Recently Obama made a statement that perhaps he had “underestimated” the state of the economy. This made me angry for any number of reasons. I don’t think he is a dishonest person nor an ignorant one. I do think our politicians start to believe the myths written about them in the press and go on to believe they have the power to walk on water because of these myths. By this I mean they believe they can actually influence the economy in a positive sense simply by announcing the economy is sound and people should jump back into investing in it. Many people did just that back in early spring of this year as Obama and his advisers were saying the period of crisis was over. Americans have no attention span for pain and so this was welcome news. Many believed this news and started spending again and placing their cash into funds invested in the market. Then the market started to falter and then more announcements were made by the Obama administration letting us know they may have been too “optimistic” in their assessment of what was going on. I wonder about what works in an economy like ours: truth telling or imagery? It seems in this case that it is too late for truth telling and that imagery has failed to inspire us.
I have learned the pain of truth telling too late in life. If one really examines the truth in any given situation and then communicates it, inherent dangers arise. I know my version of the truth is often very different from someone else’s, particularly in interpersonal situations. I have tried to give up blame and anger most of the time and tried to believe that most misunderstandings happen because of a lack of information on someones part. For example: if you and I communicate over an issue and I am not really paying attention to what you are saying I may miss the fact that you are upset with me for some reason. Usually this will come up later in a dialogue that is filled with frustration and anger at the idea of being overlooked or worse, unloved. The basis of most misunderstandings in life is fear, something I have commented on before. In this economy we are all fearful and the older you are , the more you are fearful. There is not much difference between interpersonal communication and communication in the press. I find it very interesting to discuss the economy with people who are under 40 as they have no fear about the strength of our country. I can’t decide if I think this is sheer stupidity or simple optimism due to lack of prior experience with recession.
I actually prefer the truth most of the time as it makes whatever pain that may come with it pass much more quickly. If the truth about any given situation is withheld, or worse, doled out in small drops over time, the pain is constant and the wound is always open leaving no time for healing.I remember once being in a relationship with a man who was divorced when we started dating. I fell very much in love with him, and he, with me. As time went on, however, he started to withdraw and act in a manner unlike him. When I asked about this behavior he said I was imagining it and that everything between us was the same. Our conversations became less frequent as did our meetings. At first I chalked this up to his work and his busy schedule. After a while, however, I knew something was amiss and so I asked him. He again insisted nothing was wrong but I later discovered he had returned to his wife. All of this took place over several months and I can still remember the pain I felt and the anxiety that was constantly present in my life. I still remember the abandonment I felt when I understood that during those months I had been feeling something was amiss, he had been rekindling his relationship with his ex wife. If he had been honest with me from the start, it would have been much easier for me to move on. I think he withheld this information from me as he wanted to avoid any pain for himself or me, and any feelings of indecision. Instead he avoided the truth of our relationship until he felt connected with his ex wife, and still he never had a direct converstion with me about what was going on. It was devastating for me.
Looking back, I still fell pain which is remarkable to me considering the fact that 15 years have passed. The pain is caused by the period of knowing something was wrong, of feeling this on an instinctive basis, and having these feelings denied by a partner who kept on insisting I was imagining things. This, to me, is the worst thing anyone can do to another. I hope I am wrong about this economy and that we will eventually be on a strong path once again.
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