“The only sin in any of that is in the pretending”
Tuesday afternoon, I watched the secular coalition panel discussion at the Democratic convention. I wish I’d written down the details of the story, who told told it, who it was about, but it didn’t occur to me. The anecdote struck a very personl chord with me. Other than the quote above, the details have escaped.
The speaker told of an atheist friend of his who told his devoutly religious father of his non-belief. He listed all the things so important to the friend’s family that the 20 year old friend could no longer honestly do because he thought it was all, well, BS. He expected anger, hurt or worse from his father, who simply stood, gave the man a hug and told him the only sin in any of his rejections is in the pretending. It would be a far worse offense to pretend to believe, to go through empty motions.
The same idea is true of emotions in general. Queen cards represent a caretaking and nurturing kind of leadership (contrasted with the protective leadership of a King) while Wands cards have to do with the inner world, and the element of fire…our inner passions, emotions, spirituality, beliefs.
The only sin is in the pretending.
This speaks to “toxic positivity” as some are calling it. You could also call it emotional dissonance, or even outright denial. Like most things, it is a two way street.
You can’t manage stress unless you admit it exixts in the first place. You can’t fix the problem until you honestly acknowledge that it is there and begin to understand the real nature of things. Pessimism isn’t always helpful. But neither is seeing the wold through rose colored glasses. Both add to problems. You have to stare reality in the face to deal with what actually is happening.
AND you have to stare your own heart and emotions in the face to accept and acknowledge what they are too. Emotions aren’t good, bad, positive, negative or indifferent, unless we assign that quality to them. It reminds me of that quote from the movie Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. “Fear is just a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you.”
Wise words, even if it comes from pulp fiction. It’s ok to feel what you feel. The feelings won’t hurt you. It’s the stupid shit we do in the name of those feelings that cause problems or make existing problems worse.
So yes, by all means, it’s ok to be ok.
It’s just as ok to not be ok.
But it’s not ok to pretend.