Truth, Kindness, and Trust-Letters to My Daughter

My Luv,

There is no truth, only perception.

A truth not based in fact is merely a story we tell ourselves. The fault in the stories we tell ourselves and others is that every story has at least two sides and the vast majority of the time we only hear or tell one of those sides. Each side of a story is only a half truth and as the old Yiddish saying goes, “A half truth is a whole lie.”

There are varied perceptions of truth and then there are facts. People use fact as a synonym for truth but they rarely use the same yard stick to measure truth as they do to measure facts.

You cannot be truthful without facts, but you can always be honest. Honesty is the act of telling your personal truth. But, before we can be honest in telling our truth, we have to ask ourselves, “Is this true?” Is whatever you are about to say, true? How do we discern if something is true? Through facts not feelings. If we have a feeling about an experience, that alone does not equate a truth. Feelings are not facts.

Therefore, when we tell someone that we are going to be honest with them, and our honesty is not based on factual findings, we should do so with the awareness that what we are about to say could be false and it could also be hurtful. If you want to be honest with someone, do so with the humility that you could be wrong and with the kindness that you are taking their feelings into consideration, not just your own.

There is no truth without kindness and no kindness without truth.

I like truth. I like honesty. I also like kindness.

Kindness:

Kindness matters more to me than just about anything, because for me it incorporates truth, integrity, honesty, trust, and love. Kindness is sensitivity, it is compassion. When I was pregnant with you I prayed for only two things: That you would be healthy and that you would be kind. I am so very grateful and proud to say that you are the kindest person I have ever known.

Your heart weeps for the sadness in others and celebrates even the most minimal observations worth acknowledging. You never miss an opportunity to be kind. You compliment everyone from a sincere place of reflecting the beauty that you see in them. I am in awe of your kind heart. You my darling daughter, have always had a kind word for every person who has crossed your path.

Being a kind person is looking for opportunities to lift the spirits of others through honest expression with loving words. Kindness is nurturing the light within so much so, that it can’t help but shine out unto the rest of the world.

Kindness is being thoughtful, considerate, generous, and a gracious host who shows hospitality. Kindness is benevolence and altruism, it’s the act of being charitable and magnanimous. When we are kind to others, we are being kind to ourselves. kindness is the best soul food on the planet.

Kindness can also be a form of manner and politeness, but it should never be confused as being submissive or subservient. Any person who mistakes kindness for weakness is nothing less than a fool. Remember this, my daughter, “A wise {wo}man can learn more from a fool than a fool from a wise {wo}man.” Your kindness makes you strong. Let those who think otherwise…think otherwise. It’s not your concern when someone has a belief about you be it true or false; that’s not your cross to bear, it’s theirs. Your own beliefs are your only burden and other people’s beliefs about you are their burden.

Kindness is warmth, a gentle hug, a comforting hand upon a sulking shoulder. To be kind is to care about another person’s heart. To be kind is to be helpful, to open a door for someone who can’t easily do so on their own, to make eye contact with someone with a disability and smile, to be friendly to a person providing service. Kindness is reflecting all the beauty and goodness you see in others. It’s being a cheerleader and a support system.

Kindness cost nothing and yet is priceless. It’s what makes the world a place I want to be a part of. An act of kindness can change the course of another person’s life forever. I truly believe that all we leave behind in this world once we are dead and gone are the acts of kindness we have given to others.

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” -Henry James

Kindness matters. When someone has an opportunity to act with kindness and chooses not to, it tells you everything you need to know about who they are and at what distance you should hold them.

The greatest challenge with kindness is that sometimes you have to choose between being kind to someone else or being kind to yourself. This struggle always breaks my heart. I can’t instruct you on when to put others before yourself and when to put yourself above others, as it will vary. I can only say, my dearest daughter, SPEAK. YOUR. TRUTH! Speak it with kindness, fact check your truth and trust yourself. The only sword a kind woman carries is her truth, don’t be afraid to use it.

Trust:

“Whether it’s a friendship or [a] relationship, all bonds are built on trust. Without it, you have nothing.”

Trust is an odd concept. It is not an absolute. It waxes and wanes even amongst the most trust worthy. You can trust various people to various degrees for various time periods. I have found however, that the only true trust comes from someone who loves you unconditionally and with that unconditional love comes a loyalty.

The problem is that very few people are capable of unconditional love, especially if they have an ego that wounds easily. People who have control issues and low self-worth, are often working very diligently to create an image of themselves for others that will reflect worthiness back to them. If they think you see them as anything less than perfect, it crushes them. It’s as if you are saying they are evil.

