If you are like most people, you are probably thinking a lot about the holidays starting… all the people you will see, and the conversations you will have (some of them, let’s be honest, dreaded like the plague).
You may be tempted to paint a nicer picture of your life than what you are currently living for those dreaded conversations. (Yes, I have a boyfriend and he is fantastic!)
Maybe you have done this every year, so you feel like your real life can never live up to your painted life.
Well, I am here to tell you – the truth really will set you free.
When I think about the “painted life” and the holidays, the first image that comes to my mind is that Norman Rockwell painting.
You know the one.
It has several generations of family gathered around the table, with the grandmother bringing in a gigantic turkey on a platter.
Everyone is smiling, laughing, and picture perfect.
But it is just that. A picture (really a painting, but you get what I mean).
Actually, being a painting makes it even worse than a picture.
If we were looking at a picture that had been taken in the 1940s, at least we would know that everyone had the ability to pose and “look happy” together for the 2 seconds it took to snap a photo.
But in a painting, everything is made up and created by the artist.
Sure, it may be based in reality. Or, it could simply be an idealistic interpretation of a life that can never be lived up to.
This utopian perspective of the holidays is not reality (just come by my house and I will prove it to you!) and painting a pretty picture doesn’t fix or change the truth.
Let me show you what I mean…
This painting, entitled Freedom From Want, was created in November of 1942.
Think about what was happening at that time.
It was smack in the middle of World War II. We were coming up on the one-year anniversary of Pearl Harbor. America was starting to feel a taste of the suffering that was rampant across the rest of the world. Depression and poverty were spreading across the nation.
And this painting – of a family smiling and laughing with more food than they could possibly consume, on a beautifully laid table with white tablecloths – became the face of the American holidays.
Could anyone live up to that standard? Doubtful.
Did this painting change the truth? No.
Did it make the viewers feel relief from their reality? Probably not. (It may have made it worse.)
So, who was it helping?
No life is perfect. No family is perfect. That is the truth.
And the truth is a powerful thing.
Have you ever “stepped into” your truth?
This is when you hit that point where you say “Screw this! I am who I am and I don’t care what you think.” It is liberating and amazing and honorable. When you truly get to this point, nothing can stop you.
It is a fantastic way to live, and I want that for you. Living your truth is so much better than living a painted life.
The painted life is exhausting, and you deserve better. This holiday season, don’t give in to that desire to paint a pretty picture of your life. Be you, and maybe, your friends and family will be inspired to do the same.
Until then… stay passionate!