Coming back from my Europe adventure, I have some stories I’m going to save for another time. Right now I’d like to share with you some things that were made very clear to me whilst looking out at the Eiffel Tower and walking down the icy snow-covered streets of Berlin. It’s about honesty, trust, and my commitment.
I always thought I knew what these things meant. I wonder if I ever truly did before now. I know I was raised to understand them, but I recognize and acknowledge that in the heat of a moment I can have a hard time putting them into practice. If they don’t line up with what I want in that moment I can lose sight of them until the moment’s come and gone and it’s too late to make the right choice. This has led to a lot of pain and a lot of loss, and as I shuffled through the cold streets of a world that’s seen so much, I started to understand. And now thinking about it and looking at the world around me, I see it everywhere.
We live in a world of updates. We update the world on the most pointless and insignificant moments of our lives over Facebook. We meet old friends whom we haven’t talked to in 13 months or even 13 days for coffee dates to spill about what they’ve missed out on in our lives. Some people give general statements, some give every detail. One thing that’s fairly universal is that everyone asks. They say, “Spill,” and sit on the edge of their chair with their arms on the table, eyes glued intently to yours. Well, guess what? It’s nobody’s business. It’s nobody’s business what you’ve been going through. If you want to spill your guts, go right ahead, that’s your prerogative, but be careful. Our paths intersect with the paths of others, our stories have other characters, and the stories you want to share – wether they’re good and you’re excited, or they’re bad and you’re venting – involve other people. It isn’t just your story. It’s between you and them and a lot of things should stay that way.
There’s a plethora of reasons we’ve fallen into this cycle of updates. We talk because we want validation, we want attention, we want advice or comfort, we’re upset or angry, we have to release a burden, or we get really excited and want to shout it from the top of the world because it makes us so happy. Over the course of my life I’ve been guilty of all of these. Something I now know about myself…when I’m at an emotional extreme, I have a big mouth. If I’m really upset or angry I will cry and blabber about it. If I’m super excited about something that’s really special to me, I just can’t stop talking about it because it’s all I can think about. My filter shuts off. I’m also blessed with a lot of people I can confide in, but that doesn’t mean I have to confide in them about everything, or anything for that matter. Because of this, I’ve shared things that weren’t for me to share. I’ve been discovering all these things about me, and I’ve been learning them the hard way.
We all have our reasons for cracking at a moment of heightened emotion, but that doesn’t make it justifiable. If something is entrusted to you, whether it’s something shared in confidence or it’s an occurrence where it may be unspoken but the knowledge of it is certainly put in your care, be careful with it. Take that seriously. Trust is an easy thing to break and a hard thing to fix.
Jumping off of that, honesty and trust go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Most people think little white lies are ok now and then, because they’re not hurting anybody. That may be so, but it still puts a little wedge of dishonesty in your heart. A lot of the time it is hard to tell the truth, and it can be scary. But your relationship with that person will be better off for it. If they’re meant to be in your life you’ll be able to work through whatever that painful truth might be. But once you lie about it that trust is gone. If you have a lie uncovered and get a second chance, please, just promise me you won’t blow it. It’s a special gift we don’t often get.
That being said, find other things to talk about on your coffee or lunch dates. School, work, and relationships. Those seem to be the three most common categories for discussion. Some just like the gossip. Some genuinely aren’t interested in anything else, and some are unintelligent or not opinionated enough to talk about anything outside of this shallow pool of conversation. Talk about music, talk about politics, talk about your goals or share amusing tales of your adventures. Heck, talk about your favorite season of Dragon Ball Z or how you wish you lived in Skyrim if that switches things up! Just add some versatility and don’t feel obligated to tell anyone anything.
What did I find in Paris? I found hard realizations about life and about myself. I found a sort of truth that I’ve been missing. And I finally found a motivation that I have been lacking.
With all of this and so much more going through my head, I am making a commitment to myself. A commitment to mending relationships and strengthening others, to being a kind stranger and an honest and trustworthy friend. A commitment to following through with plans, both made with others and made for myself. To hold myself accountable and not be so shortsighted. To look forward into the future that I can create. These words sound shallow even to my ears, because words mean nothing if they’re not backed up. Change is hard. It will take time and persistence, and I will fail now and again, but this is a commitment I am making to myself, and in the process I will carry it through to the people in my life and to new faces I cross paths with.