“Relationships never dies a natural death… They are murdered by Ego, Attitude and ignorance.”

I see all people as flawed and fabulous but some people can’t bear to have their flaws seen, even if they are impossible to hide, even if you show them yours. If you place your trust with someone like this, they will betray you the first moment they think that you think less of them then they expect you to. There’s this old book called, “What You Think of Me is None of My Business.” It should be required reading for a healthy psyche, especially for people with low self-worth.

“I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” -Maya Angelou

Sometimes you don’t know how much of a hot mess someone is until their hot mess has burned you. Not every lion befriends the mouse that removes the thorn. Some lions nurse their pain and feed the anger and resentment that their pain causes them by lashing out at their nearest and dearest.

The simplest advice I can give you about discerning who you can and can’t trust is this: trust your intuition and know that people will disappoint you. When they do, cut your losses and move on. If they betray your trust once, they will do it again and again in a million tiny paper cut ways that can lead to infections that take years to heal. No one is perfect but betrayl is beyond imperfection, it will wound you and leave a scar. Avoid it if you can.

“The most damaging aspect of abuse is the trauma to our hearts and souls from being betrayed by the people that we love and trust.” -quoteideas.com

One test of trust is revealing your kryptonite weakness to another, and watching how they react. Either they protect and guard you against it or they quickly use it to hurt you. That’s when you know that you are dealing with someone who is very broken.

You might have a person passionately exclaim, “You’re so honest and direct that it makes me feel so connected to you. I love you so much!” And then a few weeks later, that same person might say, “You’re so honest and direct that it makes me feel that you are intense and it freaks me out. I need space.”

These people damage trust not for what they say, which may or may not be true, and not because they are untrustworthy, per say, but because their own internal turmoil prevents them from being grounded and consistent. You can’t trust where you stand with them at any given moment. They are reactive, unsettled and can go to extremes in how they take in the world around them. Be kind to these people, for they need compassion, and because your kindness to others serves your highest self. Be kind to yourself by realizing these are not safe people with whom to place your trust; for you also deserve compassion.

“When I give you my time, I’m giving you a portion of my life that I will never get back. Please don’t make me regret it.”

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” – Pema Chödrön

Unfortunately, not all people who have known their own darkness have the courage or ability to be present with it, so they certainly won’t be able to be present with yours. This is why it’s so important to find equals when building trust in friendship. If someone is not your equal, they cannot show up for you in the way you show up for them. It’s no one’s fault, although they may lash out at you as a way of surviving their own inner self-recrimination. There is nothing you can do but return to your center of peace. Say a prayer for them and then move on to the business of caring for yourself.

There are whole and loving people who will make you feel so good when they come into your life, that you will feel like opening your heart up to trusting the entire world. Then there are those who are cracked with sharp edges who will come into your life and cause so much heartache that you will never feel like trusting anyone again.

If this were a Hallmark card, the next line would be, “Trust anyway.” But it’s not. This is your mother speaking. I’m coming to you from the perspective of wanting to protect you from having your trust betrayed. When it comes to trust, or most anything in life, when in doubt, don’t.

Find a trustworthy therapist, a loyal friend and a family member who loves you unconditionally and trust only these people, implicitly. With everyone else: trust to varying degrees and take caution. Trusting the wrong person is not worth the temporary false bond. Trusting someone who never had the capacity to be trustworthy in the first place is a hard and painful experience that I wish I could spare you.

“Love all,

Trust a few.

Do wrong to none.”

I originally wrote this piece for a now defunct online magazine back when you were just a baby. I was still in an oxytocin haze filled with love for you and the entire world every time I nursed and released those feel good hormones. I feel as if I have lived through a few world wars since then. I’m covered in battle scars hidden only by those who are blind. The way I see the world now is a little different. It’s still bright and beautiful but with the day comes the night and I no longer focus on one over the other.

I still believe that life is an incredible journey, that most people are basically good and that kindness may be the most important virtue of all, to others as well as yourself. But I’ve learned more about the ego than ever before and those three little letters e.g.o. can kill love, truth, kindness and trust faster than anything else in its path.

I was just a teenager when I started studying Buddhism and ego. I had an idealistic belief that the deeply ingrained survival mechanisms of ego that caused separation and made people hurtful, could be softened by love and time, essentially: maturity. I was mistaken. Unless people are actively engaged, on a regular and diligent basis, on ego awareness, the ego only grows more and more obstinate. I have watched certain elderly people revert back to children and I have seen others grow with grace, wisdom, depth, and enlightenment. I believe that much of the work of the soul, is work with the ego which begins with love. Yet, there is no love without truth and truth is a kind of mirror that most people do not want to gaze into.

