I have teased everyone in my life that truth is the new black. People fall into the trap of being pleasers seeking reassurance of those around them. They worry constantly about what others think about them. How they will be perceived, if they are real or authentic. This emotion can become so obsessive that people deny their true feelings to receive acceptance. Think about your job or a conflict your experiencing in a relationship. You worry about pleasing someone whether it is your boss, customers, coworkers, and even your partner. This relentless search for validation can eventually steal your identity. You become a person defined by what people expect from you instead the person you are as an individual.
I was chatting up a best friend this week discussing the concept of truth. How important truthfulness is in your communications either at home or at work. While discussing truth, it became clear that in order for people to live truthfully in their feelings and communications it requires some level of trust of oneself and the other person.
Think about a time when someone asked you:
“Hey, how does this outfit look on me?”
“Did you think what I said to him warranted getting my head bit off?”
“Hey do you think I am looking more fit since I have worked out?”
We all know these kinds of questions in relationships right? I know when I get asked these tough questions they are a double whammy. A damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation that eventually is a “relationship fail.”
As my friend and I discussed the concept of truth the facts became clearer. In order for us to truly communicate our feelings about a situation, the other person we are communicating with needs must be able to receive the truth. We discussed the times in our life when truthful communication in a relationship totally blew up in our face. I am sure you know the situations well when you regretted being truthful. You often thought… “What the hell was I thinking when laid out the truth, no-holds-barred?” Should I have thought through how the other person was going to feel about the truth? Was the other person able or ready to hear it in a productive and helpful way? You may recall thinking to yourself, “Should I be 100% truthful, or should I sugar coat the truth to protect the person from pain?” Does the communicator end up stepping in a pile of shit so deep so when looking back at the situation they feel regret?
As our discussion matured, I argued that, “You can’t see the future if you keep walking backwards regretting what you did in the past. My friend responded, “Yes but you also can’t get a clear view of the future if you don’t accept the truth of the past.” Truth or no truth is the question today.
I have fallen in the trap of truth or no truth in my communications many times in the past as I am sure you have experienced. The challenge in this trajectory is determining which situations require that you simply keep your mouth shut. Or determining which situations challenge growth in the other person by speaking truthfully with them.
In either event we discussed how truth will sting in the beginning requiring nurturing, care and love. Adopting the do-no-harm philosophy is best approach in helping the person grow to acknowledge weakness while making room for improvements.
Truth is the new black.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mountaintops and Valleys.”