We had been through a lot together. The kind of thing where you are the only two in the world who know what is going on and that connection is what binds you to each other in the strongest of ways. The trust is just there. The loyalty is not questioned. That is why what happened ripped me up inside. I knew it was not done to me “on purpose.” I also knew “it wasn’t personal.” Yet it WAS a purposeful choice my friend made. They knew it included me and knew I would want to know. In fact, needed to know, given our relationship. Despite all that, nothing was said. I was dodged, ducked, bullshitted and given reasons I had to accept despite sensing there was something not being said. Had I been told, I would have supported it and the trust would have remained. It would have hurt. I would not have been jumping up and down over it. It would take time, but I at least would have felt I had a friend I could trust. I would have continued having his/her back. I know that for sure because I did anyway for years and years later. But actions have consequences and the consequences changed both of our lives. But I don’t know either of those people anymore. The guy I was is dead. That was a long time ago now. One could argue I never knew “that guy” nor my friend to begin with, and that is the direction I lean when I reflect on it today. They never wanted me to know them. Or, maybe neither of us knew ourselves. I know I didn’t. It does not sting anymore. Well, if I let in my victim mindset it can, but I don’t. Life happens to all of us, but we can also happen to life, and that is what this blog is about. Completely full of shit: I remember making a decision to be true to my feelings and stick by my friend no matter what. That was a choice early on. I thought, “this is one person who will know all of me.” And when the “betrayal” came, no matter how much pain, doubt, emotion and distrust I felt, I tried to remain true to that. As time went by it was not just the rejection, it was the complete lack of respect. Outright lies, bullshit stories and constant avoidance of real communication. There was no need for it. Time had revealed the true story and I was still supportive. And yet, I still got lies, bullshit and avoidance. It was all me: This is where the turnaround happened. I was sitting there thinking how this person, whom I cared for and continued supporting despite the complete lack of regard for me, was not who I thought. I realized they are not sweet, selfless, caring, kind, nor honest like I thought. That may have been the case in the past, but now all I could see was a liar, a bullshitter and an avoider. I felt good in my assessment, for a split second. It was the type of false satisfaction you get whenever you gossip about someone else. Then I realized something. If my friend was a bullshitter, liar and “avoider” then how was I any different? I was the EXACT SAME THING!! I was doing, and had done, the same thing in various forms, to other people in my life. Past girlfriends, current close friends, and even my family members. The people I claimed to love the most did not even know me. They had no idea how I gossiped about them, told little white lies to “protect their feelings,” avoided explaining how I really felt and made up bullshit stories about this or that. I am going to let you in on a secret…this way of operating in the world was so much a part of me I did not even notice it. It was hidden even from me. Unlike most others, I was not this way with this particular friend. They did know me 100%. I was not being this false self, but rather I was always honest, never bullshitted and always confronted our stuff with clear communication. I just didn’t do it with most everyone else (probably the real reason I liked this friendship…because I liked who I chose to be when we were together). Through this episode, where I was the recipient of the bullshit, I realized that I was completely full-of-shit myself. I was a gossiper. I would say things to one person about another that I would never feel comfortable saying to that person’s face. I sugar-coated everything so I could be agreeable. I told little white lies because I wanted to be kind and protect people’s feelings. I was kind, always, but not genuine. Not real. Is false kindness really kindness? Is being generous with expectation really generosity? Is loving only when you are getting your needs met really loving? I gave always since I was a boy. I valued kindness and generosity and authenticity. I thought I had lived to those ideals, but I realized in a flash that the most selfish, unkind and inauthentic thing you can do is bullshit your friends simply because you don’t want to “hurt their feelings.” And think about the narcissistic ego you have to have, to think you know best for a friend, and how shallow a relationship is when you deny them the truth of your honest thoughts. That is not a friendship at all. I was not protecting my friends. It was not kind nor generous, it was cowardice. It was inauthentic. It was completely made up. I was a liar, bullshitter and avoider