For all of my life I was told by family, teachers and peers that I was special and an exception, especially in regard to intuition and how open and honest I am. I didn’t particularly like this. It felt like it went against my belief that we are one. I didn’t want to see myself as separate from anyone else and to me, ”special” meant “separate.” I didn’t want to believe that I was special because that felt like being told, “Because of this, you will always be alone.” I replaced the words in my mind. When someone called me special, I transposed it to: “different.” When someone said that my intuition was a gift, I transposed it to: “an ability.”

This served me in some ways, for I never saw myself as above anyone and I never saw myself below anyone. It hurt me in other ways because I expected people to be more than they could, I expected them to have the capacity to love as deeply as I do. I love most everyone as if they were a child or sibling: wholly, unconditionally and affectionately. I like to call my friends: beautiful, gorgeous, or my luv, because that is how I see them. It’s a good detector of who is capable of self-love and who isn’t. The more love you give someone who only has a shallow, narcissistic self-love and has yet to learn how to love themselves unconditionally, the less they will be able to tolerate your sincere love. It overwhelms them. Deep inside on some unconscious level, there might be this thought, “If they love me, something must be wrong with them.” Eventually they will attack you because you are threatening their illusion of reality and denial of the truth.

My darling daughter, never place all your bets on the “potential” for anything. Do not become friends with someone for the potential you see in them to love themselves, do not fall in love with a man for his potential. Do not take a job for its potential (take the job for what it is in the moment), Do not buy a home for it’s potential unless you are willing to do all the work to discover both the beauty that it might become and the unknown pitfalls that you might discover. Engaging with anyone or anything based on potential, is engaging with a dream that may or may not come true. Instead, meet people, places and opportunities, right where they are.

We are empaths and intuitives and people open up to us and trust us almost immediately. We show up open and accessible and that makes others feel safe to do the same, as much as they are capable of doing. This gives us the false impression that because they can trust us that we too can trust them. People can be trust worthy but only insofar as they have come to know themselves.

“You cannot make everyone think and feel as deeply as you do. This is your tragedy, Because you understand them, But they do not understand you.” –Daniel  Saint

There is a saying, “You can only meet people as deeply as they have met themselves.” This may be your best measuring stick as to whom to trust and to what degree. Trust others as deeply as they have come, not to trust themselves, but to face the truth in themselves. This is where the real struggle begins because few people are brave enough to see their truth and either accept it or transform it.

We live in a world that supports manufacturing lies from the most banal of wearing makeup, and heels to taking selfies in the best possible lighting and angles. People plaster Facebook with all their fun and exciting brag worthy experiences while keeping their struggles and challenges behind closed doors. They paint a false reality to depict their life. They convince themselves that they are the attractive selfie, not the imperfect reflection in the mirror. That they are the one smiling in a vacation photo, not the one isolating from pain. Their lives are no more real than sets and scenery in a play. Real is wholeness. It’s not hiding your fears but sharing them and illuminating them. It’s not denying the challenges, it’s learning to make poetry from the painful truths of reality in addition to celebrating the joys. An authentic person is a whole person.

Never water down who you are to meet someone else’s tastes and comfort level. Be you, wholly, completely, fully. Be as deep and passionate as you want or need to be. Look who I met being fully me: your father and look what that led to: beautiful, amazing YOU! Being my fullest, most whole and complete, true-to-me, authentic self is what led to me performing at Madison Square Garden, it’s what brought me my most fulfilling relationships and my truest friends.

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”- unknown

“I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. It has taken me so many years to be okay with being different, and with being this alive, this intense.”

-Eve Ensler, I am an Emotional Creature

You are being homeschooled. You may be criticized for being different. Mean girls might call you weird, crazy or intense. Wear those labels like the badges of honor that they are. Weird means interesting. Crazy is unique. Intense is passionate. As our friend Chips says, “Intensity is what makes things extraordinary.”

Never deny or defend that which you are just because someone else acts like who you are is something you need to apologize for. People who do that have issues with fear, safety, and control. They can’t see all of you because they can’t see all of themselves. Let them be who they are: shadows of themselves and you be who you are: a beacon of complete light and love.

When you make yourself less than in order to make someone else comfortable, you. will. always. lose. No one, no thing, is ever worth being less than you are.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel uncomfortable around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”-Marianne Williamson

Be true to you. Be kind to you. Trust in you. When you start with yourself, you are including everyone else.

Always remember how very proud I am of you and how much I love you!

Mommy

 

(Quotes are given credit whenever credit can be found. Sometimes they are from internet memes, fortune cookies, or random discoveries.)