God has blessed me with an unexpected, but yet very valuable friend. I must say, I love my new friend. When I met her, I picked up immediately that we had things in common. We both find the same things funny, we both share an affinity because of our faith in God, but that’s not what sealed our friendship for me. I first considered her friend after a moment some might think odd – the day she told me an inconvenient truth.
Till this day, I cannot imagine how she found the courage to tell me this valuable truth, which was extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient – certainly uncomfortable for me to hear, but even more uncomfortable for her to tell it to me! I have mentally tried putting myself in her shoes, and for now I pray that I am never in her position, because it would require a great amount of courage to help another friend as she helped me.
That’s when and why she won me over. When she had the choice to act in her best interest or mine, she chose to act in mine. She placed me above herself. I am sure all sorts of thoughts went through her mind before she spoke to me, would I accept it, would I judge her for telling me the truth, would I be angry and avoid her from then on, but even so, her desire to help me prevailed.
Truth! I’m sure we all agree that it is good, that it is a worthy quality to possess and that it is something we should embrace. Yet, we tend to run away from it every chance we get. I am talking about the inconvenient truth, of course. From early on we teach our children that they should avoid it at all cost. Come on fathers and mothers, admit it! How often have you scolded your children for dropping lines like, ‘Mommy, Aunt Sally’s breath smells really bad!’ ‘Uncle Joe is really fat!’? Instead of agreeing with them and then proceeding to teach them a lesson about tact, you immediately scold them and tell them not to say such ‘horrible’ things, even though you know that what they are saying is true. Then your children learn that it’s best to lie when it comes to truths that are inconvenient.
Moreover, they carry these lessons into adulthood. Lying then becomes more ‘correct’ than telling the truth. They’d rather lie to their hairdresser than admit that they hated the hairstyle she came up with. They’d rather keep quiet than admit that they saw who stole the boss’ wallet. They’d rather keep lying to their wives than admit that they have gained weight and that it bothers them. They’d rather cheat on their spouse than face the truth and sort out the problem that exists between them.
But, that’s not the biggest problem that comes with this lesson we teach our children. The biggest problem is that we teach our children that hearing the truth is ‘horrible’. We raise adults that are too sensitive and opposed to the truth. Certainly the thing that makes the truth so hard to tell is the reactions people have to hearing it. They blow up and become angry. They withdraw and sometimes refuse to speak to the person again. They judge, they act offended. They cannot find it in themselves to accept it.
Next time someone comes to tell you something truthful but inconvenient, rather than reject it and be quick to be angry at them for telling you the truth, so you can feel good about yourself, put yourself in their position and appreciate what they had to go through to be able to tell you that truth. At the very least, you might respect them for it and aspire to do the same. Or, if you are really blessed like I was, you might end up with a valuable friend.
I dedicate this blog to my new found friend, Viviane Freitas, a woman of great courage, a woman I admire greatly, a woman I call friend. Friend, I love you!