Can You Handle the Truth? (Part 2)

June 03, 2008

5. Life really is like a box of chocolates. Life is full of surprises; that's what makes it so interesting. It keeps boredom at bay. The downside is that sometimes the surprises we get pierce the heart rather than put a smile on the face. Like the box of chocolates Forest Gump's mom pushed, you never know what you're gonna get. Hopefully everything you get will be bright and rosy but if you're like most of us, that's not the reality. When faced with a truth that hurts, remember that life is stranger than fiction, and there's intrinsic value in every type of chocolate you might end up with. You just have to look for it and be open to accepting it. Change, trying new things, and opening the mind to new possibilities often calls for a stretch of character, insight, intelligence, or emotional range.

6. Truth is a good mirror. The unexpected truth facing us can be an excellent mirror. It's the type that has three sides and shows us the front, sides, and back all at once. It can show us facets of ourselves that we'd previously ignored or failed to recognize, like how our pants have gotten baggy in the rear or a bit too tight. We may have felt it happening but until we get a good look, it's hard to realize the extent of the situation. This is the time to explore that new vantage point. Take a long hard look at who you are and who you've become. Are you where you thought you'd be? Are you who you wanted to be? Had you forgotten your original plan? Did you drift off track somehow? This is the whirlwind swirling inside your head. Rather than fight it, dig into it. Shift, move, and twirl with the wind.

7. Adjusting to the truth takes time. Pain is inevitable and it's going to come in some form or another. Some people prefer physical pain to emotional. Some people turn to alcohol or other such unhealthy Band-Aids to dull pain. It feels like nothing good is happening when all you can feel is confusion and emptiness. Our natural instinct is to get over it and out of it however we can, but if you rush it, you risk losing the benefits. Everyone knows that the trials and tests of life make us stronger. Unfortunately, hearing that a thousand times doesn't make it any easier to operate under the premise. The best thing you can do when you're tempted to find ways to dull, ignore, or erase pain, that is utterly and completely expected given the circumstance, is to remind yourself (as many times as you have to) that it will make you stronger, it will build muscle but only if you do it right. Let it happen; give it time. You won't regret it.

8. The truth will set you free but something else may trap you. As you advance into the new realm of possibilities that surface once the whirlwind dies down, don't forget the whirlwind. Don't forget how it felt and what you learned. At this point, regardless of the strength and insight gained, it's easier than you might think to settle into another pattern, another mode, albeit different than the one you just left. It can become a new trap. Life is a journey and on a journey one must constantly make decisions. Be the captain of your own destiny. Life is filled with responsibility but it's also an adventure stuffed with boxes full of new chocolates to try.

9. Truth can be the seed of forgiveness; don't let it be the seed of bitterness. Bitterness is another backlash trap that often snares us when faced with the truth. I won't lie. The truth sometimes hurts so intensely that our bitterness festers and grows far-reaching tendrils at incredible rates. Like a cancer, bitterness can spread to other facets of our lives in surprising ways. It can crush us and close off our ability to love and trust and give. It can kill our childlike sense of adventure as quickly as it can impact our choice of words and our decisions. Sometimes it takes a full blown war to fight it off but it's worth it. You're fighting for your life. Forgiveness can be the hardest thing to give when you feel as if everything you had is gone or everything you wanted is out of reach. Regardless of the situation, find the strength to fend off bitterness and find forgiveness. People can change. Situations can change. Sometimes the choice you make when faced with the truth calls for a whopping dose of forgiveness. Be brave, stretch yourself, and make a choice for something positive, whether it involves keeping aspects of the past or washing them all away.

10. The world is full of opportunity, and so is truth. As an adult, how many times do we get to change our perspective, life, career, or anything else of significance? How many times do we get to feel 18 again? Sometimes when faced with reality, we're forced to change our lives in numerous ways. If we're not forced, we certainly realize there are important choices to make. If you're determined to move forward, look for those opportunities--that book opening in front of you--and jump in. You're only as old as you think you are, and it's never too late to do the things you want to do and be the person you want to be. There are a million scenarios in life and no one can tell you what to do. Your life is unique. You are unique. You are the only one who can apply these concepts to your situation. It will take some time to sort it all out and make the choices that need to be made, but don't lose heart. And if you fail, if you make a wrong choice, it's not the end of the world because the world is endless. The truth is that there is always truth to be found, and when you find it, you find yourself, every time. In the words of Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never, never quit."

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