In-Between Thoughts 8.6.18

Today was leg day so my thoughts while lifting were not very coherent. My in-betweens were mostly full of blank thoughts and gasping for breath. But nonetheless I kept reaching for my phone, so blog post it is…

For a while, I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of person/friend I should be. I tend to be very encouraging and complimentary. I think that’s a good thing, but I worry that I avoid being honest in situations where honesty would be better than encouragement or deflection, where honesty is needed. Should I try primarily to encourage people? To make them feel as lovable and valuable as I believe they are? Or should I focus more on honesty, even if it hurts people’s feelings?

I’m reading a wonderful little book exploring the ways The Inklings influenced each other’s writings. The author is trying to nail down specific things Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, Barfield, etc. changed in their works because of feedback they got from the group.

The first thing this book has done is make me long for a writing group of great friends like theirs. Oof. What richness and sharpening is there, that I am missing. If only I didn’t have such weird reading and writing tastes… sigh…

I also fell in love with the description the author gives of Charles Williams. I’ll write more about him later when I have the book in front of me, but the gist is that Williams made all people in his orbit feel “better and smarter in his company than when alone they knew themselves to be.”

I really, really love that. And part of why I love this is I think it’s possible to be sincere in this act. Perhaps Williams really did think everyone was smarter than they thought they actually were. Maybe he loved people so much he found them interesting and valuable and wanted to communicate that whenever he could.

Maybe I don’t need to make so strict a distinction between encouragement and honesty. The Inklings were certainly brutally honest when it was called for and helpful, and I can and should work on being better at that. But I’ll also rest in the fact that I really do love people and want them to feel as valuable as I believe them to be. That is both my honesty and my kindness.

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