My daughter, Leah Hanna King is a singer/songwriter. She’s been writing songs since she could speak. When she was about 9 she wrote a lyric that sticks with me to this day…
“When a man’s going under, it’s hard to see clear”.
I always loved that line because it’s so graphically poetic. Simple, to the point and exactly how it is. Everybody on the shore is yelling “grab that stick, watch out for that log”. Standing on the shore, they can see it as clear as day. Meanwhile, there, in the middle of the swirling water, with no perspective, just trying to survive, you’re flailing and grabbing whatever you can. When a man’s going under, it’s hard to see clear
That’s why we need honest friends. Nice is good but you’re not being nice if you’re not being honest.
Deep down, we all want the same thing, to matter. We all want to be the best we can be and most of us have a built in barometer for what that is. We either know when we look bad and having someone say we look fine either makes us feel that they have low standards of us or are handing us BS. That’s not to say we don’t want kindness or to be encouraged but only if it’s honest. If I am going out with a stain on my shirt and no time to change, remind me that it doesn’t matter because we all know it really doesn’t. Tell me as long as I keep the jacket on you can’t see it. Tell me maybe it’s not the best I’ve ever looked but everybody’s gonna be so busy looking at themselves, they won’t remember me. Give me some honest perspective, like the man on the shore. But above all, be honest.
When you don’t, i know it. Although I can’t put my finger on it right then (because I’m stressed, going under and can’t see clear), I don’t supported and I don’t feel better. To make things worse, I don’t know why. I haven’t figured out yet that it’s because I still feel what I feel and you have given me no new perspective. All have done by saying “awwww you look fine” is make me feel like
1) I’m a fool for even having my feelings
2) you just want to say anything that will shut me up or
3) you either have no standards or I am so pathetic you have lowered them for me.
It’s like saying “she looks fine for a …. (fill in blank). That’s never a compliment.