As a person, I am more gracious than I am not.
Some people are comfortable being mean.
Even get energized by it.
I’m not that person.
I have a different set of strengths and weaknesses.
(If you’d like to read a book that highlights those — like my highest weight, my most unflattering family moments and the years of marital woes, click here)
I seek to encourage someone when I see something that lights a fire in me — even when that person hasn’t been that way with me. I say, “Wow, you look fabulous!” or “That kid of yours is unbelievably talented” or “Congratulations on your new career!”
Even if that person has been a weenie to me.
To deny praise for something that is well-done or beautiful just feels ‘wrong’ to my heart.
Yes, their behavior may taint the way I experience the relationship but I can’t deny when something is great.
I am gracious.
(In general. I mean, really, I’m human and have had my times of being a complete ass, trust me. But for the most part, when I err, I err on the side of being gracious.)
As a writer, sometimes I feel conflicted.
The grace part of me wants to cover the asshole parts of someone else and not tattle on them.
But, as a communicator, I find that if you only share the grace that you came to, and not the process in getting there, people just think you’re unreal.
Then, they can’t relate
and they say things like, “I could never be like that.”
And they walk away defeated.
I don’t ever want that.
So, I share the process.
The shitty feelings I had about people being shitty.
Or the hurt feelings I had when people were being mean.
Or the guilty feelings I had when I responded like a twit.
And then, I share the turn-around moment when my thinking took to a different elevation — when I took on the role of ‘curious observer’ and I looked at the relationship issues between someone else and me where I was able to choose to see the good in something that was hard.
That is when the readers are able to see themselves in the story and come along for the ride to a higher place.
Because they know that you’re human.
And that you can relate.
And that you tapped into the Divine in you
Which makes them feel they can tap into the Divine in them
while still acknowledging the very human feelings in the process.
It’s okay to be where you are.
And it’s okay not to stay there.
It’s okay to travel higher.
It doesn’t mean that you’re better than anyone else
It means that you were willing to access a higher place within
and share it so that others could too.
Not so they’d think more of you
but so they’d think more of what they have in them.
That’s the goal.
In the meantime, there are those wrestlings I have sometimes, because I am gracious, in disclosing some of the messy parts of the process. Especially when it involves other people who were being asses.
That’s when, as a writer, Anne Lamott’s words comfort me:
“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
Even when I write about someone else’s ugly stuff or my own ugly stuff, the truth is that I never leave it there. I don’t write for the sake of being mean. I don’t use their name. I don’t write to get back at someone. I write to get to the lesson. The bigger point. The higher view.
I trust that about me.
That I’m even going to be gracious
When I tell the ungracious stuff.
And I need to write anyway.
So, if you’re a writer, story-teller, legacy-leave-r — or just a human being on planet earth — I hope this comforts you in some small, and yet, great way.
Share your life.
In the process.
Some people aren’t going to be happy with you.
Trust me, I get it.
And I also get that some of those people have made a career out of being unhappy.
Don’t let that become personal to you —
Or stop you from doing what you’re here to do
Or being who you’re here to be.
People need you to share where you are
and how you got there.
That is sometimes the very thing they need to read
to know they’re not alone in their humanity
or in their divinity.
And, if what you share can help them access a peace with both parts of themselves,
and help diminish the inner conflict they experience,
then you will be helping them access a greater peace in the world.
And that, my writer-friend,
is a noble