Over the last few years, I have been creating for myself a code; a list of virtues and actions that I strive to live my life by. I do this in order to become a better person and to have order in my life. At the top of my list is to tell the truth. This seems like a straightforward principle, but it is more difficult than you may think; try it for a week and you’ll understand. The thing that I have discovered is that it’s not the action of telling the truth that is the most difficult…it’s the repercussions.
Before I go any further, I know that there will be some post-modern “thinkers” out there who will say “there is no truth. Reality is subjective and different for every person, so your truth cannot be “The Truth.” To those people I say, “Go try and fly off of a cliff and see how far you get.” Some things just are, and to deny some of the truths of reality inevitably leads to your demise by that very reality, a la the gravity deniers who think they can fly.
And this leads to the crux of the issue of why the truth hurts. People want to feel safe, people want to feel loved, people want to feel needed, and people want the world to make sense. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s who we are, it’s how we evolved. The problem occurs when people try to avoid the stress and anxiety of uncertainty. When we don’t know what’s down in that dark basement, we’re scared and anxious. Some people can handle this stress and some cannot.
So now we are afraid to speak the truth and many of us are afraid to hear the truth. There’s no way to avoid it, it sucks to have to say something will possibly hurt someone. I don’t want to feel bad and I don’t want to make you feel bad, we are empathetic creatures. And possibly destroying someone’s foundational beliefs or ideas is a scary thing, and I know because it has happened to me. But what if the thing you believe is a danger to you? What if the thing you believe causes a strain in your relationships? What if the thing you believe prevents you from being all that you have the potential to be? And what if that thing is a completely incorrect idea or belief? Am I willing to possibly inflict some temporary emotional pain on you to correct your wrong assumption? Are you willing to experience a passing discomfort for the betterment of yourself? Are our immediate feelings more important than the sanity of this ever-increasing insane, chaotic, echo-chamber filled world we are living in? I’ve thought about this a lot, and the answer I always come to is no.
Especially today, in an technological age where everyone has a voice, it takes courage to speak the truth. It takes courage to do the right thing. And it takes courage to not be anonymous when you do so. It’s ok to feel the pain, discomfort, and anxiety. This is when you learn who you are. This is when you learn what you are made of. This is when you grow. Truth is light, it allows us to see and understand the world as it is, and the smallest amount of light can overcome darkness; but no darkness can exist where there is light. Truth will illuminate you and the world.
…and the truth shall set you free!