and I did not even know it until I saw it reflected back to me. This friend was me, and I was them, and we were both completely and utterly full of shit. Relationship mirrors: Now I want to clear the air real quick about something. I loved this person. Still do. Perhaps more than ever. Why? Because of the gift of insight this gave me. It has been one of the top most important and defining lessons of my life. I am a changed man and don’t do bullshit, lies nor avoidance and I no longer choose friends who operate this way either. These types of relationships….well any type of relationship with another human really….is the best and perhaps only path to true self-awareness and self-actualization. The best ones are the ones that cause the most internal disruption, because they lead to the most internal growth. If you are lucky enough to have a person in your life who gives this type of growth, you should embrace it, relish it, despite how hard it can be. The only way to truly know yourself is to witness the way you show up in relationships with others. We can’t see our blind spots, dysfunctions and “psychological cray.” But throw another human in the mix and you will see your shit illuminate like psychedelic paints on a stark white canvas. Unless of course you ruin it, by doing what most of us humans are prone to do, and blame the other person for all that happens. That’s an easy mistake, for we humans, to make and is just another sign of our own lifetime achievement award in bullshit. I have come to see relationships, most especially the romantic ones, as the single most important way to see your stuff. The best way I have come up to describe this is bad breath. If your breath stinks it is almost impossible for you to know. You can’t smell it, you’re too close to yourself. But another person will smell it immediately. And let’s say your best, most trusted, friend who you have exchanged all the deepest parts of yourself with and trust implicitly smells your breath, knows it is horrible, and then says, “your breath smells great,” or “no, you’re fine. You don’t need any gum or a dental plumber to excavate the feces lodged between your two back molars.” (I could erase that last sentence but I won’t because it is hilarious and this blog needs some comic relief at this juncture. Hahaha ? ) That’s not a friend at all is it? That’s a BLA (bullshitter, liar, avoider) and no one has time for that. I certainly don’t. Not anymore. And I refuse to be that in my life ever again. I simply will not ever lie, bullshit or avoid having real conversations with my friends. If you are a friend of mine you will get exactly what I gave the friend that taught me all this….clear, honest, complete communication. You won’t ever be sideswiped or left in the dark. You will know exactly how I feel and if you wonder, you need only ask. Betrayed or Repayed? Here is something to consider. I was not betrayed by my friend. I don’t see it that way at all. Instead, I was repaid. I know that is a hard pill for us humans to swallow; we like playing the victim card. Now, when I feel betrayed by anyone, I turn inward, take full ownership, and almost always find evidence of me doing the exact same thing I feel is being done to me. It’s not betrayal its “repayal,” and I know when the hurt subsides, I will be grateful for it, if I can turn it around to fuel my own growth. Call it something else if you wish. The idea has been around for a long time. Karma has become a term surrounded in woo-woo confusion, but it is really just the expression for the truth I am conveying here. What to do next: The question that comes to mind for many is, “But Jade, you can’t let people treat you that way? How do you keep it from happening again?” If you have been paying attention, you already know the answer. First, I want whatever experience I need for growth. If I did not get it the first time, then I hope it happens to me again so I have another chance to “get it.” (and actually I believe if you don’t get it, life WILL give you another shot whether you want it or not). I say that knowing full well the agony I am asking for, but it is that important to me. Next, I am no longer a BLA (bullshit liar avoider), and because I am not, those people rarely show up in my world anymore. And when they do, I cut them out. They are simply not what I respect, admire nor will tolerate. The truth is I don’t like these people, but I don’t wish them ill will. In fact, I hope they get their shit together, but I do not like them. They won’t make it into my inner circle and I will avoid them like the psychological disease they are. Yes, I see it that way. They are sick, confused and lost. They are also contagious. I refuse to be infected. Here are my rules I learned from one of my greatest teachers. I hope she learned the lessons too because there is one universal law of BLA……you get the game you play. My rules of anti-BLA: Rule 1: I don’t gossip. anything I will ever say about you I would feel comfortable saying directly to your face and prefer to do so. I do not gossip. My definition of