The truth about truth

We have all heard the expression: “Words may lie, but actions will always tell the truth…”

This quote always reminds me of my first drivers education class.  I remember my instructor saying to me, “Notice the tail lights of the car and the instructions they are giving you but pay more attention to where the front wheels of the vehicle are actually going.”

I never realized drivers ed could be a great substitute for a philosophy class, but that summer it was.

Implied from my instructors statement was that ‘what someone says they intend to do cannot be assuredly relied upon. So one needs to sit back and observe a little before determining if what they said they were going to do is actually what they do’.

I learned a lot from this lesson- not only to use behind the wheel of my car but also in life. I am always looking to see if the front wheels of one’s car- or the choices one makes  in their life- match what they claim as their truth. I watch to see if an individual’s words can be relied upon because their actions match what they said they were going to do.  And while this has certainly saved me a lot of headaches it also has caused me a lot of heartache.  I have had to consciously learn how to slow down the speed of engagement & collaboration with others and set aside this deep need I have; which hurts me.

Often I have thought I have to believe this is a need we all feel and have. Why does life have to be this way?

In my own life I have managed to see what truthfulness can do. It has brought me peace, more happiness, a magical quality to life and relationships and prosperity too. Why can’t truth bring more of us human beings spontaneously and reliably together too? Why is telling the truth so difficult to do?

In many ways telling the truth is the ‘lazy man’s guide to enlightenment’ really. If you tell the truth there is nothing to have to remember, nothing to conceal, nothing to feel guilt over or to have to disguise in sheep’s clothing.

I think the trouble with truth is that it is complicated. Telling the truth is rarely simple. It’s time consuming. And also can be difficult to admit that we have not been listening to it in our inner worlds. Which makes it all that more difficult to know where to begin.

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” ~ Winston Churchill

I am amazed by how many new customers find me online and in the first 10 minutes of our conversation reveal to me that they are reaching out to me because they “had a good feeling about me and felt I am trustworthy”. While flattering, it deeply disturbs me. Yes, in the short run I  ‘win’ some more business for it, and yet what I really want is to trust and be trusted by many more. I want to experience what it feels like to walk around in the world and to have trust flow much more easily. I want to see what trust can do.

So what is it we need to learn and then do to grow in our truth telling?

F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

We need to begin by understanding that truths, and especially are own, are conflicting at their base. Why? Because we, as humans, are inherently conflicted no matter what our circumstances or success in life.  We are not black or white, or good or bad.  Truth transcends these labels. Which is why we, as paradoxes, must learn to accept our own greyness.  We are complicated and the way we reflect life through our complicated exterior and interior existence isn’t simple. And so neither is our truth.

Telling the truth requires taking the time to be vulnerable and to invest into another person enough to share with them your own paradox’s and to wait for their response.

Sometimes this results in the jarring revelation that our own truth is changing. We realize our growth and our mistakes, our abilities and our failures, our genius and our shortcomings. And we fear we will be rejected, diminished or ignored because of the new truth we have discovered.  Truths keep revealing themselves to us like the layers of an onion. The deeper we go the more they evoke our emotional response and require our engagement. Telling a deep truth is likely to make your voice shake and bring you to tears. We struggle between the outside exterior of who we represent ourselves to be and the turmoil of our inner world. And then we feel overwhelmed, insecure or just not ready to hear the truth. So most of us just stumble over it, sweep it under the rug and move on.

In order for us to grow, we’re going to have to stop believing that it’s easier to see everything as either black or white so that our (inner) world can be less complicated- less disturbing and more simple. We’re going to have to get it through our thick skulls that our truths are grey, complicated, and messy – and that should not stop us from sharing them with others.

Telling the truth is always something you (and I) will have to work at until the day we die.  We must keep chipping away at our block of marble to reveal the sculpture hidden within- to discover the shape and form of where our truest truth- our genius- lives.

To begin to embark on this journey of truth seeking requires that you are committed to your own awakeness and always prepared to fully inspecting all of the ideas that enter your mind. Don’t take the easy route and choose to ignore the struggle by simply wanting to go with the simple black or white answers. Train yourself as Fitzgerald said by holding two opposing thoughts in your head as both having the potential to be right (paradoxes).

Who in the world would not want to understand their truth and share it with others? The facts show that telling the truth will change your life (eventually). Is telling the truth worth it to you?


About Lisa Canning

“Vowels are to words what creativity is to the world~ basic and necessary.”

Lisa Canning is the founder of IAEOU, the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship (IAE) and Entrepreneur the Arts.

What motivates you to explore your creativity? Follow me @EntretheArts

Need a magic creativity wand? Let’s start with the clarinet and see what it inspires you to dream and do.

The truth about truth

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