There are times in your life when you have to hear what I like to call "hard truths." These are usually things you don't want to hear - either about you, or your job, or your friends, or your life, or whatever. But they are truths that for whatever reason, need to be said. You need to hear them.
It's never easy to hear these hard truths. Often when you hear them, you react with anger or denial because who wants to believe something unpleasant? Rarely are hard truths pleasant to hear - if they were, they wouldn't be hard. It often takes a long time to absorb what you've heard. Sometimes your denial is so firm that you won't even accept that what you have heard is a truth. Denying it only hurts yourself, but we humans rarely want to hear - or believe - the bad stuff.
When I finally found out that my cancer was Stage IV - that was a hard truth. I didn't want to believe it. After all - as soon I noticed my bloating stomach, I went to the doctor. I had the tests run. Surely it had been found early? I didn't have the run around that so many ovarian cancer patients have - fighting to find a doctor that will take their symptoms, their feeling that something wasn't right seriously. Many of them spend months or years begging health professionals to figure out what is wrong. It's no surprise that after all that time they are diagnosed at Stage III or IV. That shouldn't have been my case, but it was.
After finding out what stage my cancer was, I did what most of us do these days - I googled it. The statistics were terrifying. At that point I had to accept another hard truth - I most likely would never be "cured" of ovarian cancer. I might get to remission some day, but I would spend the rest of my most likely shortened life fighting cancer. I should start viewing it as a chronic disease because I would never be free of it.
Ouch. That sucked. That's not what's supposed to happen with cancer these days, is it? No - you're supposed to be diagnosed, have surgery/chemo, and then go into remission. After 5 years of remission, you're supposed to be cured. That's what so many of us that that haven't been diagnosed think.
Uh - no. That's not how it works for a lot of cancers. Including mine. So I had to find a way to accept another hard truth. I didn't like it - the truth or having to find a way to accept it and absorb it and to change my way of thinking - but I did it. Because that is what we do as mature adults.
I've tried to find ways to learn and grow from every hard truth I come up against. While my health issues are the hard truths I've dealt with the most lately, I've also had to do it for hard truths at work, and with my family and friends. Sometimes it just takes a little pouting, and ranting before I take a deep breath and start to get down to the business of processing this new knowledge. I've tried to teach my boys the art of accepting hard truths - they're younger, so of course it's harder for them. But I think it's important we *all* learn to hear hard truths - and to learn from them. To not just immediately discount what we're hearing because we don't like it.
You can't tell hard truths out of meaness. It has to come from sincerity - otherwise it's just being petty or hurtful. You shouldn't say a hard truth unless you truly want to help that person.
(It also helps if you wait until they ask. Blurting out a hard truth out of nowhere isn't helpful, it's hurtful. And mean. Like Wil Wheaton says - don't be a dick.)
What about you? Have you had to hear a hard truth lately? How do you find ways to deal with those truths? Have you had to share a hard truth? Am I the only one who struggles with saying what has to be said?
I've had to tell people hard truths lately. It's as hard to tell hard
truths as it is to hear them. It's not fun to tell someone something
they don't want to hear, but sometimes that truth has to be said. I hope those people take the time to really think about what they've heard.
I hope they find a way to learn and grow from it. They might. Then
again, they might stay in denial and refuse to believe what I've shared
with them. Either way - I pray for them. I hope they all know that I
don't say hard truths out of malice.
I just want us all to do better. To be better. Is that so much to ask?