Tell the truth. I’ve long since lost count of how often I come back to this most basic of advice for both myself and my loved ones. Tell the truth. In all things. Tell the truth.
I’m not digging into truth as in the subject du jour of debating whether there are “alternative facts” (by definition, there aren’t) or whether there is “fake news” (there isn’t, it’s either news or not). But that’s a different blog post altogether. I’m speaking here of truth telling on a personal level, at your one and only true point of power.
Tell the truth. This usually comes up in the context of navigating how to tell someone something I fear they won’t like to hear. Though it also surfaces with benign choices about what restaurant to go to or movie to see, etc. It certainly is hardwired into conversations about lifestyle, faith, sexuality, career goals and the like. Far too often whether due to fear or simply how we are socialized we, at best, tell a watered down derivative version of a shadow of the truth in an effort to maintain some sort of status quo. Life is short. Tomorrow is not promised. And this sort of lying does not serve us. It really doesn’t.
The gap between everything that I don’t like about myself, my relationships, my job, my diet, my clothes, my days, my nights, my health, my country - you name it - that gap simply cannot be sustainably and meaningfully addressed without first, last, and at every possible point in between telling the truth.
The flip side - and the great news - is that I CAN rapidly bridge that gap, clarify that difference, redefine the goal and most efficiently expedite my path to achieving that desired end by simply and bravely telling the truth. That’s the shortest path. There needn’t be a charge or heat to doing that either. Yes, it may be uncomfortable. Whatever I reveal may be a minority opinion in whatever space I’m revealing it. But if it’s what is true for me then anything less than that is fundamentally a disservice, fundamentally a slow motion sabotage, fundamentally a lie.
And by the way, it’s 100% okay to tell the truth when the truth is “I don’t know.” More than okay, actually. Lost is the birthplace of found. Not knowing is the birthplace of knowledge. If I tell the truth.
No kidding. Every time I talk myself through to this I feel my load lighten. Every time I talk a loved one who is receptive to it through to this course of action, they visibly and/or audibly have their load lightened, their path ahead liberated, with simplicity and clarity.
This process in the most basic of ways is the key to my happiness and the life I seek. It is the practice of cultivating a conscious awareness of what the truest voice in my being sounds like and feels like. How do I know what the truth feels like in me? As I develop (aka practice) that awareness, returning to that space in times of choice both small and large becomes easier. Allowing what is truth for me to evolve and change also becomes easier. Knowing the path ahead becomes pure simplicity itself. Tell the truth. Simple not easy? Clearly. It takes practice and it is not always comfortable. But, as I hope I’m starting to make a proper case for in my writing and podcast, discomfort is not the enemy of happiness and peace. Discomfort is often the path. Tell the truth.
In short, allow me to leave you with the very first words of one of my favorite author’s most well known work to date. Elizabeth Gilbert starts “Eat, Pray, Love” with this quotation: “Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.” - Sheryl Louise Moller.
And that, kind soul, is the ballgame.
Be good to you. Tell the truth.