I live in Panama, a Spanish-speaking country. Oftentimes when I ask folks here how they’re doing, they tell me they are well and add “Gracias a Dios,” meaning Thanks to God.
There are “Dios Es Amor” decals across people’s windshields and all kinds of religious paraphernalia scattered hither and yon. I don’t find it preachy or distasteful at all. Nobody’s trying to foist their beliefs on me. It’s just a matter of fact that these people have a palpable relationship with a God of their understanding.
When I told my Panamanian buddy I was going to Costa Rica for a week, he said something along the lines of “Vaya con Dios.” Then he asked me how he would say that in English. I gave him the literal translation “Go with God,” then added a possible “May God be with you.”
But then I had to break some really strange news to him — we don’t really say shit like that in the US. I explained that my home country is a melting pot of millions of different people from various faiths, including a staggering number of atheists and agnostics, and many people find it offensive or socially inappropriate to talk about God. In most situations, it’s understood that discussing religion and politics is not ok.
In obvious bewilderment, Alexander pondered this for a moment. Then he eagerly asked why every one of our presidents always says “God Bless America.” Oof. More bad news, homie. I told him that’s just a thing people say, and I don’t think it actually has much to do with spiritual convictions or a relationship with God.
In utter dismay, he said, “Solo en la boca???” I was like, daaaaaaammmnn son. That’s a helluva way to put it… but yeah — only in the mouth.
Talk Is Cheap
Although it’s pretty hilarious to think about telling someone the only place they have faith is in their mouth, this really got me thinking. How much other shit do we keep solo en la boca?
Is love just something you say? Is gratitude only words? How about friendship, confidence, self-esteem, or any one of your beliefs? Can you locate those things in your life, or do they only exist in your mouth?
A lot of people are starting to talk about attachment theory, abandonment wounds, cPTSD, codependency, narcissistic abuse, gaslighting, trauma healing, polyvagal theory, toxic shame, self-care, and all kinds of super important topics. Yes! This is fantastic. And… I truly hope all this stuff isn’t just talk.
If your healing and recovery work is only in your mouth, I recommend putting some of it in your feet. Make sure you can point to specific things in your life and say, That’s what healing looks like!
Because healing and talking about healing are two different things entirely.
Interested in learning to apply healing principles in your life? I’m leading a workshop entitled “Healing Your Insecure Attachment” on Saturday, June 11th. Details and registration here.