29 Mar Some Thoughts on Truth Telling
You know what I love? Hard truth tellers.
Although all truth telling is good, I’m talking about a particular kind of truth. It’s the kind of truth that is incredibly hard to tell; the challenging, unsavory, embarrassing, shameful kind of truth. The kind that can feel impossible to tell even privately, let alone publicly. It’s one thing to admit to letting your kids eat cake for dinner (I do love it when we can be honest about these things) but I’m talking about really putting it out there that you’re battling debilitating depression or chronic illness or you’re struggling with self-employment or unemployment or that you’re so financially strapped that you have to borrow money from your kid to pay for their guitar lessons. Oof. THAT kind of hard truth telling.
Telling truths like these is risky. Doing so can put the truth teller under unbearable scrutiny not only from the public (if you ever read the comments, you get the idea) but even more so, from themselves. Or does the latter only happen to me?
They say that the truth will set you free but my experience hasn’t always played out that way. Although I have done much reflecting and revisiting truths from the past (everything from post-partum depression to self-worth issues to paralyzing clutter problems) it’s admitting the hardest stuff, in real time, that feels impossible. I hold back from sharing the specifics of my most intense struggles because my own inner-critic can be really mean. The meanest. Telling the truth about something I’m ashamed of going through somehow gives that inner-critic a reckless and unwieldly power to pull the curtain back and expose all my faults and failings. One hard truth can create a domino effect that in its wake, has the potential of demolishing everything that came before it. All of it, leveled to rubble, just like that. The truth is, I have a replaying narrative that is so loud, so relentless, so damaging that it keeps me from being honest about the hard stuff.
Unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with that kind of stuff these days. The kind I don’t want share for fear of what kind of self- inflicted cruelty might follow. Ironically enough, full-disclosure, truth telling was not my motivation to write. I really just wanted to say that I appreciate, with deep bows of gratitude, and applaud, with a standing ovation, the hard truth tellers that ARE brave enough to tell the truth, in real time, despite the possible repercussions. They remind me of the power of truth telling and if their truth isn’t setting them free, it might be nice for them to know it’s helping to set me (and likely many others) free by blazing a trail of authenticity & bravery, in real time. I can only hope to follow their lead.