As far as Glennon Doyle Melton is concerned, there’s no doubt about it: being honest sets us free. By being frank, we learn to embrace our feelings, needs and secrets. In her books ‘Carry on Warrior’ and ‘Love Warrior’, she looks back at her life so far. Hard times made her discover the power of compassion and vulnerability.
Your book is a candid account of what happened when you decided to choose the future. With ups and downs, you left a time of addiction (to food, alcohol and drugs) behind you. Why did you decide to be so vulnerable?
I want to be frank, because it feels good to live out loud. If you know who you are and you show who you are, you’ll feel much more comfortable on this earth. It also means not hiding anymore. The feelings I experience, the mistakes I’ve made, my desires: there are probably millions of people who have them too.
Of course I don’t share everything. Living out loud is not the same as ‘telling it like it is’. We all look at life differently, with our own prejudices and crazy things. To live out loud and be kind at the same time, we have to understand that, and know our blind spots. Everyone has their own story, and with living life to the fullest also comes warmth and respect for the unique experiences and the boundaries of others.
What message do you want to convey with your story?
I believe the truth sets us free. We all get embarrassed of our feelings, needs and secrets, and so we hide who we really are. Because of that, we get isolated and scared, and our connection to others disappears. But if we let go of the feeling of shame and decide to be who we are, we relax. Not just us, but also the people around us. It makes us realize how deep down, we’re all the same.
Everyone needs someone who tells them ‘I have that too’. These words change your life. They make you realize that all our feelings, needs and secrets are nothing but human. And if you know that, you’ll have the power to stop hiding and come closer to people. I hope that people feel more connected after reading my books, healthier and more courageous.
Do you think the path that you’ve taken will bring insight to people who took a different road, who haven’t gone through addiction?
Yes, I do. I write about addiction for all the other people in the world who suffered it, so they’ll know someone understands them. I want the world to hear their voice in a time they can’t speak up for themselves. I want to tell them they are beautiful, and that they have to believe they’re able to get out of the situation they’re in. That’s a universal message that speaks to us all.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
That telling the truth, at its best, is a healing art – never a weapon. There is a huge difference between telling the truth without shame, and telling the truth recklessly, and the difference is called love. You can be totally right, and very brave, and still do a lot of damage. That’s why I try to be courageous and kind, and if I have to choose, I choose kindness. Kindness always wins.
Text: Dorien Vrieling - Photo: Kinga Cichewicz