Each and every time I feel like I've been punched in the stomach, I have realized that this unique kind of pain is when I recognize that it is the truth of my actions have been hurled back at me. When my heart is hurt before my head has had the chance to figure things out, I know that I have just heard the truth.
I remember sitting across the table from my husband one time when he told me how my actions hurt him. There was a lot of pain inflicted within that marriage but I believe the time that I hurt the most was when he painted a picture with words. I felt what he felt as a direct result of my actions.
I learned to be very critical of myself within a relationship. I became the master of putting myself down first so that no one could beat me to the punch. I was a little bit proud of the fact that I did not feel hurt when my inadequacies were hurled back at me decades later. No one could possibly be harder on me, than I was on myself. I held my head high and carried on.
Yet what was the reason that another being felt compelled to inflict this pain? Because they were hurting themselves. Other conversations revealed that truth. The truth was (once again) that my words and actions hurt another person. Now that stung.
Job performance is another arena that is open for discussion. No one is perfect. You don't grow and learn without making mistakes. It was the one-the-spot discussions or a conversation 'in general', when I recognized that it was my actions had prompted this need for clarity that struck me hardest.
Whether it is within my writing, bookkeeping or tending to the children in my care I know I have short comings and if someone calls me on it before I've remedied it, I recognize the truth when I hear it.
When it comes to matters of the heart and home it is the hardest of all. "You always hurt the ones you love" (the ones you shouldn't hurt at all). We censor our thoughts and words carefully within this world of strangers ... yet it is when we are in the company of the people that we love the most, that we let our words fall off our tongue carelessly.
Life loves to hand out learning opportunities. Kind of a one-two sucker punch at times. A heartfelt compliment from a stranger on one hand. A simple statement from a loved one starting with the words "I feel _____" as a direct or indirect result of my actions on the other hand. A few words have the ability to hold great impact. Good or bad.
"Constructive criticism welcome here" is the motto I attempt to live by. I welcome comments and criticism that help me become better at what I do. But there is something about hearing the truth. It stings a little when you know what you hear is right.
That sting of the truth gives us an opportunity. A chance to right a wrong or work at making a change within. The truth may hurt but it is better than not knowing at all.
"The truth hurts for a little while, but lies hurt forever."
- Eileen Parra