Truth or…..do you Dare???

 

The older I get the more I revere kindness. It is the quality I look for in all personal interactions. It is the litmus test for accepting offers of work and the deciding factor in considering a new friendship. Extended to animals, plants, strangers, family, friends, lovers, the environment, a single act of kindness can change the course of  life forever. Many years ago I decided to stop lying. It wasn’t like I was some kind of pathological criminal mind,  I was just the garden variety “tell them I’m not home” kind of white liar.  It started out as an experiment – could I go an entire day and only tell the truth?  As it turned out, telling the truth all the damn  time was much harder than I  imagined. The hardest part was developing the discipline to discover  when I was  actually lying  and the myriad ways little lies replaced simple truths all day long.

It is so easy to choose a lie over the truth. Simple questions which permeated my day FullSizeRenderwere often responded to with a lie. “How are you?” “Are you ok?” “What’s wrong?” “How was your weekend?” “How was your meal?” We lie under the guise of being polite and well mannered. There are countless opportunities everyday where, in simple and profound ways, we unnecessarily lie to ourselves and others in the name of kindness. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Once I realized this I embarked on a quiet journey of self vigilance and truth speaking, just to see if I could. In the process I  learned several important things. Simple truth when spoken aloud is often monumentally shocking. People don’t expect to hear the truth and, frankly, don’t want to hear it. Truth cuts through bullshit like nothing can and almost always opens a space for connection.  A simple truth offered up can open the door to others speaking their truth – suddenly standing on a grocery line or sitting next to someone in an airport a brief but profound sharing can occur.  I have also found that many people do everything in their power so as to Not Connect. Nothing disconnects like a lie. As an aunt of mine once said in response to telling the truth,  “Oh for goodness sake what’s wrong with you? Don’t you know you never tell the people you love the truth”?!! She was  serious.

There is  another version of my truth that I have however worked very hard to temper and hopefully eliminate altogether. It is the use of my truth as a weapon. There were times in the early days  when I cavalierly  sliced and diced, wielding that sword with impunity. The outcome was anything but Lovely.

Like any road that leads to freedom there is a toll to pay. Freedom ain’t free. I have lost friends, and I have definitely lost a cussload of family in breaking the unspoken agreement and named the Elephant In The Room.  When you dare to voice that Cousin H is not “sensitive”, he is gay,  or that JT isn’t sweating cause she’s hot..she’s on crack!!! or that Uncle Bertie is a son-of-a-bastard who molested his kids and you all knew about it and NO that fucker may not have my dead mother’s TV!!!!!!!…. well.. you tend lose a relative or two. Truth may not always unify, but I believe it is always the kindest course of action.

My personal intention to speak truthfully is just that – highly personal. It is a standard to which I hold myself and with a very clear understanding that “truth”, “my truth”,  “the truth” is so relative, it doesn’t actually exist. This code by which I live is more accurately a life commitment to loosely observe the fluid boundaries of perception from my perspective with a heavy under girding of compassion, forgiveness, humor and kindness. It is a commitment to cultivate my own transparency for the purpose of realizing an intimate connection.  I also know that we actually cannot lie to each other. A Truth so far beyond our words is always completely known, and always being communicated. Words are probably the least effective ways in which we communicate and often serve as a flimsy screen behind which we try, unsuccessfully to hide. Knowing this, I simply decided to not confuse the issue. Why not have my inside voice be my outside voice through the filter of kindness.  It’s just easier. And here is one area where menopause really does help. Most of the time it’s out my mouth before I can catch it anyway….might as well enjoy the show.

I review my actions and question my intention all the time. I try to never get complacent about that because truth speaking can be such a powerful instrument of healing and, like a good scalpel, it can also be one of destruction. I am vigilant with setting my intention to speak  in kindness and-  just to put another  check on my ego-  I have  added a simple prayer which I try to remember …especially when I’m itching to say something clever or pithy or God forbid, helpful. I quietly whisper, ” Oh, God…let me speak only when spoken through.” That usually shuts me right up….and in that silence….a greater truth comes through.

I invite you to Practice Lovely Acts of Kindness as you speak your Truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments
  1. I waited to reply so I could attempt to properly word my response because I didn’t want to gush. Screw it; I’ll gush.

    This post was a gut punch for me. The beauty in its truth literally hurt. Your ability to be brutally honest is both life-giving and piercing at the same time. I too desire to tell only the truth. I am neither pathological nor sinister in my lying, but my goodness am I tired of feeling like I have to do it! I guess all of this is part of coming into my “this is who I am, love me or leave me” self I mentioned before.

    I think the ability to be completely honest comes with a feeling of total freedom I have yet to attain; a freedom from caring what someone else might think; a freedom from concern about possible repercussions if I tell THAT particular truth; a freedom from carrying the weight of secrets. You beautifully exemplify the kind of free I am striving to be.

  2. Thank you so very much for this post. Such a beautiful way with words you have and such great self-awareness and personal insight.

    This post was close to home in that I am definitely honest but in the way you describe, I too wield my truth like a weapon and use it to settle scores, guilt and shame and other unattractive, unkind behaviour.

    My mother’s family is very Catholic, and martyr-ish and never EVER name the elephant in the room. It was so stifling that as an adult, perhaps in rebellion and resentment I make a point of letting nothing go unsaid, no matter the consequences for others. As an out (and only) gay person in the family, I still resent everyone preventing me from telling my beloved grandmother I was gay as “it’ll just upset her, it’s easier this way.” She’s now passed and I’ll never have the opportunity to tell the person I loved more than my own mother who I really was. I apologise for sharing too openly but I am going somewhere with this.

    My point is, sometimes it can be REALLY hard to decipher “kind truth.” What if the hurt is based in unfair bigotry or people who are “set in their ways?” How do we actually define hurt and pain? It’s very subjective.

    Keeping ego in check is really helpful, thank you. Thank you very much Lorraine and all the best to you xx

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