What Matters is What’s True Because of Us
“Everything’s that true despite us – the things they’re talking about, natural laws – will always remain true despite us. What matters is what’s true because of us. That’s what’s up for grabs. That’s where the battle is. One remembers and values one’s life not for its objective truths, but for the emotional truths…The only thing that’s really true, that lasts, and makes life worthwhile is the truth that’s fixed in the heart. That’s what we live and die for. It comes in epiphanies, and it comes in love, and don’t ever let frightened people turn you away from it.”
– from Mark Helprin, “In Sunlight and In Shadow”
Empowerment vs. Victimhood
In my counseling practice, I often meet with couples and individuals who feel like victims in their own lives. Some get caught up in addictions; others in pursuits that leave them feeling empty. Others have just gotten bogged down by the daily grind, and some are caught in cycles of blame and hurt in their relationships. My heart aches for these people as they describe feelings of discouragement and helplessness. Don’t get me wrong – I’m fully away that bad things happen to good people. Nonetheless, life seems far more daunting when you focus solely on how everything and everyone affects you.
In contrast, when you focus (as the above quote suggests) on what is true because of you, you are in an empowered position. You are in a position to live life more true to what your heart values, whether or not you face opposition or are met with the approval of others. When you tune in to what really matters, living for the truths fixed in your heart, daily life can grow in satisfaction and possibility. You begin to look at the real possibilities in front of you, and to see your power in making choices that are congruent with what matters most to you.
Discovering Your Courage
As clients have come into this awareness of what they want to be true because of them, they find amazing courage:
- Courage to stay engaged and listen to their partner, when they used to withdraw and shut down.
- Courage to let go of empty pursuits that get in the way of loving relationships.
- Courage to end addictions or infidelity, so they can begin living lives of integrity and faithfulness.
- Courage to extend compassion to themselves and others, when their tendency had been to blame others or shame themselves.
- Courage to see the blessings in life along side the challenges.
- Courage to open their hearts to those whom they love, rather than keeping what matters most unexpressed.
What is true because of you? Reflect for a moment on what you bring to your relationships, your work life, your community. You probably already find satisfaction for some things that are better because you’re a part of them. Perhaps there are other things that you want to change. Perhaps you’d like your family to feel more valued, or your workplace to be more friendly. Maybe you’d like to bring more laughter, peace, friendship, or honesty into the lives of those around you. Start today, and you’ll make a difference.