When I was a child, I was told that if you put a buttercup under your chin and there was a yellow reflection then you liked butter! If only it was so easy to see into someone’s souls and know exactly what they thought.
During lockdown we might even have lied to ourselves in minor things like, I’m only putting on a few pounds whilst grabbing for that larger size in the wardrobe, to larger things by saying we are feeling okay during that Zoom call to relatives whilst really we are hurt and falling apart inside. So much of what we do in society dictates that we operate on 2 levels. Hiding our feelings, stiff upper lip, saying we’ll be grand is the form when we know that we are being dishonest to ourselves.
Looking into our own soul is the first step of honesty of feelings; this is before we can even contemplate being honest with others. It is also the first step of healing and it takes time, time alone and time for reflection to embark on that healing journey.
The way of the world means sometimes that we are encouraged to be over-confident and self-deceptive – ‘talking ourselves up’ in interviews and in meetings. Therefore it is hardly surprising when we fail the automatic reaction is ‘to shift blame’ rather than hold our hands up and say I was wrong. Ambition and not letting the side down means we are encouraged in this modern world to ‘fake it till we make it’ and by this point deceiving ourselves and others is a way of life and engrained in our DNA.
So whether it is at work or going through with something to please family or friends, let’s try to say what we think and feel rather than what we think and feel we should say. This doesn’t always have to mean that we have to be hurtful to others – as David Thoreau says, the only way to speak truth is to speak it lovingly and also say sorry from our hearts and not our heads – not from ‘the teeth out’.
So this week let’s see if we can be true to our soul, fulfil our hopes and dreams, pray our prayers and help a few people along the way. 3 John 2-4, ‘I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in health and that it is well with your soul… No greater joy can I have than this’.
Watch out for the buttercups!