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Painful Truths unlock Freedom (& Resilience)

Speaking painful truths not only helps us build resilience to the hard things we are encountering but also helps us maintain accountability with ourselves.


When we say hard things out loud and they are painfully truthful, the words remind us that we are, if we choose to be, in control of the situation.


Let me explain. This past week has been a sobering hard truth. After nearly 15 years (this time) of living in Asia, I repatriated back to the United States (Washington, D.C.). A choice. I made it. The adversity that lies ahead in navigating all aspects of my return includes many challenges— logistical, financial, physical, emotional and otherwise. A colorful pallete of mental health swirl.


But the emotions of leaving a region that I’ve called home (twice) is nonetheless filled with painful truths. Leaning into the hard feelings about leaving so enables me to celebrate what is to come too. The new blank white page of new chapters is yet to be written. This is exciting but is also hard.


To say farewell to a region where I have created identity, reputation, network and community — with so many chosen family members — makes me sad and long for the many cherished memories I created in so many amazing markets and countries.


But on the other side, to go into the next phase of unknown territory not knowing how the next chapter will unfold brings me tremendous amounts of adventure, anticipation, and to be honest, a bit of anxiety. And yet, saying these painful truths and feelings keeps me in control— I know that what is to come will be hard. But I’ve done a repatriation before. I’ve faced blank white pages of unwritten adventures before. I’m not new to managing long distant business relationships with colleagues and loved ones. I’ve managed the perspective of reframing many times. These are all perceived difficult truth. As I wrote in my book “adversity is hard and if we don’t say how hard it is, the bounce beyond becomes more challenging.”


And that’s it. It comes down to saying hard things (to ourselves) and then reframing what is happening. My “farewell perspective” can shift focus to an open armed “welcome the unwelcome perspective." Saying hard things helps us shift our perspective.


I’ll keep asking myself in this week (and the many still to come) of transition:


  • What is the learning and personal growth?

  • What’s the experience from before that I can apply ?

  • What’s the thing I take with me in this hard moment?


This is what helps me stay accountable even in the hard times and through adversity.


So rather than say “it’s going to be hard week”, I’m saying, bring it on. Let’s lean into this discomfort and come out the other side with a bounce beyond (and for me, right into America.) In releasing painful truths, there is freedom, standing tall with every sunrise.


Photo Credit: Getty Images.

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