My Truths

My Truths
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As I have aged, I have found that there is a massive difference between truth and fact. Humor me for a second if you’re a bit skeptical. A fact can’t be argued. It’s indisputable. It’s proven. JFK was the 35th president of the United States. Water boils at 212℉. Facts are irrefutable even by the likes of Atticus Finch.

Truth, however, muddies the crystal clear waters of fact. Truth is much more subjective and open for argument because my truth can look far different from yours. My truth of public education being the best choice for families will conflict with many. My truth that anything over 85℉ is too hot completely contradicts my mother’s truth of “the hotter the better.” With that being said, we have to, at the very least, honor that our truths will undoubtedly push against that of others, even those we love.

In my 30 years on this planet, my truths have changed and evolved to a list that guides me regardless of if I am on my knees visiting rock bottom or I am on top of the mountain admiring my recent climb. Here is what I’ve learned, and while each may not be a fact, I most certainly hold each truth so closely to my heart that there is no way to tell where it begins and I end.

A soft heart is the truest measure of strength.

I have been mocked and criticized about my soft heart more times than I could recall, but my truth tells me each time that I search for the good in someone else, that I choose being kind over being right, that I lean into empathy instead of apathy, or that I offer up love instead of judgment that I am demonstrating the truest form of strength. It’s easy to turn our back on others. It’s easy to hurl insults and hatred at what we do not know or understand. It takes strength to sit down and ask questions and try to see the other side.

It is my belief that empathy, understanding, and love of this magnitude will be what halts the decisiveness that is permeating through our world. I realize not all situations call for “kumbaya” moments, but most people just need to be loved. None of this means I am naive or idealistic. I’ve been hurt and slighted, but I will not close off my heart because of it.

Choose courage every single time when given the option.

Being comfortable is easy, but being comfortable will never push you to grow. Never putting yourself out there or going after something your heart truly wants is not a way to live. You can’t spend your whole life at the edge wondering what would happen if you took a leap of faith. Being too afraid that you’ll fail and thus never trying is an automatic failure. It’s guaranteed that you’ll fall if you live a brave life, but that fall doesn’t define who you are. What defines you is how many times you keep reaching for courage.

My truth tells me a failed relationship, attempt at achieving a dream, conversation, or whatever else you want to put in there is far better than a life on the sidelines wondering “What if?” Courage helps us stretch and grow, and it most certainly teaches us lessons each time we take that leap of faith. We can’t underestimate the power of experiences and the grit we gained by getting up and going after it again. Choose courage.

We should take offense every single time someone is treated unjustly.

We often live in a bubble filled with people who look, think, worship, and love like us. It’s easy to look past others, but the reality is that we’re all on the same team--no matter the labels. Care for everyone, and take offense if someone is being treated unjustly. If we don’t stand up for each other, we’re all doomed to fall.

We cannot turn our heads when it’s convenient or uncomfortable. We cannot stay quiet when something needs to be said. My white, straight, Christian, middle class life does not give me a pass to look away. A child in war torn Syria, a black man called a “slave” in 2017 at a coffeehouse, a Muslim told he/she cannot enter this country, a gay couple being told their love is not moral, a transgender student just wanting to use the bathroom he or she feels most comfortable in, a conservative being automatically labeled a racist, or a female being kept out of a boardroom deserves our outrage. We can’t expect others to show up for us when we need help if we do not do the same for them. We all deserve better.

Find your tribe and love them with all your might.

We most certainly were never meant to go through life alone, and the relationships we have with those around us can profoundly heal or hurt us. I have learned time and again that one of the most important things we will ever do is choose our tribe--the group of people we lean on as we work our way through life.

Find the people who are loyal and supportive of all that you are and aspire to be. Find people who will tell you the truth when you may not want to hear it. Find people who will show up for you when you need it and even when you think you don’t. Find your tribe and love them with all that you have. These people will make the hard times easier and the great times ever better.

It’s a short list, but these are the truths that guide my life in good times and in bad. I again realize that these will not align with many, but that’s the beauty of the world. These may not be fact, but my truths shall set me free.

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