The benefit of belief


In the time I spend in silence, because I’m convinced rejection is waiting on the other side of my honesty.


In the things people say like “You always seem to have it all together” or “it’s hard to imagine someone like you having any problems” (yes I’ve heard those words).


We talk all the time as writers of the importance of being honest. Whether we’re telling our story or someone else’s, we tell ourselves that if we just speak the truth, people will respond. I heard an author I greatly respect say recently that if you talk honestly about your pain, people will believe you.


Yet the drumbeat of that lie still pounds in my mind.


I share all this because I’m guessing I’m not alone. I think many of us struggle to find our voice, because we are convinced no one will believe us. And maybe sometimes WE don’t even believe us.


Why is that? I’m trying to figure that out. I think it’s possible that living in a “post-truth” culture has some undesirable consequences…like bringing out the skeptic and cynic in many of us. We are ever-suspicious of everyone and everything. When so much seems is inauthentic, we have no choice but to place everything on the judgment seat and examine it for authenticity. The problem is when we’re thrown in the hot seat. The pressure to perform squeezes in like a constrictor around the neck and chokes out any chance we had to be authentic.


If that’s true, maybe we could be a little more gentle with each other. Exercise our suspicion before we think the worst of someone. Cast doubt on our certainty of someone’s motives.Be a little more skeptical of our skepticism.


And when someone shares their pain, maybe we could give them the benefit of our belief. Assume the best in them. Understand there’s always, always more below the surface that we don’t see. We have no earthly idea.


And…EVEN IF our culture never gets good at any of these things, maybe we should just go ahead and speak anyway.


Why is that? I’m trying to figure that out. I think it’s possible that living in a “post-truth” culture has some undesirable consequences…like bringing out the skeptic and cynic in many of us. We are ever-suspicious of everyone and everything. When so much seems is inauthentic, we have no choice but to place everything on the judgment seat and examine it for authenticity. The problem is when we’re thrown in the hot seat. The pressure to perform squeezes in like a constrictor around the neck and chokes out any chance we had to be authentic.

If that’s true, maybe we could be a little more gentle with each other. Exercise our suspicion before we think the worst of someone. Cast doubt on our certainty of someone’s motives.Be a little more skeptical of our skepticism.


And when someone shares their pain, maybe we could give them the benefit of our belief. Assume the best in them. Understand there’s always, always more below the surface that we don’t see. We have no earthly idea.


And…EVEN IF our culture never gets good at any of these things, maybe we should just go ahead and speak anyway.

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