“I wondered how many people there were in the world who suffered, and continued to suffer, because they could not break out from their own web of shyness and reserve and in their own blindness and folly built up a great distorted wall in front of them that hid the truth. This is what I had done. I had built up false pictures in my mind and sat before them. I had never had the courage to demand the truth.” – from Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I Read this tonight and it struck a chord. I have worked hard since I was a child to break a web of shyness. I had to stop being a doormat but ironically I also had a problem at the opposite end of the spectrum with being overly opinionated and a know-it-all. When you find the right balance between the two extremes then confidence and meekness exist together. People I have known that possess both these qualities are so uplifting to be around.
I have become better with the balance (I hope), and deciding who I am and who I want to become has helped. I have worked to be comfortable and confident in my skin and to find joy in improvement rather than requiring perfection. If I am patient and honest with myself I can’t hide behind excuses or walls of distorted and false reality.
I also work hard to try not to judge unjustly. Walls are also built by assuming the worst of others motives and intentions. Giving the benefit of the doubt, assuming instead that we are all trying to do the best we can with what we have and know helps filter the actions of others through a much more positive light. And in most cases a much more realistic one.
It does take courage to demand the truth, to be honest with ourselves and others, to not hide behind reasons why it’s all their fault and how we are a victim. The excuse that we have no control is a wall that we think will protect us but it’s really just fear and if we let it it will control us until life is bleak.
The truth is that we have control over our actions and reactions, our thoughts and emotions. Ownig up to that power is true freedom. We can learn from the choices and experiences of others as well. Then life is more joyful and fulfilling; our relationships are stronger and easier. We make our reality through our choices rather than waiting out each day in the haze of misunderstanding and inaction.
Mrs. de Winter says the quote above after a receiving huge shock to all of her ideas and established way of life. Hopefully none of us will have to have that kind of experience to wake up from our misconceptions but if you have read the book then you know that part of the book’s intrigue is coming to conclusions about the morality of hers and Maxim’s choices and how much circumstance should matter. The quote not only is meaningful because of my own life experience but because of how succinctly it captures one of the book’s major themes.
I’m not done with the book yet but soon. Official review still to come.