The Pain And Beauty Of An Unfiltered Life (The Story Of Heather Palmer)
By Chris Palmer, M.A.
How many times do you hold back from saying what you really feel?
Do you always say what’s on your mind?
For me, it seems like I am always filtering what I really want to say. I just know there can be consequences when we share things.
And I tend to be fearful of what people might think — or how they might treat me — if I always shared what I really felt.
But I wish that I was stronger.
I wish I was fearless enough to just come out and say what I felt more clearly and more quickly.
Like my wife, Heather.
She will tell you exactly what she thinks and feels. She’s overwhelmingly honest about everything.
And it’s fascinating because it takes people by surprise. People tend to love her or hate her.
I mean that: literally love or hate.
And I get it because so many of us tend to tip-toe around expressing how we really feel. So seeing someone go unfiltered can be shocking.
It could feel threatening to how we live our lives. Or it could be exciting and inspiring.
Maybe it’s fear.
Maybe it’s change.
Maybe it’s something else entirely.
I just know we all hold back at least some of the time.
So I watch her unfiltered life attract these amazingly close friendships with people who understand her honesty and intensity. And I watch others pull away or talk behind her back.
It’s just such a lesson to me at so many levels.
The truth is, a little bit of filtering does make getting along a lot easier.
And filtering unkind thoughts is always a more compassionate choice.
But sometimes my fear makes me filter so much that I feel like I can almost never be entirely me.
And that’s so sad.
I know it’s my choice. And I know I could change.
And sometimes I do.
There are categories of things I will express with zero filter. My videos and articles are a good example.
But there are so many times I want to say something, but the fear inside is always weighing out the consequences and the bridges that might get burned.
So I watch her strength.
And I watch the pain she feels when someone shuns her — or talks behind her back — because she speaks up.
It’s hard to see. But it’s also motivating.
Seeing her get back up every time she’s knocked down helps me become stronger.
And less fearful.
It makes me think that I can stretch even more. That I can be even more confident in my right to my voice.
In the end, as long as we are compassionate and sensitive to others, speaking our opinions and ideas could actually help all of us grow.
Because none of us has all the answers.
And opinions and ideas — no matter how unfiltered — could help all of us grow, if we could just get past the judgment.
I know it’s easier said than done. And maybe it’s even easier not to say it at all.
I’m just glad there are voices in the world that are strong enough to get past the fear.
And maybe mine. Someday.