to be misaligned, to have your life out here, be different from your life in here.”
There it is in a nutshell. Truth and honesty lead to living your best, aligning with who
you are. That’s the safe zone. But too often it seems easier to live the lie. To be who
everyone wants or needs you to be. To do the grueling 9:00 – 5:00 job because you
need the paycheck, even when it’s sucking the life out of you. Act like you like your
mother-in-law when you don’t. Agree to bring goodies to the next class outing, even
when it’s going to be very difficult for you to do so. But it’s so much easier, you think, to
do these things because they are the “right” things to do. Yet, saying yes to something
that’s not aligned with who you are is indeed torture. Death by a thousand cuts.
Here’s the thing, it’s absolutely delicious to live by the truth. Here’s my story. I was in a
leadership position at a large organization and had wanted to be promoted to the next
rung – where there was an opening due to my boss moving to another division.
However, the powers that be did not see me as “ambitious” enough or qualified, I suppose.
You can imagine how deeply upset I was to be passed over. So upset I scheduled a
call with my Life Coach, I needed to figure out how to move past the disappointment.
It was in that conversation, where my coach was leading me to get in touch with the
feelings in my body, to identify the pain and where it was located that I had an epiphany.
I was talking about both the pain and about the people responsible for me not getting
the job when I spurted out loud “I don’t even want that job”. We both laughed
hysterically. Because in that moment, and from that moment, I knew I was upset
about something I didn’t even want for myself. The truth set me free. And from then on
out, I was fine. Deep in my soul, I knew I didn’t want it, and I suppose it was my ego or better yet, a lie that had me believing I actually wanted it.
That’s just one story of discovering the truth and how light and liberating it can be once
you recognize it. And I believe that it is when you find yourself feeling light and
liberated, you’re operating from the truth – as Cheryl says, you’re in alignment. It’s
when you’re in pain and suffering that you’re opting to hide from the truth or believe a lie
and living misaligned. And here’s the thing, you always know what’s right for you…..just
listen to the quiet voice inside, it’s got your back.