I love this quote from Jon Acuff, or more accurately, Jon Acuff’s dad: “Make sure you surround yourself with people who aren’t dependent on you for their income. You need someone telling you hard truths.”
A few times over the last several weeks I’ve circled back with someone who asked me a hard question or told me something I didn’t necessarily want to hear. I went back to them, reminded them specifically what they said, and asked them to continue doing that for me. I have a strong, out there personality and even though in my mind I’m friendly and warm and loving, I know that isn’t how I’m often perceived. I know that because I’m a challenger by nature, I come across in a way that may seem arrogant or insistent that I’m right. It’s hard to find people who will risk asking me to think about something again, or flat out tell me that I’m not right. It’s hard to find them, but the ones I’ve found have been invited and encouraged to continue doing that for me because I know I need it.
My mentor/friend has been doing this for me for years, and some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten has come from him. Life-changing, life-steering advice, happiness-finding advice. Sometimes I just want to vent, and I have friends who will just listen. Sometimes I want to have my feelings validated, and I have friends who are eager to tell me they understand and my feelings are justified. But then sometimes after I vented, and after I’ve been validated, I continue to wallow in big feelings that linger in unhealthy ways. That’s when I go to my hard-truth-telling mentor/friend, and most often he replies with:
“Get your emotions in line with reality.”
The first few times he told me this, I certainly didn’t appreciate it. But the more honest I could be with myself, the more I knew he was exactly right. I grew to become thankful for his boldness because it always came with a heap of love and a mountain of truth. He is quick to reply to my whining with something like, “So you’re upset about X. Fine. But the reality is that you have so many huge blessings in your life, you’re living your life as a blessing to others, and your kids are reaping the benefits of your hard work to create a happy, healthy home life for them, benefits that will last for many years to come. So you don’t have X. You’re right. But look at what you do have. Get your emotions in line with THAT reality.”
Maybe it’s a little bit like my #findtheawesome. Maybe it’s looking for the silver lining. I know that I live a crazy-blessed life, but sometimes I can’t find the awesome without someone reminding me. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t there; it just means that I need people in my life who will love me enough to help me see that big feelings aren’t always indicative of what is actually happening around me. I still like to vent, and I still LOVE to be validated. But I think that the wiser I get, the less time I spend venting and seeking validation and the quicker I move towards friends who can remind me of reality. A reality where my way of doing something isn’t the ONLY way to do it. Or a reality where I’m spending too much time worrying about something that may never even happen and need to be told to stop. I love my friends who can help me see these realities when I can’t get out of my own headspace long enough to see it for myself.
I love it when my friends push through the awkward to tell me the hard truths.