Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Being honest with ourselves is hard. We can all be dishonest in a hundred small ways with ourselves and with others. Some of these things matter and others don't.

I was thinking about this other day when a woman in my office was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was talking about the process of telling her friends and family of the diagnosis. One woman said, "I need to call you back in a few minutes. I have to go have a good cry." Another told her: "I don't know what to say. I'm floored. Can I call you back?"

While this may not sound like people giving wonderful support in this time of bad news, I was astonished at how wonderfully honest these people were with my friend. It is easy to try and think of positive reassuring things to say in most cases.

It might have been much easier to think up pleasant platitudes about her diagnosis, but the fact is, even with the improved statistical survival rates, beating breast cancer is a kind of a bitch. There's surgery, the chemo can make you sick and that goes on for 3 months and often longer and potentially there's radiation. Then there can be reconstruction surgery. You're tired. You're scared. You feel sick lots of the time. Your hair may fall out. You feel ugly.

That's off the top of my head. Who can say a lot of upbeat stuff about that? My upbeat comment: Wow you're lucky to have such honest friends.

Inevitably the more honest her friends are, the more authentically they can connect with each other during this process. I also believe that what draw to ourselves shows us something about internal process. This woman must be incredibly honest. This may make things harder sometimes because honesty doesn't often look away from a problem. However, in the long run, by not avoiding a problem, she'll be stronger and more able to deal with it.

I have to look inside myself to see how honest am I in cases like that? How honest am I with myself and others?


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