When being true to ourselves, hurts others

I first came across Oriah’s poem around 2001, after went through a particular challenging break-up.  Circumstances meant I had to take my then baby and leave our home.  It was a case of tough-love but the guilt that came with that decision was hard  and heart-breaking.  I found tremendous peace in these words. 

At different times in my life, different verses or lines speak to me and help me through a challenge.  They remind me that first and foremost we need to be true to ourselves and that can mean someone else will feel pain.  Likewise, we should expect others in our lives to be true to themselves, even if it is painful for us.

Perhaps you too will find solace in a situation you are going through with these words.

The Invitation – by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

invitationIt doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

by Oriah from her book THE INVITATION. (c) 1999. Published by
HarperONE. All rights reserved. Presented with permission of the
author. www.oriah.org

Paulo Coelho wrote this on his Facebook page

 “Don’t say “yes” if you want to say “no”. Don’t say “maybe” if you want to say “never”. You can’t hurt people with your decisions. We always want to please, but at the end we are hurting ourselves; it took me a lot of time to learn how to say “no”, but I finally managed”

I’ll leave you with this thought… It is a basic human right to be able to assert ourselves,to do what is right for us.  When we say Yes to others, we essentially are saying No to ourselves. 

About Camilla

I once was a caterpillar but when I grew up I found I had the most beautiful wings.
This entry was posted in Words of Wisdom and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to When being true to ourselves, hurts others

  1. Pingback: Rock In Schroth Freikarten « Zeitgeist

  2. Tandy says:

    thanks for sharing your find with me xox

  3. Rochelle says:

    Is the little girl in your header pic kidlet?

  4. Camilla says:

    Yip when she was 4. It’s one of my favourite photo’s

  5. Camilla says:

    🙂 and you have the whole book!

  6. Konscious says:

    Thank you so much. This is exactly what I needed. I am going through a very tough time knowing that I will be hurting and disappointing the man I love because the circumstances in the relationship are too much for me to handle. I know it is not the path for me, yet I’ve continued to stay because I think I may change and I don’t want to disappoint him. However, in doing this, I have felt do internally torn, conflicted, depressed and stressed because I ignored the person I should have listened to in the first place: me.

    Thank you for reminding me about truth and self-love. Sending you love and gratitude!

  7. Camilla says:

    I’m glad you found these words. I often find that ‘words’ come to us when we are ready for them or need them. So often we say Yes to others at the expense of saying No to ourselves. All the best saying Yes to yourself and reconnecting with your true self. Love and light

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