Recently, as I was wrestling with a conundrum on which I just couldn’t quite get a secure handle, I sent an email to a friend who lives far from here – they’re not a member of my family and have no connection to UUCC. I opened with, “I need an honest reality check from someone who knows me well and won’t worry about my feelings or give me any bullsh*t.”
I didn’t entirely love the response I received. I felt my arguing brain kick quickly into gear – “What about this point here? Aren’t I right about that?!”
But, in what I think of as a moment of grace, I was able to pause and really sit with what my friend had written. They did, after all, respond as I had asked – honestly, and without worrying that I was too delicate to receive their unfiltered assessment – and they challenged me to reconsider my perception of the conundrummy situation.
They also were vulnerable and trusting in telling me that my perspective was painful for them to hear. I have a healthier and more nuanced understanding of this situation because they were able and willing to step into a place of messy trust with me.
I tell you this story not to pat myself on the back – I certainly mess up my fair share of interactions (though fewer than I used to, perhaps) because I can’t get out of my own way – but rather as a reminder that being vulnerable and trusting has the potential to be super-risky, but also to be meaningful and rewarding. I don’t want to give up on meaning-making merely because it’s hard.
I tell you this story also because, upon reflection, I realize how often you have stepped into places of messy trust with me, too – and how much healthier and more nuanced is my understanding of the world, and of my own life, because of that messy trust.
Thank you, my trusted community.
Paige, thank you very much for sharing the story of your recent conundrum, and how you (bravely, I think!) stuck your neck out and asked someone you knew for a reality check. I’ve had a similarly perplexing experience recently that involved a family member and a young adult , and which involved hurt feelings. Your handling of your own situation gives me a model to follow and some hope of trying to reconcile it. —
Paige Getty (Author)
Thank you, Janis, for sharing this response. I’m so glad the experience resonated with you!