If one could estimate how much time a person wastes in their lifetime, not being honest; whether it’s in the workplace, at home, or in a social setting; I would imagine the percentage of time wasted, would rival the percentage of time our eyes are open. What purpose does it serve to hide the truth or lie by omission? Why must we complicate our lives with pretenses and illusions? Wouldn’t it be so much easier, if everyone just said what they meant and meant what they said? I believe it would, but the question really is, are we ready to be a society that can, not only speak the truth but can also handle it?
I recall a well-known scene from the 1992 movie, “A Few Good Men,” when Jack Nicholson’s character shouts, “You can’t handle the truth!” The truth can be uncomfortable. We have become so intolerant of discomfort, that we’ll do whatever we can at times, to avoid it, shove it down, or numb it out. The truth is difficult at times to speak and equally difficult to hear. Because sometimes, what we may be hearing, is someone else’s truth. That’s where the waters become a bit murky. If we are teaching people to speak their truth, and we are all as individual as the snowflakes that fall from the sky, whose truth is the real one? Believe me, I’ve been on board with the whole “speak your truth,” thing, but I’ve discovered we need to be more specific in what this means.
We all have perspectives; experiences that colored the lenses we filter and interpret the world with. These are our personal truths; the facts that have molded us into who we are as individuals. It seems in teaching people to speak their truth, we have created a pissing match. My truth is better than your truth. My truth is more important than your truth.
I believe a more helpful purpose would be served if we went back to our Kindergarten curriculum, and simply taught people to “Speak THE truth.” The plain and simple truth. The kind of truth that guides us in the direction of being kind, compassionate and helpful human beings. The kind of truth that brings people together and supports them on their journey to reach their highest potential. The truth, that despite how much money we make, what kind of car we drive, and the square footage of our house; reminds us that we are part of the same journey. A journey that is limited on this earth. Regardless of our skin color or our spiritual beliefs, when our flesh is cut, we bleed and when our heart is broken, we fear.
Somewhere along the line, we learned can protect ourselves by not telling the truth. Telling the truth means accountability and sometimes disappointment. Telling the truth can produce discomfort and change. We are definitely NOT having that. In fact, we often go to such lengths to avoid discomfort, some of us choosing to deny or alter our own truth, just so we can avoid another’s disapproval or judgment. It seems we’ve become a society that’s more skilled at hiding the truth or spinning it to meet our own agendas, rather than facing the truth. When did this happen to us? Have we always been prone to lie and deceive? We are human; so yes, we have. But technology has added to the deterioration of the truth. We can hide our facial impressions and intonations when communicating, which makes lying a bit easier. And now we have FAKE NEWS! More lies…
As our world continues to change a rapid pace, our ability to keep up is failing. Social Media is changing the way we interact relationally, and communication is deteriorating. The truth is needed now more than ever. But are we ready for the truth? Are we ready to be accountable and courageous? Are we ready to stand up for THE truth or will we keep trying to change it, when it gets too heavy? I have hope we get can there and I’d like to believe I am not the only one.
Originally published at imanlkhan.com