‘T’ Stands for Tell the Truth

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‘T’ Stands for Tell the Truth

Image evokes contemplation. true
This is the second in a series, first published in 2021, in which I explore how to move forward when our journey is difficult. The previous post was an introduction. This is the first to go more in depth into each of the six TRUDGE practices for long-term resilience. 

TRUDGE – being resilient as you move through a challenging time in your life.  Either you chose a new path, or life changed underfoot – or both. The goal is to keep moving forward while maintaining your ability to be resilient. 

“Oh no!” Stuff just hit the fan, and you are coping with events or situations that you could seriously have done without. Your time, energy and resources are spread thin. It can be hard to figure out what to do. One of the first steps is to tell yourself the truth about what is really happening. Clarity helps reduce confusion, set priorities, and make effective plans. You are so busy! Yes, and taking time to reflect means you can focus on the important things and maintain your own ability to be resilient.  

Topics for truth telling include the situation itself, your own well-being and your resources. Use the following topics as prompts for journaling, contemplation, or having a conversation with a good listener:

How Bad is it Really?

Just a little bump in the road.” to “This is the worst thing ever.” Probably neither are true. This is more than a little bump; it might alter your life plans for the short or long termAnd it likely is not the “worst thing ever”, although it may be the hardest thing you have had to deal with so far. You also have experience, friends, and knowledge that you can tap to deal with this. What are the bad, stressful, awful things about this AND what are your resources, opportunities, and abilities?     

How Do You Feel?

OKis a rare stateYou may seem okay, but are you really numb or simply being stoic? It is possible to be calm, motivated, and/or grateful. More likely you are coping with scared, angry, frustrated, sad, or confused. Note: feelings show up when they do. It is normal to feel moments of joy in the middle of a terrible time and dread just when everything is (finally) going your way. Allow yourself to feel how you feelJournal, talk to a trusted person, take walks or long showers – whatever creates room for you to feel how you feelIf you feel hopeless or defeated, reach out for helpWhat are your feelings?

``...workable plans require accurate information.``

What Are Your Energy Levels?

Do you feel like someone slipped kryptonite into your pocketAs aggravating as it is, just as life is at its most demanding you may need to rest more or eat better. You may not feel you have time for sitting in nature, listening to music, or reading a light novel. However, these might be the very things you need in order to keep going. Be real about what you need, or you might find yourself sick on top of whatever is already going on in your life. What do you need to keep up your energy?

What Are the Facts?

Check in with reality. Denial is an important defense mechanism that can shield you for a while, but it is not a place you want to live. Talk to people with experience to find out the reality ahead of you. “I plan to have the divorce over in 6 months, my attorney says it takes longer but we are going to wrap this up quickly.” Chances are your attorney is right“I know my finances are a mess, but I haven’t really looked at the numbers.” The hard truth doesn’t get better through neglect. You may need to give yourself some time before you are ready to lay out the facts, but workable plans require accurate informationWhat do you need to know as you seek to move forward?

What Kind of Person Are You?

What sort of person are you to be in this mess? The truth – a normal one. Bad things happen to good people. Smart people make dumb choices. I have made decisions that seemed like a good idea at the time only to turn out poorly. I have also been so emotional and exhausted that my choices were not the best, but were the best I had in that moment. You are not a terrible human being. You are a human experiencing a challenging time. How can you learn from your mistakes without beating yourself up over them? 

Where Are You Getting Support?

Spend time with healthy people who can see that you are neither a helpless victim nor a villain. If you are in a terrible mess don’t let others compound it by blaming and shaming you. Yes, you may have made mistakes. That was then, this is now. Meanwhile, you are working to move forward. Engage with people who can help you see the truth without being brutal and who will support you to move forwardWho can you trust to be truthful and kind?

Tools for managing this truth telling often need to be external, as there is only so much you can remember or process all at once. Options include a journal, ledger, spreadsheet, or wall of post it notes.  Particularly hard truths may need time to surface. Write down what you know, and any questions you have. Then take a break. Once the question has been stated, answers surface while you are busy doing something else. Another resource is processing your thoughts with a trusted person. Perhaps a friend, a professional therapist or an advisor. This post includes many questions which can be used as journal or conversation prompts in your journey.   

The T, the truth telling, helps you plan for the trudge ahead. Stop from time to time to reassess what you know about this part of your journey. Consider your needs and resources. Being grounded in reality you can move forward with the other aspects of TRUDGE.  


Laura A. Gaines

Explore learnmodelteach.com to learn about our course, Shrinking Anxiety to Grow Resilience.