Galileo said, "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered: the point is to discover them." This sounds simple, but it's actually anything but. Discovering truth takes honesty and guts and perseverance. It doesn't happen overnight; it's a slow and messy process which makes you want to quit every moment of every day, but when the truth settles quietly in your spirit, you know there is no substitute, and it encourages you to keep searching.
My journey from fake to real has been eye-opening at every twist and turn. I didn't see myself as pretending before, but when true comes along and dislodges pretend, there is no question that one is better than the other. Discovering truth about myself has freed me up to be who I am in this world without apologizing. I worry much less now about what others think of me, for I can't control that, but I can be my true self at all times.
It's not easy to be honest. I felt much safer when I was hiding deep inside myself, and behaving the way I thought others wanted me to. But with that method I never really knew if I was hitting the mark or missing it, and now I know that if I'm being true to who I am, it's enough. I don't need to do any more. I will still fail, and I have, quite spectacularly, but that's what the words, "I'm sorry" are for. I'm not sorry for who I am, but I can own my actions and try to make restitution when I have hurt someone else.
I'm learning that this is a long process, and there is no time limit on anything. I don't have a lot of patience by nature, and so this is a tough curve for me to master. Relationships can't be fixed as quickly as I would like. It takes at least two people to exist in relationship, and when someone needs time, we have to wait it out. There are actually worse things than broken relationships, and when they are broken temporarily, they may be on their way to something better in the future.
Boundaries are the key. I didn't understand the need for boundaries before, but they are the combination to the lock of uncovering who you really are, and holding fast when you are under attack. Boundaries might be uncomfortable for other people, but they offer permission to us when we feel lost and unsure of what we are doing. They protect and reassure, as long as we allow them to do their work and don't cave under pressure to go back to our old ways of coping.
Understanding truth becomes easier when we recognize that it's all about context. We must have a context for what we learn so that it makes sense to us. Living it out is much easier than striving to understand it on a mental level but not practicing it in any external way. Congruence is matching up who we are with what we say and do. Talk is cheap, but action is everything, and I want my actions to match up to what I believe and say.
Putting ourselves in a place where we know who we are means we can assimilate truth much easier. Looking under the moldy rug of my own heart has been horrifying, but taught me more about being honest than anything else has to this point. And crafting my personal and relationship boundaries and reading them, again and again, every single day, has helped to shore up my confidence in myself, and stay on a solid road when I'm tempted to duck and hide.
I want to keep going on this journey, even when I look down and see all of the cuts and bruises I have sustained, and consider all of the hurts I have unwittingly or intentionally inflicted on others. Real is true and genuine and messy, and pretend can't stand up against it. Truth is out there to be discovered, understood, and lived out, and I want to find more of it, every day I'm alive, and leave this earth with my hands firmly around as much truth as I can.