When I came home from the hospital after suffering my traumatic brain injury, I remember people saying things like, "So glad you’re back to 100%” or “Wow, you look completely normal!” And I totally understood why they were saying these things to me. It looked like I’d made a complete recovery. I also appreciated that they were just trying to encourage me. But none of what they were saying was even close to the truth.
I wouldn’t correct them, though! I’d just tell them thanks and let them go on believing I was doing great! This seemed like a much easier way to handle the situation because I wouldn’t have to deal with the awkwardness that would occur when I told them their assumptions were incorrect.
However, I didn’t want to continue giving these people the false impression that I’d made it back to who I was before. I wasn’t doing nearly as well I looked and the act I was putting on for everyone was getting very tiresome. I couldn’t keep hiding how much I’d changed. I couldn’t keep hiding my weaknesses. I knew that I needed to start telling people the truth about my “new normal!”
When I finally decided to start my new and more honest approach, I was scared. I didn’t know how other people would respond or react when I told them how I was really doing. Since I still looked “normal,” would they even believe me when I told them I wasn’t? Would I ultimately regret my decision to be more open, honest, and vulnerable? Would my decision eventually come back to haunt me in some way?
I can now confidently say the choice I made to tell people my “real” story was the right one. It’s one I should’ve made long before I actually did. It’s allowed me to live with much greater freedom and purpose. I also feel like it’s helped helped me connect with many others and I hope it’s giving these people permission to start telling their “real” stories as well.
“We might impress people with our strengths, but we connect with people through our weaknesses.”
- Craig Groeschel, Founder and Senior Pastor of Life.Church