Recently I’ve been scrolling through some of my old blogs and writings, back from the days of MySpace and when Tumblr was actually a blog site and revisiting things I’ve written in the past. Sometimes it amazes me how much of what I’ve written still holds true today. The larger message in so many of my words is still very much the same, as I’ve worked to grow, learn, improve, and evolve. I also took one of those personality tests – partly out of curiosity, partly out of boredom, and partly because it’s wet and rainy out and I am procrastinating barn chores. But regardless, I took it and found I am an ENFJ-A which makes a lot of sense. As a protagonist, I have high ideals, even higher standards for myself, and a core foundation of trust, honesty, authenticity, truth, and justice. It resonates with me and was reassuring, as recently I’ve had my truth questioned by someone who I thought trusted me – but clearly does not.

Any time things get hard, or I am faced with a statement or observation from someone close to me that I didn’t see or realize or feel, I take a step back to evaluate. I go to a place of calm, take out my own emotion so that I can better understand someone else’s point of view. I always want to learn more about myself and how others see me, so that I can continue to grow and learn and improve. Most of the time, their insights are valuable. Actually all of the time, insight from others is valuable. What I’m learning is that there’s also a duality there that needs to be separated. There are people who share their thoughts and opinions and observations of you who are, doing so out of honesty and care. But that’s not always the case, and sometimes people are sharing based on their thoughts and opinions and observations of themselves that they are afraid to admit really is about them, and not you. That’s the duality that needs to be sorted through. Which is it?

I’m learning that if you take the former to heart, it’s a great way to learn and grow. I am also learning that if you take the latter to heart, when those statements come from a place of fear and are actually a projection of the observer’s own insecurities or even their own actions, it can cause incredible hurt and pain. Separating that duality and not lumping both types of observations into the same category – and learning not to take someone else’s projections of their own actions as a true assessment of your own can help you see their inner emotions and fears and realize that it never really was about you, after all.

Sometimes it still hurts. Sometimes it makes me sad for that person, but I’ve also learned not to take on that sadness as my own. And I’ve learned that my greatest fault always will be seeing the greatness in someone and loving their potential, even when they are too afraid to make the changes in their life around them to embrace the strength and beauty of their own soul.

Not every ugly duckling grows up to be a beautiful swan and not every caterpillar emerges from the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly. Sometimes, some people choose to live in a place of fear and insecurity and jealousy and untruths. When those things become a way of life – and they in turn project those emotions and behaviors onto you – that is when you have to step back and remember to breathe.

I am many things. A liar is not one of them. And anyone who knows me at all knows that to be true to the core of my being. Truth and Justice are tattooed in Latin across my back, and for good reason. They are words that define me, who I am, and how I live. I believe, above all else, in living your truth and always always having your actions match your words. Without honesty, the rest of who you are becomes entirely obsolete because what are people to believe anyway? If you can lie to some people, and you can lie to yourself, how I am to believe that you’re not lying to me?

I am not a liar. Sometimes, and for some people, that is especially hard to understand. Those are the people who live in the muddiness of their own lies. I do not want your misery. I only wanted to help you see the joy around you when you live your life with honesty, integrity, and truth. Only then can you be a champion for the justice that you say you believe in, or be the partner, parent, or best friend you claim you wish to be.

Find your truth and learn how to live it. I cannot do that for you. I can only – and always will – live mine.