gossip? Talking about someone else behind their back in a way you would not feel comfortable saying to their face. You gossip about me and we are not friends. Simple as that. Rule 2: I don’t lie. The truth is I should say “I try my best not to lie.” I have learned this is a lifelong practice and there is so much within this concept it needs to be another blog. Exaggerations, lies by omissions or outright falsehoods I work diligently to remove from my psychological behaviors at all cost. But the truth is subjective and kindness is my religion. So with this rule I have a few important addendums. I don’t police other people’s truths. They are responsible for managing their BLA not me. My truth is not THE truth and sometimes I am not even clear on what the truth is. Life is subjective and full of perceptual distractions and delusions. I speak my truth as I understand it in that moment, realizing if I had more distance and perspective a more accurate “truth” may emerge. Kindness & compassion. Honesty without either is simply cruelty which is the very thing my honesty practice seeks to avoid. I can tell you the truth and it may hurt your feelings (I will not lie to spare your hurt because I know it actually prolongs your hurt instead) but I will always do so with as much empathy and compassion as I can muster. Rule 3: I don’t bullshit. Bullshitters think they are not lying if there is some truth mixed in. BULLSHIT. Saying you don’t have time because you are working your ass off on a deadline, and saying you don’t have time while you have chosen to spend it with someone else is purposely evasive and dishonest. A bullshitter will tell you all kinds of things shaded in half truths. They make you play a game of wondering. A real friend says, “I have time but honestly I am just psychologically tapped out and need to veg tonight.” Or “I want to leave my schedule open.” Or “I know it might not be what you want to hear, but I am hanging with another friend on Saturday.” That last one might sting a little bit right? Especially if this is a romantic relationship we are talking about…. But by being honest, trust is maintained and the other person gets a true and accurate assessment of how you value and prioritize them in your life and that is a gift to them. What’s more kind, to bullshit and keep them in the dark so you lead them on for weeks, months or years…..or the truth, where they can choose from a place of actual knowing? Rule 4: I communicate clearly. I don’t avoid your questions and I don’t make you spell it out for me like I am a 3 year old. I communicate clearly and completely. In fact, I over communicate so you have more than enough information and never need to wonder. I give you that gift because I value you. If you ask, I tell you. If I intuit you need to talk, we talk. If I need your communication, I ask for it. You are worth it to me. I have found the thing we humans want and need more than anything else from another human is what they are thinking. When we are at our wits-end, all we want is our friends to talk to us. Not bullshit. Real talk. Real, vulnerable, honest feelings. My advice to you is if you meet a person who can’t or won’t communicate in this way (and refuses to learn, everyone has to start somewhere) run as far away as possible and as fast as you can. They are incapable of being your friend because they can’t even be a friend to themselves. You may think they are great when you are caught up in the “romance phase” but in the end, their shallowness & lack of integrity will do nothing but diminish your growth as a human. Just because he/she refuses to grow, does not mean you should. I pity you if you do. The inability to communicate openly and honestly with another human (versus bullshit and small talk) illustrates a degree of psychological ineptness indicative of a person “asleep at the wheel” who doesn’t know who they are. A person with the psychological maturity of a toddler. There can be no mutual growth in a relationship like that. Unless false relationships are your thing, it’s best to look elsewhere for a friendship with real meaning. Final thoughts We operate from this place of believing that sugar-coating, placating, protecting, etc is helpful. It’s not, it’s destructive to your spirit, your friend’s and loved one’s. Dishonesty robs you from knowing yourself and assures no friend, lover nor family member will ever know you either. I can tell you with certainty there is another path to walk aside from the path of the BLA. One where you let the real you be fully expressed. Those who know you, actually know you. Those who love you, really do love you and you never betray yourself nor others. I love my story of hurt in this relationship from my past. I was so dishonest with myself that I easily believed their bullshit too. I will never be, nor choose, a bullshitter, liar or avoider again. My motto now? Face fear, embrace love, live life and do it honestly. No bullshit, no lies, but open, clear and complete communication. I wish you the healthiest relationships and your best self always.