Truth and honesty? Oh my.
When I first learned this would be the topic for April, I jumped at the opportunity to write an article. I have so much to say about this, so much to share, to teach. This subject is so vast; it could take lifetimes to explore it. And in many ways, I feel like I have.
Reading Lee’s article last week starting off the month, it reminded me why I love COR so much. I needed to read those words; to be reminded of the essential quality and power of truth and honesty. And it also inspired me to want to share some of my wisdom, or at least my experience.
But at this moment, I have no desire to put on my teacher hat, or my facilitator hat, or my wise man hat. In this moment, I am a man struggling to be truthful and honest, first and foremost with myself. I notice shame and embarrassment coming up. I hear the many voices of the inner critic circling, taunting, and eager to take any opportunity to cut me down and make me small.
So what is the truth? What is my truth? It seems so complicated and also so simple at the same time. If you ask me, “How are you doing?” how do I answer that with honesty? I could answer that question six different ways and they would each be true. So what does it mean to be honest with you in that situation?
Recently, I have answered by saying, “I am everything!” But what I am noticing is that while it is accurate, it is not intimate. It doesn’t let you into my world or shed light on the details of what is so for me in that moment.
One of the key aspects of truthfulness and honesty is that they are a direct path to intimacy. And that even applies to me. When I am not being honest with myself, I am in some way closed off from my own essence and humanity. By not telling myself my truth, I am pushing some part of myself away. And that creates distance, rather than intimacy, with myself.
You could say I don’t know myself very well at that moment because I am pushing myself away. So how truthful and honest can I be with you when I’m doing that? If I want to have real intimacy with you as a friend, lover, colleague, or family member, I must be honest and truthful with you.
It seems this all begins with telling myself my truth as best I can so that I can share that with you.
I wonder if this is true. Does not being honest and truthful with myself cut off or restrict the amount of intimacy I can have in my relationships? It seems the answer is Yes.
I’m not speaking about my blind spots or those areas where I am doing my best to see and understand but have only a certain level of self-awareness. I’m speaking about the mechanisms and behaviors of my Survivor Self – where I avoid facing something about myself because it is painful or otherwise unpleasant. These behaviors of avoiding my truth do get in the way of intimacy.
I have learned when there is something I definitely don’t want to tell you, something I don’t want you to know about me, it restricts and interferes with our intimacy. And I have also learned that when I become aware of that type of avoidance, it is so empowering and enlivening to step right into the heart of what it is I don’t want to say to you, and choose to say it to you anyway – directly, clearly, and without soothing myself with justification. In that moment I am honoring my humanity and being compassionate with myself. I am being honest with myself without making excuses. I am acknowledging your importance to me and of being in relationship with you. I am respecting you and trusting you. And I am inviting you to a deepening of our connection.
So in my desire to be in a deeper relationship with you, here are some things I definitely would rather not say to you.
I really want you to like me. I need to be loved. I want you to admire and respect me. I want you to invite and include me even if it’s something I’m not that interested in. I want to be thought of as fun even though I am often serious and contemplative. I feel shame around my financial situation. I feel embarrassed about the current shape of my body. I sometimes think I am better than you. I am way more tender and sensitive than I let on. Sometimes I can’t be bothered with your personal challenges. I would like to have much more interaction with you then there is time for. I want you to approve of me. I have withheld most of my mystical gifts out of fear. Oh my, there is so much more…
In what areas do you find yourself withholding your truth from the people who are dear to you?
Here’s to your own truth. May it lead you to love yourself and to more intimacy with the important people in your life.