"celosia hopes pass on" garden sign at Inniswood Metro Gardens Columbus Ohio

say what you need to say

I have a new appreciation for serendipity. Sometimes, just at the right moment, something crosses your path that you need to see, hear, or experience- even if you’re not ready for it. This morning a song came on just as I was pulling into work- Say What You Need to Say by John Mayer. We all know this song, and how annoyingly repetitive it is, but I think there’s a reason for that. He’s trying to drill a simple truth into our heads – just say what you need to say.

As I was driving I was doing what I normally do: contemplating…processing…mulling things over. But for whatever reason I wasn’t getting anywhere; my thoughts were jumbled. I felt tired. Fragmented. My emotions were stubbornly getting in the way of clarity. I had something to say, but didn’t know exactly how to say it because my heart was clouded. As I resisted the urge to change the station, and instead let the lyrics sink in for a second, I realized that one of the hardest things to do is to just say what you mean – speak your truth. “Even if your hands are shaking and your faith is broken, even as the eyes are closing, do it with a heart wide open…say what you need to say.” And suddenly something shifted in my perspective.

One of the most difficult things to do in this life is let down people we care about, which makes it incredibly tough to be completely honest at times. We skip along happily in relationships for a while, seeing only what we WANT to see. We believe that things are possible that might not make much sense; we become idealistic. And by clinging to these ideals, we lose sight of the naked truth. Our hopes lead us into situations that challenge us. We don’t want to hurt people, so we sugar coat what we really mean and tell half-truths. We dance around the real issues, avoid having potentially emotional conversations, and we go as long as possible without making any decisions that could have harsh consequences. But while doing those things might seem noble by some standards, in the long-run avoidance doesn’t serve anyone. By lacking the courage to be true to ourselves we set ourselves up to fail- and we do a disservice to the people who matter to us.

As hard as it is for me to feel anything but bittersweet this week, this is still a truth that I realize- the only way to live is to say what you need to say, and be true to your deepest, inner self…even when it’s painful. Live how you need to live. Be in the space that you’re in at any given moment in your life, and be honest about it. Letting people down is inevitable. Hurting the people we love is going to happen. And it’s going to sting for a little while, but it will get better. It always does. We inevitably move forward, grow from these experiences, and learn from each other in the process.

I respect people who are honest about where they are – people who say what they mean, even when it hurts. And in a recent situation, I regret that I wasn’t able to do that – I held onto hope. I didn’t listen to myself. I didn’t have the strength to just say what I needed to say. I didn’t speak my truth.

“You better know that in the end it’s better to say too much, than never to say what you need to say again.”

But we live and learn. We gain strength from clarity. We take a deep breath…………….and move on.

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