Discovering who is safe

Living_the_truth Keith Ablow gets it right in his book Living the Truth

Love everyone, but trust those connected to truth. While everyone is worthy of your concern and empathy…only those who have recognized the source of their suffering, examined it, and grown from it are trustworthy. This is because putting down one’s shields, looking in the mirror, and facing the early complicated chapters of one’s life story is the only way to feel pain and grow beyond it.

People who continue to deny their suffering, insisting all is well with them and always has been, can draw you into highly charged, unresolved dramas recycled from their past. And those unresolved dramas can contaminate any story you try to write with them.

How do you recognize those who are trustworthy? Look at how much they rely on shield strategies to get through life. Do they drink excessively, ceaselessly pursue fame or riches, use drugs to get through life, gamble, take inordinate risks, change the topic constantly to avoid addressing anything emotional? [I would add to this list: Do they rely on excessive religiosity, and spiritualize every situation?] Do they say everything’s ‘great’ for them now, that they have the ‘ideal marriage’ or ‘perfect children’ or ‘wouldn’t change a thing’? Remember, people carrying lots of shields can’t embrace you. They can’t really love you. They’re too busy running from the truth.

[Quotation taken from Mark Brouwer’s blog at]

Being open and vulnerable with people involves taking risks. Your honesty may be threatening to them, because it exposes their charade. But having a few authentic relationships is worth the risks!

2 thoughts on “Discovering who is safe

  1. Don, I've not read the book so commenting on it may not be fair. However, I sense the prescriptive advice given above is too simplistic and not always true. Too much inordinate risk? By what measure? It seems that most people in the 1st Century would have agreed that Jesus and his disciples fit that category. The others, gambling, drinking, and pursuing wealth are all relative to the person and what God has required of them. So using those things as a litmus test of who can be trusted seems, well, sophmoric. Just my two cents. Peace.


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