jusummerhayes

Honest signals

Photo by Wengang Zhai on Unsplash
Photo by Wengang Zhai on Unsplash

Good morning.

How was your week?

How are you?

Me?

I desperately feel the need to stay grounded to the wide-open but quiet space that I've occupied for the last eight weeks. 

Like many, though, both in work and around my family, I feel the urgent tug to get back to something resembling our pre-CV19 days. I'm not able (I don't think) to fully resist everything that's in play but I'm ready to dig in, particularly around my daily practice of writing, walking and meditation. 

Yes, I like the sound of that — to dig in. I don't mean in a war-like sense but a more stoic reflection on protecting my soul from the tsunami of business-as-usual, finger-jabbing exhortation and the inevitable post mortem apropos the failings of this government.

What of today's title?

Professionally (qua lawyer), it's something I'm reasonably good at; namely, through years of legal training and trying to quickly read people, I think I'm tuned in (as I think we all are...) to listen out for, well, if not outright lies at least the smokescreen that masks what's really going on. 

These days, given I'm no longer working in private practice, I don't have the same opportunity to practice my 'honest signals' craft but I still feel I'm reasonably adept at knowing if I'm being told the true story or only the one that (understandably) people want me to hear. 

Outside of work?

Well, one thing I've always said to my children is that I abhor being lied to. Honesty is always the best policy. Likewise, if they ask me something, I'll give them a straightforward, honest answer. I think that's stood us in good stead, even though, at times, it's been a bumpy ride.

More generally, I've taken my fair share of slings and arrows for being (as others have said) too honest or saying what I think. For a long time, I questioned my 'attitude' and approach. In the end, I found myself resorting to that hackneyed phrase: I'm just not very good at playing the political game. But why should we, save of course when we're going to do great damage with our words (and we don't always know that at the moment we say them), temper what we say to fit the situation? 

Look, I'm not naive. I realise we've to wear a faux mask from time to time but to what extent to do we elide our own values and beliefs the moment we no longer speak our truth? 

Also, in my writing, I try to be as open and honest as possible. I recognise, sometimes, it's hard to follow what I'm saying but if you read something online it reflects the real me — warts and all.

I'd like to think everyone is the same. But they're not. Why should they be? But then again, I'm always left wondering why we can't actually be true to who we are when there's so much at stake? I realise that if you live in a totalitarian or despotic country you're going to be super careful about what you say but save for those obvious examples, I think too often my experience is that I've been left to read between the lines.

Of course, as I've already hinted, being too honest can have dire consequences, and holding back isn't just a nice thing to do it's absolutely essential but, again, I do wonder what's lost in conversation and communication when we can't be honest with each other?

Anyhow, if I look at my crystal ball  — i.e. in a post CV19 world — I'm of the view that we need to be as truthful as possible about the whole damn thing. How has it affected us at the deepest, most profound level? I know, rightly, there will be a great deal of attention placed upon the excessive and egregious number of deaths, the lack of PPE and the human tragedy, but my guess is we've all been affected in one way or another, and I really hope that we can bring our honesty to bear in whatever situation we find ourselves in, if only because this may be the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make some or all of the course corrections necessary to change our lives for the better. If all we do is move on and leave our feelings and experiences behind then how will anyone know what this period has done to us emotionally, psychologically and of course physically?

Sorry, in reading this post again, I can see it's a little off the rubric. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that even in a post-truth, fake news world, it's still worth considering the need to speak our truth, to be truthful to our selves (at the deepest level) and not to wear too many masks. 

But then again, what I do really know about any of this stuff? All I can do (as hackneyed as it sounds) is what I do, and that includes my belief that being truthful and true to my values is as important now as it's ever been.

Take care,

Blessings, Ju

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