“This is going to hurt.”
Truer words could not have been spoken.
I was six years old and had just slipped and fallen backwards from the winding staircase in our block of flats. I clumsily attempted to compose myself when to my horror, I found blood trickling down the back of my head which required a hospital visit.
As I awaited the dreaded stitching process in the midst of an accident and emergency unit, one of the nurses uttered the words as she picked up the needle to commence the process.
“This is going to hurt.”
No padding, mollycoddling or sugar coating the pain. Actual facts openly expressed so I could prepare myself. She didn’t worry about protecting me from pain, she must have trusted I could handle it.
Her stance was pretty different to the rest of the nurses in the ward who were fussing around me as if I was a baby.
Forty five years later and I still remember the impact of those words.
It was the first time someone had told me an actual truth without pussyfooting, skirting around it or attempting to making it sound good. Its potency cannot be underestimated.
In a generation that kept everything under wraps, and at a time where ‘children should be seen and not heard’ we were also fed with a variety of confusing half-truths and made up stories.
Even then, I realised that my search for truth would be an overriding theme in my life.
And the nurse was right, it did hurt.
I wish she would have still been around to verbalise the same when I went through my divorce. A warning would have helped. Boy that hurt.
In a world where people are too scared to be honest, in a feeble attempt to protect the other person from pain, and to protect themselves from the aftermath of a difficult situation; it seems easier to pussyfoot around a situation than to be upfront. To please others is often more important than to please ourselves, no matter what the cost might be.
Lies and half-truths do nothing to serve anyone, instead it often has the effect of making everyone feel confused and unsettled.
Truth and honesty coupled with compassion and love is a great combination. They are the crucial ingredients needed to bake a hell of an authentic life.
The truth of who you are is the manifestation of your authentic nature once thoughts, beliefs, expectations and limitations have been peeled away. It is manifested through the words you use and the actions you take; and if you can sprinkle love over this, even better.
It is the natural source that pours out through your inner being, it doesn’t require questioning or doubt, it’s what comes forth when an emergency strikes, we are close to death, kidnapped, carjacked or in the midst of a crisis.
In those moments, we don’t maintain this false persona we’ve constructed. This is when our truth slips out effortlessly.
I was coaching a client who shared that the time when she was most authentic had been when undergoing treatment in hospital for a life-threatening condition. She had been too tired to pretend, too focused on staying alive to please others.
Once she had recovered, she became desperate to go back to who she was during those times. She compared how calm she felt then (even through illness), to her life after recovery which was constantly filled with stress and anxiety. Always mindful of saying and doing the right thing; making sure not to upset any of her friends or family.
Imagine living in a state of being aligned to your truth, reflect on how much energy this would save you.
How many more hours would you have available if you spent less time trying to do ‘the right thing’ instead of doing ‘your thing.’
Where in your life are you compromising your truth for the sake of people pleasing?
Is it in your work, marriage, family, career or friendships?
You will know which area lacks the component, as it’s where you are most triggered, and where you feel the most contention.
After publishing my book last year, I was pretty chuffed to have received great five star reviews on Amazon, I was enjoying this moment, when to my surprise, a more recent review was posted with a measly 2-star review.
So 38 five star reviews versus 1 nasty review.
Yet, the 1 review hit me like a lead balloon. I imagine my ego had taken quite a knock, as this feeling festered all day.
Until like a hypnotised victim awoken from a trance, I suddenly realised how seriously I had taken the opinion of someone who I didn’t even know. After all, they were simply sharing their truth in the same way as I had shared mine when writing the book.
I had to remind myself that my mission is not to write books or articles to please people, if that would be the case, I would be constantly censoring myself. I remember clearly what my life was like when this was so.
One big ball of fear and mountains of hesitation before doing anything creative. I refuse to live in that domain.
This review was a huge gift and I am eternally grateful to the person who posted it. It was a swift reminder of how shaky my truth became in the face of a negative review (I’m human after all), but also how in a matter of hours I was able to brush it off.
We want to please everyone, it’s great for our ego, but it’s an absolute myth, an impossibility. So let’s stop trying to.
If you were not focused on pleasing others, how would you act differently?
If you liked this article, you can read more chapters like these in my latest book ‘Look Inside: Stop Seeking Start Living’available now on Amazon.