What is truth?


In today’s society, there is a basic value that is held dear and that is to be able to communicate with one another truthfully. No matter how life evolves, no matter what we are faced with, trusting true honesty in relationships is what grounds us and lays the foundation from which to build upon.

It may sound like a cliché, but in order to be honest with others, people first need to be honest with themselves. This is easier said than done.  It is always easier to view other people as the culprits of untruths rather than to entertain the possibility that they themselves may be operating in a personal world of distorted realties, half truths and unfounded beliefs. Many people continue to lie to themselves daily in order to avoid the initial uncomfortableness of facing truths about their own misconceptions about themselves and the world around them.

People struggle to discern between real truths and the manipulations of truths that are promulgated by various leaders in government, religion, media outlets, corporations, and people in general. As a result, people loose sight of the need to be honest with themselves and others. Consciously or unconsciously, far too many people are  comfortable with rationalizing behavior that does not meet the litmus test of truth/ honesty.  They rationalize their thoughts and behavior into fitting within their own preconceived ideas of how their world should and does work.

Truth for them becomes obscured with the mind not perceiving reality as it is.  Instead, they first filter, distort and interpret truth based on their individual prejudices and self serving needs and wants. They don’t take the time and effort to understand truth in their lives but rather seek to  reinforce their own beliefs. These people are influenced by years of programming by significant others and societal pressures. Hence, when dealing with conflict in a relationship, it sometimes is baffling when a partner insists on a position that may appear to defy logic and understanding.

Truth is achieved through an openness that results in vulnerability and trust when dealing with the another person. However, all too often, couples feel angry and frustrated in the relationship.  This is often because they don’t trust in honestly being validated and loved by their partner. Not thinking they will be heard, they often lash out, instead of being open and honest about how they feel and think. Being open and honest does not mean that people should not be assertive for what they believe in. They should do so honestly and openly, being sensitive to the needs and wants of the other person.  This is to be done by without trying to subvert the truth by getting into a win/loose situation where the truth is lost and nothing gets resolved.

If the resolution is mutually beneficial, the chances are it may be pointing to a truth. Though the chances are good, there is no guarantee that truth as all understand it will be achieved. This is not necessarily bad if both are on the same page and understand that it is at best a shared opinion that works for both of them. The question is to what extent it is open and sensitive to the well being of each equally.

When the person’s intent is self serving, it is easier to rationalize and manipulate the truth in order to make it more palatable. What usually is not thought about is what is the long term cost of not being truthful to one’s partner?  Also, silence does not automatically equate truthfulness. Lying by omission is when someone does not overtly articulate a lie to another person but holds back in silence, leaving the truth unspoken.

People should , whenever possible, be ever alert to self deception. This can be very difficult because self deception can be interwoven with the truth and therefore hard to distinguish fact from fiction. In order to accomplish honesty, it is crucial to be aware of the accompanying feelings, thoughts and behavior. Is there a feeling of discomfort or calmness, guilt or assuredness, uneasiness or confidence?   People, focusing on the here and now, can be more aware and trust their internal nuances. Does one’s  behavior take the other person into account or is it self serving?  Be alert to the mind’s keen ability to rationalize almost anything.

Self-deception can hide the person from the truth. This is especially true if an untruth or distortion of reality is repeated enough. The repetition can come from within one’s own thoughts or from environmental influences, past or present.  In the long run, truth can be measured by whether or not it is constructive and life affirming, whereas lying is destructive and ultimately self defeating . When discovered, dishonesty  breaths mistrust from the other person.

Self-deceptive thought or behavior may result in avoiding conflict in the short run but creates further problems down the road.  It acts as an ultimate stumbling block to  achieving a higher level of functioning for oneself and true intimately with one’s partner.

Being true is a way of being, a way of consciously carrying yourself at all times. Living truthfully does not mean that everything has a fairy tale ending.  Sometimes relationships end, people get hurt and things don’t work out as planned.  However, living truthfully, while still being sensitive to the needs of others, allows for an authenticity that can not otherwise be experienced. Being honest and true to your values, while facing  fear and possible ridicule, is a truly courageous act.

As always, readers are encouraged to comment, make suggestions and ask further questions by e-mailing me at lifesourcecenter @aol.com.