Monday’s Meditation: On Telling The Hard Truth At The Right Time

Monday, March 12, 2018

telling the hard truth at the right time is the key.

A close relative of mine married an incredibly unstable individual. There were red flags all along: constant arguments, disrespectful communication that may, at times, have bordered on verbal abuse. It was evident to pretty much everyone (besides my relative) that this girl might not have been the best pick.

Predictably, the relationship soured beyond the point of repair. A couple of years and a toddler later, the marriage ended in divorce and a heavily contentious custody battle. 

When I spoke to my relative in the aftermath, he asked me something I wasn’t at all prepared to answer: “Did you think she was crazy before we got married?”

My heart sank. I felt horrible. Like a coward. Like I had betrayed him.

My having said something at the time likely would not have changed anything. Each of us ultimately does as we wish. He choose her for a myriad of reasons.

Still, his question made me feel as though I had willingly allowed him to stay in the dark. 

There’s a fine line between unsolicited advice (ugh) and saying the hard, necessary thing. It isn’t our job or right to choose for others, or to believe we know what’s best for them. Sometimes the most loving thing is to let our loved ones make the mistakes they may, since they, themselves, know the lessons they need to learn.

It’s hard to see ourselves clearly. We’re so wrapped up in keeping ourselves afloat, in surviving, in worrying about what other people think, and in proving our subconsciouses right that true objectivity often evades us. 

Since our selves and our lives are solely our responsibility, we each must continually do the work to un-cloud our vision, to abandon the desire to delude ourselves, and to choose better for ourselves going forward. Yet, as outsiders, we can be more easily disposed to clarity of perspective.

But no one wants to bare bad news. Most people do not enjoy sticking their nose in where it hasn’t been expressly invited. And so we keep quiet, and smile on.

In the end, it is a matter of timing (isn’t everything?). A person will not hear what they aren’t prepared to absorb.

Said prematurely, or without invitation, the hard truth can fall on deaf, (though no less offended!) ears. 

But when the moment arrives, when the space has been created for us, as outsiders, to share our perspective, we owe it to each other to speak honestly. Never with the intention to judge, scold, or assign retroactive blame or shame, but with the simple aim of sharing what we’ve observed. 

 

3 thoughts on “Monday’s Meditation: On Telling The Hard Truth At The Right Time

  1. Bev

    so true. Sometimes when you want to tell someone something important, you have to wait for them to be able and willing to hear it.

    Reply
  2. Kim

    This resonates in a different way for me. I tried to quietly “slip away” from a toxic friendship. She would not let me go. Out of character for me, I then made the decision to tell her why I was trying to distance myself. That I disliked the power imbalance & control she tried to maintain over me. I let her know this friendship made me uncomfortable.
    She was deeply offended, but it was my truth and I was as gentle as I could be. I would have not done this if she had taken my social detachment cues. There was never an apology on her part nor an attempt to understand it. I apologised for having to say these things out loud. I was gentle and knew it was hard to hear.
    Years later, each time we are in the same social setting, I try to be as plesant and cordial as I would to any other soul. She acts like I don’t even exist. Like I am invisible. No cordial nod, no eye contact and active aversion. She may feel I deserve this treatment or is herself too uncomfortable to be forced to be near me. This is also uncomfortable for me. But not as much as allowing her to treat me in the ways she did.

    Reply
  3. Daisy

    This is true. My closest friends are the ones who tell me hard truths at the time I need to hear it. Ultimately, I’m grateful to them for it.

    Reply

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